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|Internet media type|
|Developed by||XBRL International|
December 31, 2003 with errata corrections
(February 20, 2013)
|Type of format||Markup language|
|Standard||XBRL 2.1 Specification|
|Internet media type|
|Developed by||XBRL International|
December 31, 2003 with errata corrections
(February 20, 2013)
|Type of format||Markup language|
|Standard||XBRL 2.1 Specification|
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is a freely available and global standard for exchanging business information. XBRL allows the expression of semantic meaning commonly required in business reporting. The language is XML-based and uses the XML syntax and related XML technologies such as XML Schema, XLink, XPath, and Namespaces. One use of XBRL is to define and exchange financial information, such as a financial statement. The XBRL Specification is developed and published by XBRL International, Inc. (XII).
XBRL is a standards-based way to communicate and exchange business information between business systems. These communications are defined by metadata set out in taxonomies, which capture the definition of individual reporting concepts as well as the relationships between concepts and other semantic meaning. Information being communicated or exchanged is provided within an XBRL instance.
Early users of XBRL included regulators such as the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS). Common functions in many countries that make use of XBRL include regulators of stock exchanges and securities, banking regulators, business registrars, revenue reporting and tax-filing agencies, and national statistical agencies.
A wiki repository of XBRL projects is available to be freely explored and updated. In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, the United Kingdom's HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and Companies House in Singapore had begun to require companies to use it, and other regulators were following suit. The SEC's deployment was launched in 2010 in phases, with the largest filers going first: by 2013, the large foreign companies which use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) were expected to submit their financial returns to the SEC using XBRL. In the UK in 2013, both HMRC and Companies House accepted XBRL in the iXBRL format. XBRL was adopted by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) of India for filing financial and costing information with the Central Government.
The current version of XBRL is 2.1, with errata corrections. The normative version of all the XML Schemas is provided in the specification documents, not in separate files. A conformance suite is available to test processors of XBRL documents.
In typical usage, XBRL consists of an XBRL instance, containing primarily the business facts being reported, and a collection of taxonomies (called a Discoverable Taxonomy Set (DTS)), which define metadata about these facts, such as what the facts mean and how they relate to one another. XBRL uses XML Schema, XLink, and XPointer standards.
The XBRL instance begins with the <xbrl> root element. There may be more than one XBRL instance embedded in a larger XML document. The XBRL instance itself holds the following information:
In the design of XBRL, all Item facts must be assigned a context.
This is an example of a fictitious Dutch company's International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) statement instance file :
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <xbrli:xbrl xmlns:ifrs-gp="http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15" xmlns:iso4217="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/iso4217" xmlns:xbrli="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/instance" xmlns:xbrll="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/linkbase" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"> <xbrll:schemaRef xbrll:href="http://www.org.com/xbrl/taxonomy" xlink:type="simple"/> <ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingIncomeTotalFinancialInstitutions contextRef="J2004" decimals="0" unitRef="EUR">38679000000</ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingIncomeTotalFinancialInstitutions> <ifrs-gp:OtherAdministrativeExpenses contextRef="J2004" decimals="0" unitRef="EUR">35996000000</ifrs-gp:OtherAdministrativeExpenses> <ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingExpenses contextRef="J2004" decimals="0" unitRef="EUR">870000000</ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingExpenses> ... <ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingIncomeTotalByNature contextRef="J2004" decimals="0" unitRef="EUR">10430000000</ifrs-gp:OtherOperatingIncomeTotalByNature> <xbrli:context id="BJ2004"> <xbrli:entity> <xbrli:identifier scheme="www.iqinfo.com/xbrl">ACME</xbrli:identifier> </xbrli:entity> <xbrli:period> <xbrli:instant>2004-01-01</xbrli:instant> </xbrli:period> </xbrli:context> <xbrli:context id="EJ2004"> <xbrli:entity> <xbrli:identifier scheme="www.iqinfo.com/xbrl">ACME</xbrli:identifier> </xbrli:entity> <xbrli:period> <xbrli:instant>2004-12-31</xbrli:instant> </xbrli:period> </xbrli:context> <xbrli:context id="J2004"> <xbrli:entity> <xbrli:identifier scheme="www.iqinfo.com/xbrl">ACME</xbrli:identifier> </xbrli:entity> <xbrli:period> <xbrli:startDate>2004-01-01</xbrli:startDate> <xbrli:endDate>2004-12-31</xbrli:endDate> </xbrli:period> </xbrli:context> <xbrli:unit id="EUR"> <xbrli:measure>iso4217:EUR</xbrli:measure> </xbrli:unit> </xbrli:xbrl>
An XBRL Taxonomy is a collection of taxonomy schemas and linkbases. A taxonomy schema is an XML schema document (file). Linkbases are XML documents (file) which follow the XLink specification. The schema must ultimately extend the XBRL instance schema document and typically extend other published XBRL schemas on the xbrl.org website.
