Moving Inline XBRL Beyond a Compliance Function
The importance of easy data consumption was a key theme at Data Amplified this year. There has been a focus on making sure XBRL data fits the requirements of regulators but many speakers recognised the importance of data consumption – easy access to structured data creates increased visibility and usability for new users.
In his presentation, Ian Whitworth, founder of PortAlchemy, made the astute observation that the user is as important as the regulator – and that we need to be thinking about how best structured data meets document design. As a graphic designer and programmer he has built a multiuser web-based design tool for annual report creation that can replace or work with the designer’s tool of choice – Adobe’s InDesign.
With ESEF commencing in 2020 – which will affect highly designed financial statements – this is the perfect time to develop more design-led iXBRL capabilities.
Although tools like the open source Inline viewer (referred to below) have been designed very much with regulators in mind, Ian points out that highly designed Inline XBRL disclosures can be made more interactive on corporate websites using similar tools. That leads to interesting opportunities for marketing and investor relations. For example, a company could provide dynamic performance graphs driven by the information contained in the Inline XBRL annual financial report. Standard – cookie driven – analysis systems could then help the investor relations team to understand what users are most interested in.
Efforts like this may well prove a way to align the interests and outputs of corporate reporting teams with their colleagues focussed on investor relations.