XBRL
What is XBRL? How does it work?

What is XBRL?

XBRL is a freely available and global framework 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.

XBRL stands for EXTENSIBLE BUSINESS REPORTING LANGUAGE.

XBRL is a world-wide standard, developed by an international, non-profit-making consortium, XBRL International Inc. (XII). XII is made up of many hundred members, including government agencies, accounting firms, software companies, large and small corporations, academics and business reporting experts. XII has agreed the basic specifications which define how XBRL works.

What is XBRL Tags?

In XBRL, information is not treated as a static block of text or set of numbers.
Instead, information is broken down into unique items of data (eg total liabilities = 100). These data items are then assigned mark-up tags that make them computer-readable. For example, the tag <Liabilities>100</Liabilities> enables a computer to understand that the item is liabilities, and it has a value of 100.
Computers can treat information that has been tagged using XBRL ‘intelligently’; they can recognize, process, store, exchange and analyse it automatically using software.
Because XBRL tags are formed in a universally-accepted way, they can be read and processed by any computer that has XBRL software. XBRL tags are defined and organized using categorization schemes called taxonomies.

What is a Taxonomy?

Different countries use different accounting standards. Reporting under each standard reflects differing definitions. The XBRL language uses different dictionaries, known as ‘taxonomies’, to define the specific tags used for each standard. Different dictionaries may be defined for different purposes and types of reporting. Taxonomies are the computer-readable ‘dictionaries’ of XBRL. Taxonomies provide definitions for XBRL tags, they provide information about the tags, and they organize the tags so that they have a meaningful structure.