Monday, December 22, 2008

XBRL For the record: What next for IFRS conversions?

Last week the SEC confirmed its decision to proceed with a phased in requirement for submission of XBRL. You can find the press release here. According to the press release:

For public companies, interactive data financial reporting will occur on a phased-in schedule beginning next year. The largest companies who file using U.S. GAAP with a public float above $5 billion will be required to provide interactive data reports starting with their first quarterly report for fiscal periods ending on or after June 15, 2009. This will cover approximately 500 companies. The remaining companies who file using U.S. GAAP will be required to file with interactive data on a phased-in schedule over the next two years. Companies reporting in IFRS issued by the International Accounting Standards Board will be required to provide their interactive data reports starting with fiscal years ending on or after June 15, 2011.

Companies will be able to adopt interactive data earlier than their required start date. All U.S. public companies will have filed interactive data financial information by December 2011 for use by investors.

The taxonomy for US GAAP is very extensive, and includes industry specific issues as requested by users. The SEC has made it a condition of acceptance of IFRS that there be:

"improvement in the ability to use interactive data for IFRS reporting"

It is one of the benchmarks in the proposed IFRS SEC Roadmap.

XBRL was discussed here in a comprehensive post here a few months ago. Who's afraid of XBRL? Covered what XBRL is and why it is important in the context of IFRS.

There is no Canadian requirement at this time to implement XBRL. The CSA fear a backlash given the impending conversion to IFRS in 2011. XBRL Canada is working on an XBRL project for Canada. According to my previous post.

According to Gerald Trites, Project Director at XBRL Canada, XBRL Canada is working on a mapping from Canadian GAAP to IFRS taxonomy. This might be useful in helping with IFRS conversions. No specific details were presented at the Conference. The results of this exercise are planned to be available in early 2009.

Some believe that XBRL will help IFRS conversions. Others believe it will just get in the way and use time and resources that are precious in today's stressful environment. Some countries like Israel embraced both IFRS and XBRL. Perhaps we can learn from the brave experiments?

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