XBRL talks the SEC’s language

Large UK companies with a US listing will have less than seven months to
publish their financial reports using a web-based data standard called XBRL.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has said Fortune 500 companies will
have to incorporate the fledgling data standard in their reports by June this

XBRL ­ Extensible Business Reporting Language ­ is a technology standard that
allows users to ‘tag’ business data in financial reports.

Supporters of XBRL claim the standard makes it easier for investors and
shareholders to compare the performance of companies and can cut financial
reporting costs for companies.

However, critics say XBRL is too complicated. Dennis Keeling, a business
software consultant, said: ‘There is a burden on software vendors to create the
software and on accountants to map the information. There are simpler ways to

Other SEC-regulated companies will have until June 2010 and mutual funds will
have until June 2011 to incorporate XBRL.

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