New guidance published: understanding XBRL report packages
In the wake of the recent approval of the new, final XBRL Report Packages Specification, draft guidance on report packages has been approved by XBRL International’s Best Practices Board (BPB).
XBRL reports have traditionally been intricate assemblies of multiple interdependent files, presenting navigation challenges. Over the years, diverse and non-consistent XBRL report packaging practices have emerged across various programs. This lack of uniformity has led to an inconsistent user experience, creating obstacles for those working with XBRL reports in specialised software. There was a clear need for a standardised approach, streamlining the distribution and consumption of XBRL reports.
The newly introduced Report Packages specification addresses these issues head-on. It establishes a uniform format for amalgamating the various elements of an XBRL Report into a single file. This approach formalises the methodology laid out in the 2018 Report Packages Working Group Note.
Key highlights of the Report Packages specification include:
- Standard Packaging: Report Packages provide a consistent, standardised method for bundling the numerous constituent files of an XBRL Report into one cohesive package. These files can include preparer extension taxonomy files; images, fonts, and stylesheets used in Inline XBRL reports; and xBRL-CSV data and metadata files.
- Consistent User Experience: By adopting the Report Package format, the user experience becomes uniform and reliable. It simplifies the process of handling reports in XBRL software, ensuring that they open directly and consistently.
- Distinct File Format: To facilitate straightforward identification, distinctive file extensions are assigned to XBRL and Inline XBRL Reports. This distinction also acts as a safeguard, deterring users from manually altering or invalidating the package.
In addition to these immediate benefits, Report Packages also pave the way for enhanced security features for digital reports prepared using XBRL specifications.
This guidance document is a valuable resource not only for the data collectors and preparers but also for all users of XBRL Reports.