XBRL formats: which one to choose?

Posted on February 17, 2023 by Editor

This week XBRL International published new best practice guidance to help XBRL users select the most appropriate of the four formats to fit their needs. The guidance is aimed at data collectors, solution architects, and anyone looking to understand the differences between the XBRL formats.

Currently, XBRL offers four interoperable formats for different uses:

  1. xBRL-XML: The conventional XML format defined by the XBRL v2.1 specification.
  2. Inline XBRL (iXBRL): A format for embedding XBRL tags within a human-readable, HTML document.
  3. xBRL-JSON: A simple, JSON-based format for XBRL data.
  4. xBRL-CSV: An efficient, CSV-based format, particularly well-suited for bulk data reporting.

While data collection and reporting can be done in any of the XBRL formats (or even multiple, as they are not mutually exclusive), each one has been developed for optimal use in specific scenarios. The crucial questions being whether the reporting environment is open or closed, whether the user is collecting or publishing XBRL reports, and what volume of data is expected.

The guidance takes a deep dive into best practices for these various scenarios, to help users understand the key differences and strengths of each format.

Read the guidance here.

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