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SEC provides additional guidance on XBRL compliance

In a public seminar held earlier this week on eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) compliance, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offered further guidance on how it expects companies to file their interactive financial records.

Mark Green, senior special counsel at the Division of Corporate Finance, described the issues around noncompliance this way: “As long as someone has an outstanding posting or submission of interactive dating, that entity is ineligible for short posting.” Green added that as soon as interactive filings are submitted or posted as XBRL, a company will once again be eligible for short-form posting.

Green said that short-term hardship exemptions of six business days are possible through application, adding that third-party involvement is not required for assurance or its preparation.

More information on the seminar can be found at An archive of the XBRL Public Education Seminar webcast is available (.WMV).

The instruction to use XBRL for business filings goes back to 2008, when the SEC proposed the use of the format. The SEC‘s mandate to use XBRL initially applied only to the nation’s 50 largest companies in 2009. Companies in the next group must post XBRL filings by June 15, Green said. Tagging of mutual funds will start in 2011.

In each case, companies are required to send XBRL filings to the SEC and post them to their corporate websites, said Joel Levine, assistant director of the Office for Interactive Disclosure. Levine said that technical and taxonomy issues prevent the SEC from accepting early submissions for IFRS. “There is no requirement that interactive data appear in identical format to the traditional format of financial statements,” said Levine.

As senior news writer Linda Tucci reported in January, XBRL financial reporting has been a hard sell. The SEC is encouraging companies subject to XBRL compliance to contact the Office of Interactive Disclosure with questions about compliance. XBRL reporting may not just be for the SEC anymore, but businesses have been slow to adopt it.

Slides from the SEC’s seminar on XBRL compliance are embedded below:

SEC XBRL Public Education Seminar by Alex Howard

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