For several hours this morning (UK time) the www.xbrl.org website was unavailable. You might think that this was of little consequence, until you realise that, consistent with XBRL best practice, HMRC’s guidance for company accounts requires that UK GAAP filings reference the UK GAAP taxonomy at its canonical location of http://www.xbrl.org/uk/gaap/core/2009-09-01/uk-gaap-full-2009-09-01.xsd using a <schemaRef> element. The XBRL 2.1 specification requires that XBRL processors resolve and discover the taxonomy documents referenced by such <schemaRef> elements. As such, out-of-the-box XBRL software following the rules of the specification couldn’t process UK GAAP instance documents during the outage this morning, and for anyone trying to use such software to create or review the accounts for their Corporation Tax return, this was a problem.
A similar issue existed for other UK taxonomies, such as UK-IFRS, and indeed, any of the many other taxonomies hosted on the xbrl.org website.
As noted in my earlier post, most XBRL software already has some mechanism for configuring local copies of taxonomies so that processing is not dependent on your internet connection or third party websites. Unfortunately, configuring such offline copies isn’t particularly easy. This is where taxonomy packages can help, as they contain all the information necessary to set up an offline copy of a particular taxonomy.
As XBRL becomes an important part of everyday business, ensuring that XBRL processes are implemented in a robust manner becomes essential. Taxonomy Packages can make doing that just a little bit easier.