A case for eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)

This article was published in The Guardian Newspaper on 28 April 2021. Below is an excerpt from the article.

On the 24th March 2021, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation published IFRS Taxonomy 2021. The 2021 taxonomy is an upgrade on previous versions of a digital taxonomy developed by the global reporting standard-setter for digital and electronic reporting that is based on a global reporting language known as XBRL.

XBRL is an open, international standard for the exchange of financial and non-financial information in digital form. The standardization of this information enables computer systems to automatically recognize and process data throughout the entire reporting chain. XBRL is a system for coding and decoding financial and non-financial information similar to the revolutionizing impact of barcodes on merchandising. However, XBRL goes further than the barcode: XBRL represents a huge leap forward in how complex business information and financial data is electronically transferred and reported around the world.

Today, many organizations acknowledge XBRL as the future of reporting. Although not yet required by many regulators, XBRL is already gaining traction in many countries throughout Europe and many parts of the developed world. It is expected to become the worldwide standard for reporting based on common XBRL taxonomies. What is therefore an XBRL Taxonomy? It is a collection of taxonomy schemas and link bases. A taxonomy schema is an XML schema file. Link bases are XML documents that follow the Xlink specification.

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