XBRL Tips for Filers from Mike Willis, Assistant Director of the SEC’s Office of Structured Disclosure
By Toppan Merrill
1 min read | Industry Insights Insights Home

05_Where does XBRL go from here_

Ten years have passed since the SEC’s XBRL requirement came into effect. Despite the challenges of the transition from traditional filing to structured data, using XBRL in SEC financial reporting has proven to be a great success. The use of XBRL-tagged data in financial disclosures continues to accelerate among investors, market analysts, and the SEC staff who conduct review and enforcement activities. It is becoming the norm for the collection and analysis of financial data.The SEC’s vast structured database is transforming and improving the way financial disclosures tell companies’ stories to investors. It is solving the two problems the SEC sought to address with the XBRL mandate: The need to make the ever-expanding universe of corporate financial information more easily accessed by investors who are facing investment decisions; and the need to regulate this data universe so that the SEC can ensure compliance with accounting rules, mitigate risks to investors, and detect accounting fraud or other forms of corporate wrongdoing.

In a Toppan Merrill webinar broadcast on September 18, 2019, three experts from different markets sectors discussed XBRL’s success story:

  • Mike Willis, Assistant Director of the SEC’s Office of Structured Disclosure.
  • Emily Huang, CEO and co-founder of idaciti (which makes tools for analyzing structured data). Ms. Huang explained how Inline XBRL brings a company’s financials to life and how painfully apparent XBRL mistakes are to investors and analysts.
  • Mike Schlanger, Vice President of Solution Sales at Toppan Merrill. Mr. Schlanger offered best practices for filing high-quality XBRL disclosures.

Today, we'll cover how XBRL Tips for Filers

To listen to the full webinar, click here.

"BAD XBRL MAY FUNCTION AS A LIGHTHOUSE, WARNING INVESTORS AWAY FROM ROCKY ACCOUNTING CONTROLS AND SHALLOW CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. EXCESSIVE AND INAPPROPRIATE EXTENSIONS ARE WILDLY OBVIOUS TO THE USER,” MR. WILLIS WARNED. MISSING XBRL TAGS ARE AN EVEN BIGGER GAFFE."

Mr. Willis communicated five XBRL tips for filers:

  1. Ensure reporting processes include data-quality standards.
  2. Pay attention to EDGAR warning messages and correct flagged errors.
  3. Apply the freely available, open-source data-quality rules from the XBRL US Data Quality Committee.
  4. Before submission, check your filings for the most commonly occurring XBRL mistakes.
  5. Benchmark the rate of XBRL extension use in your company’s sector to gauge whether extensions in your filings exceed the average.

To read the most recent issue of DIMENSIONS, click here. 

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Toppan Merrill


Toppan Merrill, a leader in financial printing and communication solutions, is part of the Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., the world's leading printing group, headquartered in Tokyo with approximately US$14 billion in annual sales. Toppan Merrill has been a pioneer and trusted partner to the financial, legal and corporate communities for five decades, providing secure, innovative solutions to complex content and communications requirements. Through proactive partnerships, unparalleled expertise, continuous innovation and unmatched service, Toppan Merrill delivers a hassle-free experience for mission-critical content for capital markets transactions, financial reporting and regulatory disclosure filings, and marketing and communications solutions for regulated and non-regulated industries. With global expertise in major capital markets, Toppan Merrill delivers unmatched service around the world.


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