XBRL Functionality Added to FASB Codification

FASB on Monday announced that it has added new XBRL functionality to its Accounting Standards Codification Web site.


“The new XBRL functionality provided by the Codification Web site will help entities as they prepare or plan to prepare XBRL financial statements using the U.S. Financial Reporting Taxonomy,” said FASB Chairman Robert Herz in a press release. “Users will be able to very easily identify the XBRL elements associated with specific Codification paragraphs.”


The FASB Codification, which is effective for interim and annual periods ending after Sept. 15, 2009, provides a list of all XBRL elements that contain an electronic link to a Codification paragraph. It provides the complete XBRL element names together with all Codification paragraphs referenced by a particular XBRL element.


To ensure that the taxonomy references the authoritative literature in the Codification rather than the superseded legacy literature, XBRL-US announced in August that it had published a taxonomy extension including the Codification references. The Codification references include both the text-based Codification reference (in the form of topic, subtopic, section, paragraph, and subparagraph) and an electronic link to the related codification paragraphs.


FASB’s Notice to Constituents (requires login to FASB Codification) provides additional background regarding Codification references and electronic links embedded in the U.S. Financial Reporting Taxonomy.


The current changes to the FASB Codification follow the SEC’s rule effective April 13, 2009, that requires all public companies to begin providing XBRL versions of their SEC filings over a three-year phase-in period. Approximately 500 of the largest public companies, each with a worldwide public float greater than $5 billion, began filing for interim financial statements with periods ending on or after June 15, 2009.


All other large accelerated filers (with public floats below $5 billion that file under U.S. GAAP) are expected to start filing in XBRL in June 2010. In 2011, all remaining companies using U.S. GAAP and all foreign private issuers that prepare their financial statements in accordance with IFRS as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board will be subject to the same requirements.


The XBRL data, which the SEC calls “interactive data,” is required to supplement—but not replace—a company’s traditional electronic filing formats (ASCII or HTML) for annual and quarterly reports, transition reports for a change in fiscal year, and reports that contain updated or revised versions of financial statements. Companies also are required to post the XBRL version on their corporate Web site, if they maintain one.


The U.S. GAAP Taxonomy for XBRL was developed by XBRL US—the nonprofit consortium for XML business reporting standards—under contract with the SEC as a digital dictionary containing a comprehensive set of reporting elements that include U.S. GAAP requirements and common reporting practices. 


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