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XBRL allows the expression of semantic meaning commonly required in business reporting. One use of XBRL is to define and exchange financial information, such as a financial statement.

XBRL is a standards-based way to communicate and exchange business information between business systems. These communications are defined by metadata set out in taxonomies , which capture the definition of individual reporting concepts as well as the relationships between concepts and other semantic meaning.

Information being communicated or exchanged is provided within an XBRL instance. A wiki repository of XBRL projects is available to be freely explored and updated. The current version of the base XBRL specification is 2. In typical usage, XBRL consists of an XBRL instance , containing primarily the business facts being reported, and a collection of taxonomies called a Discoverable Taxonomy Set DTS , which define metadata about these facts, such as what the facts mean and how they relate to one another.

The XBRL instance itself holds the following information:. A taxonomy schema is an XML schema document file. This linkbase provides human readable strings for concepts. Using the label linkbase, multiple languages can be supported, as well as multiple strings within each language. XBRL aims to become a worldwide standard for electronic business reporting. This requires taxonomies to present business data in many different languages.

Therefore, it is important to be able to create an element that is assigned with labels for different languages. There may also be different labels for different purposes. All labels are stored and linked to the elements in a label linkbase. Elements defined in a schema are built to convey accounting meaning to computers. In order to make it easier for computers to process their names, they have to obey some rules. Additionally, big taxonomies such as IFRS obey specific rules of naming and labelling to ensure consistency within the schema.

For example, there could be a list of words that are excluded from the names, e. In the label linkbase, elements are connected to human readable labels using "concept-label" arcrole. As mentioned above, elements can be assigned to labels in different languages. Taxonomy creators may also define different labels for one element.

One of the ideas of XBRL is that the information about the period and currency for which the element is reported is not contained within an element definition but is described by a context in instance documents. In financial reporting on the other hand, many terms express the date for which they are being reported, for instance Property, Plant and Equipment at the beginning of year and Property, Plant and Equipment at the end of year.

XBRL allows the creation of different labels depending on the context in which an element will be used. The example above shows how three different labels are assigned to one element by applying different role attributes on labels.

Financial concepts appearing on business reports more often than not stem from regulatory documents issued by authorities. For this reason, a taxonomy is often provided with a reference linkbase that presents relationships between elements and external regulations or standards the other solution is to enclose documentation in label linkbase. This helps instance creators and users understand the intended meaning of each element and provides support for its inclusion in the taxonomy.

The reference layer does not contain the full text of the regulations. Instead, it points to source documents by identifying their name and indicating the relevant paragraphs and clauses.

This connection is created using "concept-reference" arcrole. There are several types of references that could be provided for each element. The example above indicates references for Cash Flow from Used in Operations. First, it provides a reference to a document which explains how and where the element should be presented in terms of its placement and labeling.

Second, the measurement reference provides explanations about what determines the value of the element and how it should be calculated. This description can be found in IAS 7 paragraph XBRL also allows an element to be assigned other types of references containing examples, commentaries, etc.

This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts so that values appearing in an instance document may be checked for consistency. The idea of the calculation linkbase is to improve the quality of an XBRL report. It contains definitions of basic validation rules, which apply to all instance documents referring to a particular taxonomy. A hierarchical calculation linkbase sorts all monetary elements in this way so that lower level elements sum up to or are subtracted from one another so that the upper level concept is the result of these operations.

The sign of the relationship depends on the weight attribute that is assigned to the arc connecting two elements. An example is provided below. The example shows that there are defined two calculation arcs providing details concerning relations between Gross profit, Revenue and Cost of Sales. In Income Statements, Gross profit is the difference between the other two.

Therefore, we assign weight attribute value to "1" on the arc connecting Gross profit and Revenue and "-1" between Gross profit and Cost of Sales. The reason why there is a difference between calculation and presentation linkbases, is that the total element that stands for the summation of all others usually appears at the bottom in the financial statements whereas in the calculation linkbase it must be placed as the top concept.

There are two major rules concerning calculation relations in XBRL. Firstly, we cannot carry out operations on elements that have different values of the periodType attribute.

