The International Standard

XBRL is the international standard for digital reporting of financial, performance, risk and compliance information, although it is also used for many other types of reporting. The open XBRL specifications are freely licensed to anyone seeking to use the standard.

XBRL provides a way to:

  • define unambiguous, reusable definitions
  • report individual facts against those definitions
  • where necessary (and permitted) extend those definitions to take account of unique reporting ideas or aggregations
  • test the resulting report against the constraints set out in the definitions
  • file or publish the finished report
  • consume entire reports or individual facts as needed

in a platform independent, vendor neutral way. The standard is supported by a large number of Common Off The Shelf software packages and by a large number of service providers, and is freely licensed open technology, developed and supported by a global, not-for-profit consortium, committed to improving reporting.

XBRL provides a number of mechanisms to deal with very complex reporting requirements, including sophisticated multi-dimensional data, complex interrelated forms and individual presentation requirements. Because it is oriented around the idea of formal testing and document proof across the various parts of the information supply chain, XBRL allows regulators and corporate users to improve the quality and consistency of the information they require.

High Quality Specifications

The XBRL specifications have been developed over more than a decade, are stable, and have been developed through a lengthy process designed to promote consensus, fairness, public accountability and quality. The XBRL International standards support almost every kind of reporting imaginable, are inherently multi-lingual and support large numbers of sophisticated business requirements. There is a lot of detail about different ways that XBRL is used around the world on this site, the technical specifications themselves are freely available, and detailed implementation guidance and technical case studies are available for XBRL International members. The XBRL International consortium is a unique grouping that harnesses the knowledge, determination, innovation and openness of the public and private sectors from around the world.


The XBRL family of specifications support a vast array of different kinds of reporting requirements, including:

  • Simple Forms
  • Complex and Multidimensional forms
  • Free format reporting of the sort found in board packs and financial statements
  • The presentation of free format reports the way that the preparer intended
  • The creation of facts and error condition tests based on data contained in forms and reports
  • Transaction reporting that can be aggregated and rolled up into aggregate performance reports

Of course, XBRL is not the only way to move information around. Many people coming to XBRL will also look at relevant alternative formats.

A Global Community

A very large, and growing group of regulators, enterprises, governments and information ecosystems, having examined the alternatives, turn to XBRL for their structured reporting needs. Learn more by exploring this website. Accellerate your knowledge, skills and capabilities by joining the XBRL consortium.


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