By announcing voluntary filing in inline XBRL in June 2016, the SEC has moved a step closer to its commitment to data quality. What is particularly laudable is the SEC’s intent to move to a standard that is also easy to use for filers.
With Inline XBRL, filers need no longer to work on two separate formats XBRL and HTML for their SEC filing. What’s more, because of inline XBRL’s inherent human-readability, users might take notice of and comprehend the data in their documents and actually use it for investor relations and analysis.
For those who want to know about the SEC’s order, read our previous blogpost on 10 Facts You Need to Know about Inline XBRL for SEC Filing.
For others who have already decided to jump onto the inline XBRL wagon, here are a few tools that can ease your compliance reporting in inline XBRL.
1. Inline XBRL Viewer
So you’ve used a disclosure management platform and prepared your inline XBRL document. But as a filer, you also need to be able to view it. And while inline XBRL is in essence a well-formatted HTML that you can view in a browser, it still needs specialized software to view all the embedded XBRL information.
The inline XBRL viewer helps you to see the embedded structured data beneath the HTML presentation. A quality inline XBRL viewer also highlights all the tagged values with other related details such as the assigned taxonomy elements, the scale of rounding off, attributed currency, reporting period, and other dimensional attributes. Thus, the inline XBRL viewer helps the filer confirm what has been tagged and if it has been done correctly.
There could also be some facts that do not appear on the face of HTML but still need to be tagged. Your inline XBRL viewer should also provide a list of such facts. If you want to make sure that you have tagged all the mandatory data, do read our previous post on 5 Easy Inline XBRL Tagging Rules to Master Your SEC Filing.
Coming back to the viewer, you can try out the SEC’s Inline XBRL Viewer which uses a mock inline XBRL file for illustration purposes.
Figure 1: Screenshot of SEC’s inline XBRL viewer showing embedded properties of XBRL data
This is a feature-rich application that allows you to view the various parts of your inline XBRL document. With the inline XBRL viewer, you can navigate through various sections of the inline XBRL report, apply filters to narrow down the search results, and also view the hidden fact values, which do not appear on the HTML.
So, you’ve viewed the data, but what if you want to use the embedded XBRL data? Here too, technology is at hand.
2. Transforming Inline XBRL to native XBRL
The SEC also requires companies to make their XBRL data available on the company’s investor relations portal. For this, filers need to create XBRL instance documents. Companies may also have a need to use the data for analysis purposes.
Irrespective of the need, if you want to use the XBRL data, you need to extract it from the inline XBRL document. For this too, you need software that follows the rules given in the Transformation Registry 3 and can convert the data that appears in HTML into valid XBRL data.
Alternatively, you can choose to convert your inline XBRL to XBRL using the SEC’s Inline XBRL Viewer.
Figure 2: Snapshot of SEC’s Inline XBRL viewer to show conversion of a document to XBRL instance
The SEC’s viewer supports not just viewing of the files but can also be used to transform inline XBRL into XBRL. The source code has also been made available for vendors to integrate into their software.
IRIS CARBONTM users need not worry because CARBON helps you generate both inline XBRL and XBRL documents simultaneously.
3. Validating Inline XBRL documents
Finally, after you have prepared your inline XBRL document, you need a validator to ensure that you have indeed taken into account all the mandatory requirements and rules stipulated by the SEC. The inline XBRL document should be validated against all the required specifications of XBRL and inline XBRL. Section 5.2.5 of the updated EDGAR Filing Manual details all the rules to be followed for creating an inline XBRL document.
It is also important to note that, unlike the previous dual submission process, if there are any major XBRL errors in the filing, the entire inline XBRL submission will be rejected and the filer will have to resubmit the document. So please ensure that your software is updated to take care of these technical requirements and that your iXBRL document is thoroughly validated before you submit it to the SEC.
Finally, we hope that you are not intimidated by the many applications that are required for Inline XBRL. While a new mandate will mean changing your process to some extent, the benefits that inline XBRL offers to both filers as well as regulators are significant and far outweigh any short-term inconvenience. It should therefore come as no surprise that many other regulators across the globe have also opted for inline XBRL.
On their part, the SEC and XBRL US have been conducting webinars to address queries and concerns of filers. Do sign up to allay any nervousness you might have about adopting inline XBRL.
IRIS is a global XBRL service provider and we have been helping companies in the U.K to create their inline XBRL filings for HRMC since 2011. With over 7 years of experience with SEC filing in the U.S, we could help you create your inline XBRL filing for the SEC. Do reach out to us.