Hilary Brueck. XBRL: It’s Like A Bar Code For Financial Data, Star Tribune, May 26, 2008, at D2.
XBRL (extensible Business Reporting Language) is an “internet information standard that can search and compile financial data from all corners of a company on one computer screen, making it easier to compare companies.” XBRL is also an international standard for defining financial terms consistently. Nations such as Spain, China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have regulated its usage, but the US has not. XBRL is used by less than 100 companies in the US. As the article explained, “XBRL is like bar coding for business information. It is designed to standardize the information supply chain.” Companies that know of XBRL are resistant because it is a new system to learn and there will be costs for implementing it, but on the whole the program assures better transparency and there will be an overall reduction in IT / information management costs for companies using XBRL. Plus, the SEC proposed on in May of 2008 that 500 of the nation’s largest companies be required to file financial statements using XBRL.