This linkbase provides human readable strings for concepts. Using the label linkbase, multiple languages can be supported, as well as multiple strings within each language.
XBRL aims to become a world-wide standard for electronic business reporting. This requires taxonomies to present business data in many different languages. Therefore it is important to be able to create an element that is assigned with labels for different languages. There may also be different labels for different purposes. All labels are stored and linked to the elements in a label linkbase. Elements defined in a schema are built to convey accounting meaning to computers. In order to make it easier for computers to process their names, they have to obey some rules. For example, the use of spaces is not allowed so 'Cash and Cash Equivalents' would be named 'CashAndCashEquivalents' . Additionally, big taxonomies such as IFRS obey specific rules of naming and labelling to ensure consistency within the schema. For example, there could be a list of words that are excluded from the names (e.g. 'and', 'of' …) or words that appear only in a particular order (i.e. 'Net' or 'Total' at the end of the label after a comma). In the label linkbase, elements are connected to human readable labels using "concept-label" arcrole. As mentioned above, elements can be assigned to labels in different languages. An example that describes definitions of labels of the IFRS element AssetsTotal in English, German and Polish is provided below.
<label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/label" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="en">Assets, Total</label> <label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/label" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="de">Vermögenswerte, Gesamt</label> <label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/label" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="pl">Aktywa, Razem</label>
To distinguish between languages, XBRL uses the XML attribute lang. Taxonomy creators may also define different labels for one element. One of the ideas of XBRL is that the information about the period and currency for which the element is reported is not contained within an element definition but is described by a context in instance documents. In financial reporting on the other hand, many terms express the date for which they are being reported, for instance Property, Plant and Equipment at the beginning of year and Property, Plant and Equipment at the end of year. XBRL allows the creation of different labels depending on the context in which an element will be used.
<label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/label" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="en">Property, Plant and Equipment, Net</label> <label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/periodStartLabel" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="en">Property, Plant and Equipment, Net, Beginning Balance</label> <label xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/periodEndLabel" xlink:label="ifrs_AssetsTotal_lbl" xml:lang="en">Property, Plant and Equipment, Net, Ending Balance</label>
The example above shows how three different labels are assigned to one element by applying different role attributes on labels.
This linkbase associates concepts with citations of some body of authoritative literature.
Financial concepts appearing on business reports more often than not stem from regulatory documents issued by authorities. For example, the IFRS Taxonomy describes financial reports prepared based on IFRSs (Bound Volume). Elements defined by this taxonomy refer to the specific terms and concepts explained in the standards. For this reason, a taxonomy is often provided with a reference linkbase that presents relationships between elements and external regulations or standards (the other solution is to enclose documentation in label linkbase). This helps instance creators and users understand the intended meaning of each element and provides support for its inclusion in the taxonomy. The reference layer does not contain the full text of the regulations. Instead, it points to source documents by identifying their name and indicating the relevant paragraphs and clauses. This connection is created using "concept-reference" arcrole. There are several types of references that could be provided for each element.
<reference xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef" xlink:label="CashFlowsFromUsedInOperationsTotal_ref"> <ref:Name>IAS</ref:Name> <ref:Number>7</ref:Number> <ref:Paragraph>14</ref:Paragraph> </reference> <reference xlink:type="resource" xlink:role="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/measurementRef" xlink:label="CashFlowsFromUsedInOperationsTotal_ref"> <ref:Name>IAS</ref:Name> <ref:Number>7</ref:Number> <ref:Paragraph>18</ref:Paragraph> <ref:Subparagraph>a</ref:Subparagraph> </reference>
The example above indicates references for Cash Flow from (Used in) Operations. First, it provides a reference to a document which explains how and where the element should be presented in terms of its placement and labeling. In IAS 7, paragraph 14 we read that the concept Cash Flows from Operating Activities exists and what it is derived from. Second, the measurement reference provides explanations about what determines the value of the element and how it should be calculated. This description can be found in IAS 7 paragraph 18.a. XBRL also allows an element to be assigned other types of references containing examples, commentaries, etc.
This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts so that values appearing in an instance document may be checked for consistency.
The idea of the calculation linkbase is to improve the quality of an XBRL report. It contains definitions of basic validation rules, which apply to all instance documents referring to a particular taxonomy. A hierarchical calculation linkbase sorts all monetary elements in this way so that lower level elements sum up to or are subtracted from one another so that the upper level concept is the result of these operations.
The sign of the relationship depends on the weight attribute that is assigned to the arc connecting two elements. An example is provided below.
