Training Wheels Off for XBRL

As limited liability ends, tagged financials are still getting a bad rap for errors and comparability.

Four years after large companies were required to start tagging their financial filings in XBRL, the training wheels are coming off, with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s offer of limited liability for errors in XBRL-tagged filings ending this year.

The tagged data is still not that popular with its target audience of analysts and investors, though, and there are complaints about the extent of the errors in the tagged data, as well as a lack of comparability among different companies’ data.

As companies work to refine their use of XBRL, is anyone using all the newly tagged financial information?

A evaluation of XBRL that was released in January by Columbia Business School’s Center for Excellence in Accounting and Security Analysis found that fewer than 10% of the 26 analysts and investors interviewed for the report used XBRL-tagged data accessed directly from the SEC’s Web page or other organizations that provide the data for free.

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