XBRL: the standard for
Complete and Continuous Support of the XBRL Standards
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is the global standard for exchanging business information. It provides a common dictionary of concepts that can be reported and their definition. However, it goes much further than just a simple data dictionary, by capturing the relationships between concepts, the business rules by which they can be validated, and how they can be grouped together.
The XBRL Specification is developed and published by XBRL International, Inc. (XII). UBPartner is an active member of the XBRL standards working groups that contribute to the development of the XBRL standard.
The XBRL standard is continually changing to meet the developing set of use cases and user demands. UBPartner monitors all of these developments and ensures that its software is fully conformant with the latest standards by certifying it with XBRL International. Ensuring that its customers and partners investments are protected and that they are kept up to date with the latest developments.
UBPartner is an active member of the European XBRL community via its membership of XBRL Europe, in which UBPartner staff hold senior positions and is a regular contributor at events organised by XBRL Europe and Eurofiling. UBPartner also takes an active role through its membership of local jurisdictions, such as XBRL France and XBRL UK.
UBPartner can trace its lineage and the foundations of its software to UBmatrix which was a founding member of XBRL International. How XBRL was developed from an original idea by early pioneers such as Charlie Hoffman, Herm Fisher, Rene van Egmond (all original UBmatrix employees) and many others to the worldwide standard for business information exchange is also a short history of UBPartner’s background.
A brief history of UBPartner and XBRL
From idea to worldwide format for business information exchange
It is not often that someone has an idea one day and then, some 20 years later, that idea has turned into a standard used in almost every country around the world with a global consortium of over 500 leading organizations concerned with its development and implementation, but that is the story of XBRL.
It all started In 1998, when Charlie Hoffman, a CPA with a passion for technology, read a book about XML and saw how it could be implemented for financial statements to improve the collection and reporting of financial data.
In April of that year, Charlie began developing prototypes of financial statements and audit schedules using XML. He quickly realised that XML in itself was not sufficient and that an extra ‘layer’ was required to allow business users to develop the semantic information around the data elements.
By 2000, the US accountants body, the AICPA, had become interested and an initial prototype was completed for what was at the time called XFRML (Extensible Financial Reporting Markup Language). Later it was agreed to change this name to XBRL, to make it clear that XBRL could be used for any business information exchange.
- UBmatrix was established in 2002 by many of the leading players in the development standard, including Charlie Hoffman, Herm Fisher and Frederic Chapus.
- The FFIEC (2003) looks to modernise bank reporting in the US using XBRL and becomes the first major project to adopt it.
- Europe becomes the center of focus in 2004, when 500 people attend the XBRL Conference in Brusselsamong them Bank of Spain and Banque de France.
- The Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) took up the challenge of using XBRL for the new bank reporting frameworks - COREP and FINREP.
- 2005 - UBmatrix Europe was established
- The adoption curve picks up with a number of notable projects:
- The Dutch SBR project began to develop a core XBRL taxonomy to enable all B2G reports to be in XBRL.
- 2009 the US SEC collects its first US GAAP report
- The UK HMRC and Companies initiated an XBRL project that ended up designing inline XBRL.
- The Belgian Ministry of Finances processes some 600,000 annual tax returns
- Infocamere collects 900,000 sets of Italian GAAP reports in XBRL. for the Italian Chambers of Commerce
The international standard for collecting regulatory reports
By 2010, XBRL projects were being worked on around the world. European Financial Services regulators had learned many of the early mistakes and were developing the next generation of banking and insurance taxonomies. The Dutch Standard Business Reporting initiative was pushing XBRL reporting to a wider set of government and bank reporting requirements.
XBRL France – Frederic Chapus, Gilles Maguet and Bruno Tesniere
These projects were also forcing the XBRL Standards Board (XSB) to continue the enhancement of the XBRL specifications – Inline XBRL driven by the UK adoption for both annual reports and tax returns, Table Linkbase by the adoption of a highly dimensional approach for the EBA’s CRD4 framework, plus many other smaller refinements.
UBPartner is formed to develop easy to use XBRL software
UBPartner was established by combining what was UBmatrix Europe (now owned by Edgar Online) and the development team working on the Banque de France implementation of COREP and FINREP, i.e. what was to become the EBA’s CRD4 framework. The aim was to build standard XBRL software systems that were simple to deploy and easier to use.
- 2012 - The UBPartner XBRL Toolkit was launched to support CRD4 and Solvency
- 2015 - The XT Portal was made available
- 2018 - The XT Cloud was provided as a hosted XBRL processing service
- 2019 - The XT Database is launched
- 2020 - XT ESEF is released
XBRL: The Future is Bright
Looking forwards, the range of applications that XBRL is growing fast. Across the world, it is being used for the collection of data by many more government agencies and market supervisors, countries like the Netherlands are looking to use it for inter-government reporting, and the collection of ESG information from companies is being pushed.
The Open Information Model being developed by XBRL International promises to free XBRL from its original roots and reliance on the XML format. xBRL-CSV promises to allow authorities to collect large data sets in an efficient manner, while xBRL-JSON give the potential for XBRL data to be reused in many ways.