Financial Executives Research Foundation – FERF Survey Highlights

January 15th, 2013


The Annual 2012 Survey on “SEC Reporting and the Impact of XBRL” conducted by the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) has been published, and you may have seen a lot of buzz about it already.  We at RDG Filings are certainly very pleased with many of the survey’s findings.

The survey offers a lot of information, and we have found that the numbers speak for themselves. The survey clearly illuminates the fact that doing XBRL in-house is far more time consuming than utilizing a full-service outsource solution.  While the survey has been pushed by interested parties as evidence that doing XBRL in-house is the wave of the future – its findings show exactly the opposite. Those who take a “pro-in-house” reading also miss the fact that utilizing RDG Filings as a full-service solution promises very significant savings over your current provider.

The facts about the amount of time and money spent by companies who have chosen to bring the XBRL tagging and filing in-house are remarkable.  The respondents to this survey report having spent as many as five times more hours on their most recent XBRL filings than the respondents who use a full-outsource solution for XBRL filing.  That expenditure of time comes in addition to the licensing costs for the software and the costs for any technical support.  According to the FERF Survey, RDG Filings flat-rate pricing structure will represent anywhere from 35%-90% cost savings. In addition to the cost savings, RDG’s full-service tagging, consultation, and filing will save you even more time and money.

Additionally, the survey shows that among the full-service XBRL providers, only RDG Filings has 100% of its client responding that they are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their XBRL Solution.

According to the survey, “Respondents cited their internal teams’ level of XBRL competency, getting educated on the technology, and the final review process as contributors to the bottleneck.”  If these are the primary concerns of financial reporting executives, how can it be concluded that refusing to utilize a resource like RDG Filings—whose core-competency is XBRL—is not the superior option?  A company can either utilize RDG’s full-service solution and benefit from our vast experience, knowledge, and our team of CPA XBRL experts, or a company can choose to bring this process in-house and have to develop all that experience and expertise themselves and maintain that knowledge base for a process they only have to do four times a year.  Where is value-add for a company to develop the XBRL precision and expertise that is going to be necessary now that the limited liability exemption is coming to a close?  I just can’t see it.

Also ignored by the pro-in-house reading of this survey is the fact that a sizable percentage of companies are going to begin utilizing an external accountant review to audit their XBRL filings.  This is understandable given the fact that the SEC will be phasing out the limited liability exemption in the coming months.  The need for thorough external review will be all the greater for companies using in-house software to create their XBRL documents because they will have neither the time nor the inclination to develop their XBRL knowledge and expertise to the level that will provide a sufficient degree of confidence in the accuracy, completeness, and compliance of the XBRL document they created.  RDG Filings provides each of our clients with a dedicated account manager who is an expert in XBRL and is either a CPA or has extensive auditing experience.  The value of outsourcing your XBRL filings to RDG can be measured no place better than in the confidence you will have in the precision of your XBRL filings.

It is clear to us, and judging from this survey, it is also clear to many others, that XBRL is not a task best done in-house.  Seeking the expertise of a third party provider with the experience and knowledge of a company like RDG is the best path toward excellent XBRL filings at a reasonable cost.

Please find these highlights and the full survey here.

Please contact us with any questions or for more information.

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