Thoughts on the XBRL Conference in Orlando

Under the banner headline Better Data for Better Decisions, a host of people interested in the issues around XBRL gathered recently in Orlando for the latest conference organised by XBRL International Inc. This post picks up on the main themes of the conference and the way in which it helps CoreFiling and other organisations deliver successful reporting programs.

One of the major conference themes was the way in which XBRL is now being refocused from a pure technology issue into real-world application of the technology. CoreFiling remain at the forefront of this drive for change, supporting the efforts of XII where we chair the Best Practices Board, and providing business focused tools, for example metadata-driven taxonomy management solutions such as the True North® DPM [Data Point Methodology].

This theme was picked up again during the Regulatory Implementation Workshop, which also focused on best practice, and featured insightful advice and guidance from regulators with first-hand experience of implementing XBRL, exploring topics such as Stakeholder Management, Building a Business Case, Data Quality and Taxonomy Management, Taxonomy Metadata and Taxonomy Change Management. CoreFiling’s close involvement in this workshop (providing the session moderator, facilitators and a panellist) is yet another illustration of how the company seeks to work closely with regulators, to understand their real-world issues and, in the process, to make sure that this insight informs the development of our solutions. Above all, our aim is to ensure that XBRL is used effectively so that users derive real business value.

Another session focused on iXBRL, the format devised by CoreFiling, and which continues to move from strength to strength. Success stories from HMRC and the FSA in Japan showed just what is possible when reports are created in iXBRL with the joint benefit of being human-readable and able to be consumed by computer systems.

Open data is a current hot topic, particularly now that the US President has signed into law the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) in an attempt to streamline and bring clarity to the interactions between governments and their citizens. While there is still much debate about how this will be achieved, there is a broad body of opinion that XBRL provides the only realistic option as a standard that will open up data to a wider audience.

In the UK we have already seen a very good example of this now that Companies House has created a daily XBRL feed. CoreFiling have also been active in this area, funding a research and development project to explore the potential of Open Data access to the iXBRL data. The results are now freely available, demonstrating how XBRL company data can easily be made accessible to the general public. Learn more.

Continuing along a related theme, aspects of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) were explored, including the role of public policy and the steps needed to achieve data harmonisation. Two of the highest profile SBR programs to date, Australia and the Netherlands, were well represented. CoreFiling are pleased to have provided XBRL technology to both.

Above all, the XII conference offered a chance to meet existing and potential clients and others interested in understanding more about XBRL and the market-leading software CoreFiling offer. And, this doesn’t have to mean embarking on an enormous project from scratch, as CoreFiling offer COTS (commercial-of-the-shelf) solutions to most of the common issues encountered by both regulators and filers. This means that clients can focus on their business requirements rather than deep technical considerations in their use of XBRL. One example of this is the processing of large instance documents, a key consideration as banks and insurance companies start to get to grips with the changing reporting requirements brought in by CRD IV and Solvency II directives. The products CoreFiling offer in this market, and beyond, not only provide a COTS solution for large instance processing, but also solve another thorny problem: how to render XBRL into human-readable form so that reports can be reviewed easily prior to sign off.

All in all, a highly successful and engaging conference.

Who helps when your COREP submissions fail? (part 2)

Last time, I discussed the need for smaller financial institutions to take a serious look at the XBRL credentials of COREP software vendors offering low-end XBRL solutions and highlighted the advantages of trusting XBRL expert CoreFiling and our flexible, easy, inexpensive Seahorse® solution.  However, larger banks and financial organisations needing a tightly integrated global reporting framework will require a more strategic approach.

Here, the need for proven XBRL expertise becomes even more crucial, but many traditional banking software vendors have little or no XBRL expertise and rely on externally sourced plug-in modules to cater for the XBRL data conversion.  Such modules often rely on hard-coding methods to detect the XBRL taxonomy against which the reporting documents are created.  This may result in a lack of flexibility and agility to respond when regulations change and the taxonomy alters.

Depending on the client situation, CoreFiling deliver robust yet flexible solutions in the form of either packaged applications, the XBRL Disclosure Management Platform™ (XDMP), or commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components integrated into a client environment.  Our solutions are taxonomy driven and built so that new versions of the taxonomy can be dropped into the system without the need for hard re-coding each time.

For example, the XDMP solution is the culmination of a highly focused development effort by CoreFiling in conjunction with its partner EMC, experts in document management, and a major consultancy firm.  It is based on COTS components and, just like Seahorse, it is underpinned by the True North® XBRL processing and validation engine, widely regarded as the most conformant and powerful validator on the market; the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has chosen True North for its EBA reporting requirements and validation of the COREP and FINREP filings it receives from the UK financial market.

CoreFiling’s long-standing commitment to the furtherance of the XBRL standards and our active participation in the XBRL consortium that oversees the development of the XBRL specifications means that we have an exceptional understanding of XBRL technology, which in turn informs our development process.  Based on our extensive experience and insight, we are ideally placed to help our clients implement successful, flexible and compliant solutions.

Even if your traditional vendor is still struggling to produce XBRL documents in time for you to meet your COREP obligations, there’s no need to feel stuck. CoreFiling offer a safety net in the form of Seahorse to help filers overcome the immediate XBRL reporting obstacle.