<calculationArc xlink:type="arc" xlink:arcrole="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/arcrole/summation-item" xlink:from="GrossProfit" xlink:to="RevenueTotal" order="1" weight="1" use="optional"/> <calculationArc xlink:type="arc" xlink:arcrole="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/arcrole/summation-item" xlink:from="GrossProfit" xlink:to="CostOfSales" order="2" weight="-1" use="optional"/>
The example shows that there are defined two calculation arcs providing details concerning relations between Gross profit, Revenue and Cost of Sales. In Income Statements, Gross profit is the difference between the other two. Therefore, we assign weight attribute value to "1" on the arc connecting Gross profit and Revenue and "-1" between Gross profit and Cost of Sales. The reason why there is a difference between calculation and presentation linkbases, is that the total element that stands for the summation of all others usually appears at the bottom in the financial statements whereas in the calculation linkbase it must be placed as the top concept.
Presentation Calculation Assets (Presentation) Assets, Total Assets, Non-Current Assets, Non-Current +1 Assets, Current Assets, Current +1 Assets, Total
There are two major rules concerning calculation relations in XBRL. Firstly, we cannot carry out operations on elements that have different values of the periodType attribute. This is often called the cross-context rule and relates to defining some elements as "For period" (duration) and others as "As of date" (instant). For example, concepts that appear on the Balance Sheet are instant: which means that their value is presented for a specified day, while elements in the Income Statement or Statement of Cash Flows are duration: because they represent actions that took place over a period of time. The problem emerges for example in the Statement of Changes in Equity or Movements in Property, Plant and Equipment where instant elements mix with duration. The solution to this problem is a formula linkbase that will provide taxonomy creators with many more functions than just simple addition or subtraction. Secondly, the double entry accounting rule requires XBRL taxonomy creators to define the credit/debit nature of monetary elements appearing in the Balance Sheets and Income Statements. This rule does not only disallow the addition of elements with opposite balance attributes—they must be subtracted—it also defines whether the numerical value contained within an element should be positive or negative.
This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts using a variety of arc roles to express relations such as is-a, whole-part, etc. Arc roles can be created by those who create XBRL taxonomies or commonly used arc roles can be added to the XBRL Link Role Registry (LRR).
The definition linkbase provides taxonomy creators with the opportunity to define different kinds of relations between elements. There are four standard types of relationships supported by the definition linkbase. The first one is referred to as "general-special". It distinguishes between concepts that have more generic or more specific meaning. For example Zip Code is the US representation of Postal Code which is used worldwide. Therefore, to indicate that connection, taxonomy creators define Postal Code as a general term to which there is more specialised concept Zip Code. Second available relation type is "essence-alias". By using it, taxonomy creators are able to indicate that two concepts have similar meaning. For example, some airlines may want to use the term Planes to describe their main component of their PPE while other would prefer Aircraft. To state that meaning of these two is the same and that they can be used interchangeably, taxonomy creators may connect them using "essence-alias" arcrole. The third standard type of relation is called "requires-element". As its name indicates, taxonomy builders use it to force instance creators to enter the value of one element, if they provide the content of another. For instance, a regulator may want to require disclosures on a particular component of Assets if it appears on the Balance Sheet. In order to achieve that, the definition linkbase defines "requires-element" relationship between them (for example, Property, Plant and Equipment, Net and Property, Plant and Equipment Disclosures). The fourth relation is "similar-tuples". It resembles "essence-alias" relation but is applied for tuples. It connects two tuples that are equivalents in terms of definition (documentation from label linkbase or reference in reference linkbase) but are diverse from XML perspective i.e. do not have identical content models, for example contain different elements. One of the reasons that this type of relation was introduced is the prohibition of schema redefinition which prevents changes in a tuple's content model.
This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts so that the resulting relations can guide the creation of a user interface, rendering, or visualisation.
Business reports are in general prepared in the form of tables or statements or other structures. The presentation linkbase stores information about relationships between elements in order to properly organize the taxonomy content. This allows the elements to be arranged in a structure that is appropriate to represent the hierarchical relationships in particular business data. These groupings can be performed in many ways. For example, a typical Balance Sheet contains Assets, Equity and Liabilities. Assets consist of Current Assets and Non-current Assets. Current Assets are split in Inventories, Receivables and so on. The presentation linkbase, using parent-child relations organizes elements in this way and helps users find concepts they are interested in. The main drawback of a tree-like (hierarchical) structure in a presentation linkbase is that it only allows the presentation of flat lists of elements, while financial statements also contain more sophisticated reports such as Changes in Equity or Movements in Property, Plant and Equipment . The XBRL Consortium is currently working on rendering solutions that would provide for the automatic creation of such reports.
