XBRL International forms Standards Board to strengthen its technical output


New York, 4 April  –  XBRL International announced today that it is forming a Standards Board (XSB) to strengthen the quality of its technical materials and manage their production more actively in order to accelerate adoption of the eXtensible Business Reporting Language around the world.


“The formation of the XBRL Standards Board (XSB) is a milestone in the growing maturity of XBRL,” Kurt Ramin, the chair of the XBRL International Steering Committee (ISC), said.  “Adoption is increasing rapidly and the Board will ensure that our technical output is of the highest quality and that we can respond quickly and efficiently to business needs.”


XBRL International will formally constitute the Board over the next few months but is immediately setting up an interim Board.  It has appointed Michael Ohata of Microsoft Corporation as founding chair of the Board and issued a call for nominations to other positions. 


The decision to set up the Board follows a review by the ISC of the process by which the XBRL International consortium produces its technical material, which includes specifications, technical guidance, test materials to help software developers and requirements statements.  This coincides with moves in a number of countries to adopt XBRL, an electronic language which offers major benefits for the creation, communication and analysis of financial reports. 


“Until now, the production of XBRL technical materials has been overseen by the ISC”, Mr. Ramin said.  “The creation of the Standards Board will provide more specialised and focussed technical oversight.”


Tasks of the Board, which will be accountable to the ISC, include:


·                 Increasing uniformly the quality, consistency and stability of XBRL International technical material. 

·                 Raising the level of openness and formality of the XBRL International standards setting process.

·                 Managing the process more actively, resulting in improved interoperability which will accelerate adoption of XBRL.


The consortium announcement emphasised that the creation of the Board did not indicate change in the basic XBRL specification and related material.  It said that the stability of XBRL was one of the key criteria for its success.


Immediate tasks for the Standards Board include finalising a number of specific projects, such as XBRL support for calculations based on formulae.  It will direct the development of technical training and explanatory materials which foster adoption.  Members of the Board will include technical architecture and business reporting management experts, and members with experience in project and program management.


XBRL adoption is moving ahead quickly.  In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission is running a pilot programme to evaluate XBRL and the FDIC has reported major success with its use of XBRL for banking regulation.  The UK announced last month that XBRL would become mandatory for tax returns and accounts from 2010.  The Bank of Japan is using XBRL for gathering data from financial institutions.  China, Belgium, Korea, Netherlands, Singapore and Spain are among other countries which are also using XBRL or have recently announced projects to introduce it. 


About XBRL


XBRL enables computer-readable tags to be applied to individual items of financial data in business reports, transforming them from simple blocks of text into information which can be understood and processed automatically by computer software.  It offers cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy to all those involved in preparing, analysing or communicating business information. 


It can be used to express a wide range of reports and disclosures including financial statements, internal management information, regulatory returns, statistical reports, and credit filings.


The language is being developed and promoted by an international non-profit consortium of some 400 major companies, organisations and government agencies.  Members cover all segments of the business supply chain.


XBRL is an open standard, free of licence fees.


More information, including the full text of the announcement of the XBRL International Standards Board, can be found on the XBRL website at www.xbrl.org.





Tracey Tarinelli

XBRL International, Inc.