This is often called the cross-context rule and relates to defining some elements as "For period" duration and others as "As of date" instant.

For example, concepts that appear on the Balance Sheet are instant: which means that their value is presented for a specified day, while elements in the Income Statement or Statement of Cash Flows are duration: because they represent actions that took place over a period of time.

The problem emerges for example in the Statement of Changes in Equity or Movements in Property, Plant and Equipment where instant elements mix with duration. The solution to this problem is a formula linkbase that will provide taxonomy creators with many more functions than just simple addition or subtraction.

This rule does not only disallow the addition of elements with opposite balance attributes—they must be subtracted—it also defines whether the numerical value contained within an element should be positive or negative. This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts using a variety of arc roles to express relations such as is-a, whole-part, etc. The definition linkbase provides taxonomy creators with the opportunity to define different kinds of relations between elements.

There are four standard types of relationships supported by the definition linkbase. The first one is referred to as general-special.

It distinguishes between concepts that have more generic or more specific meaning. Therefore, to indicate that connection, taxonomy creators define Postal Code as a general term to which there is more specialised concept ZIP code. Second available relation type is essence-alias. By using it, taxonomy creators are able to indicate that two concepts have similar meaning. For example, some airlines may want to use the term Planes to describe their main component of their PPE while other would prefer Aircraft.

To state that meaning of these two is the same and that they can be used interchangeably, taxonomy creators may connect them using "essence-alias" arcrole. The third standard type of relation is called requires-element. As its name indicates, taxonomy builders use it to force instance creators to enter the value of one element, if they provide the content of another. For instance, a regulator may want to require disclosures on a particular component of Assets if it appears on the Balance Sheet.

In order to achieve that, the definition linkbase defines "requires-element" relationship between them for example, Property, Plant and Equipment, Net and Property, Plant and Equipment Disclosures.

The fourth relation is similar-tuples. It resembles "essence-alias" relation but is applied for tuples. It connects two tuples that are equivalents in terms of definition documentation from label linkbase or reference in reference linkbase but are diverse from XML perspective i. One of the reasons that this type of relation was introduced is the prohibition of schema redefinition which prevents changes in a tuple's content model. This linkbase associates concepts with other concepts so that the resulting relations can guide the creation of a user interface, rendering, or visualization.

Business reports are in general prepared in the form of tables or statements or other structures. The presentation linkbase stores information about relationships between elements in order to properly organize the taxonomy content. This allows the elements to be arranged in a structure that is appropriate to represent the hierarchical relationships in particular business data.

These groupings can be performed in many ways. Assets consist of Current Assets and Non-current Assets. Current Assets are split in Inventories, Receivables and so on. The presentation linkbase, using parent-child relations organizes elements in this way and helps users find concepts they are interested in.

The main drawback of a tree-like hierarchical structure in a presentation linkbase is that it only allows the presentation of flat lists of elements, while financial statements also contain more sophisticated reports such as Changes in Equity or Movements in Property, Plant and Equipment. The XBRL Consortium is currently working on rendering solutions that would provide for the automatic creation of such reports. In addition to the core XBRL 2. With large and complex financial statements, a single iXBRL file may be too large for a web browser to handle.

This happens more often when, as in the UK, the company report, which may contain many graphics, is combined with the accounts in a single iXBRL document. This uses a series of forms in which the key data which will appear in XBRL tags are entered in data entry fields. Additional data the rest of the report and accounts are entered in text boxes. The program generates the iXBRL report and accounts in a standard sequence of sections and a standard format.

All other formatting of material is lost. While the resulting report and accounts meets HMRC's requirements, it is not an attractive document to view or read. XBRL v2. The standard has evolved significantly through the development of additional XBRL modules. The study considers that these errors are serious, since XBRL data are computer-readable and users will not visually recognize the errors, especially when using XBRL analysis software.

A different conclusion was reached by Du et al. In December , Charlie Hoffman stated that there is a Hoffman predicts that per the current number of errors and the pace errors are being corrected, within about five years the information quality of XBRL-based public company financial reports will be very good.


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