This is the taxonomy schema of the above shown instance file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <schema xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:xbrli="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/instance" xmlns:link="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/linkbase" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xmlns:ifrs-gp="http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15" xmlns:ifrs-gp-rol="http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/roles" xmlns:samp="http://www.iqinfo.com/xbrl/taxonomy" targetNamespace="http://www.iqinfo.com/xbrl/taxonomy" elementFormDefault="qualified" attributeFormDefault="unqualified"> <annotation> <appinfo> <link:linkbaseRef xlink:type='simple' xlink:href='http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/ifrs-gp-pre-bs-liquidity-2005-05-15.xml' xlink:role='http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationLinkbaseRef' xlink:arcrole='http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink/properties/linkbase' /> <link:linkbaseRef xlink:type='simple' xlink:href='http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/ifrs-gp-pre-is-byNature-2005-05-15.xml' xlink:role='http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationLinkbaseRef' xlink:arcrole='http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink/properties/linkbase' /> <link:linkbaseRef xlink:type='simple' xlink:href='http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/ifrs-gp-cal-bs-liquidity-2005-05-15.xml' xlink:role='http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/calculationLinkbaseRef' xlink:arcrole='http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink/properties/linkbase' /> <link:linkbaseRef xlink:type='simple' xlink:href='http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/ifrs-gp-cal-is-byNature-2005-05-15.xml' xlink:role='http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/calculationLinkbaseRef' xlink:arcrole='http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink/properties/linkbase' /> </appinfo> </annotation> <import namespace="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/instance" schemaLocation="http://www.xbrl.org/2003/xbrl-instance-2003-12-31.xsd" /> <import namespace="http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15" schemaLocation="http://xbrl.iasb.org/int/fr/ifrs/gp/2005-05-15/ifrs-gp-2005-05-15.xsd" /> </schema>
XBRL's Global Ledger Framework (XBRL GL) is the only set of taxonomies that is developed and recommended by XII.
XBRL International has issued and reissued a stability pledge in relation to the core XBRL 2.1 specification. In addition to the core XBRL 2.1 specification, work continues on the development of XBRL modules that define new, compatible functionality.
Besides the creation of additional modules, XBRL International supports several methods for continuing expansion of shared XBRL functionality.
iXBRL (Inline XBRL) is a development of XBRL in which the XBRL metadata are embedded in an HTML document, e.g. a published report and accounts. It requires the HTML document to be well-formed but does not otherwise specify the required XML format. Typically, iXBRL is implemented within HTML documents, which are displayed or printed by web browsers without revealing the XBRL metadata inside the document. The specification does, however, provide a normative schema which requires that any schema-valid iXBRL document should be in XHTML format.
Unlike XBRL, it is feasible to create Inline XBRL documents by hand, by adding Inline XBRL elements to an existing HTML rendering of a document. However, most iXBRL financial reports are produced in one of two ways:
With large and complex financial statements, a single iXBRL file may be too large for a web browser to handle. This happens more often when, as in the UK, the company report, which may contain many graphics, is combined with the accounts in a single iXBRL document. The iXBRL specification allows for a set of iXBRL documents to be treated as a single iXBRL document set.
The word processing package which has been enhanced for iXBRL most widely is Microsoft Word. This allows "round-tripping" between its own format for the precise layout of documents and HTML through the use of non-standard extensions to HTML. The iXBRL tags are typically held as comments within the document.
In the UK, HM Revenue and Customs requires businesses to submit their report and accounts and tax computations in iXBRL format when making their Corporation Tax return. Businesses and their agents can use HMRC's Online Filing software to prepare their report and accounts and tax computations in iXBRL format or they can prepare the iXBRL files themselves and submit them to HMRC.
HMRC's Online Filing software is an example of a program which generates iXBRL from source data. This uses a series of forms in which the key data (which will appear in XBRL tags) are entered in data entry fields. Additional data (the rest of the report and accounts) are entered in text boxes. The program generates the iXBRL report and accounts in a standard sequence of sections and a standard format. All other formatting of material is lost. While the resulting report and accounts meets HMRC's requirements, it is not an attractive document to view or read.
Inline XBRL is mandated for corporate filings by government agencies in Japan, Denmark and the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, Companies House also accepts iXBRL. Although iXBRL is not mandated by Companies House, it makes up the majority of the filings received each year.
XBRL's beginning can be traced to the initial efforts of one person, Charles Hoffman, a Certified Public Accountant from Tacoma, Washington. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) was also instrumental in pulling together what eventually became XBRL International.
The specification has gone through several versions, all of which are still available.
In April 2009 a study of the North Carolina State University Department of Accounting College of Management evaluated the accuracy of XBRL filings for 22 companies participating in the SEC's voluntary filing program in 2006. Results of a comparison of XBRL filings to Forms 10-K revealed multiple errors in signage, amounts, labeling, and classification. The study considers that these errors are serious since XBRL data is computer-readable and users will not visually recognize the errors, especially when using XBRL analysis software.