Once Again, The SEC Bolsters XBRL

February 23rd, 2015


Even as the misguided efforts to minimize the reach of XBRL reporting continue in Congress, the SEC has increasingly endorsed and strengthened its commitment to this important advancement in financial disclosure and data availability.  Recently, the SEC has taken aggressive steps to promote and protect XBRL data.

On February 19th, 2015, SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar endorsed the Investor Advisory Committee’s (IAC) 2013 recommendation to have issuers provide information in an interactive data format.  Speaking at the SEC Speaks conference, Commissioner Aguilar promoted the SEC’s adoption of machine-readable XBRL format and promoted the notion that it would be a great benefit to investors Proxy information were also presented in XBRL.  Commissioner Aguilar said: “For instance, it has been suggested that the better use of 21st century technology in the proxy process may facilitate how shareholders can more effectively receive and understand how their companies are performing, and to better put that performance into perspective.  Indeed, it’s only logical to expect that better informed investors would likely participate in greater numbers.”

Aguilar went on to endorse the IAC’s recommendation that the SEC “immediately prioritize tagging important information with respect to various corporate governance issues, including portions of the proxy statement that relate to executive compensation and matters voted upon by shareholders.”  His support is supported by the fact that “tagging the voting data and results contained in certain forms could result in more informed voting and investment decisions, and would facilitate comparisons among public companies.”

At the same SEC Speaks conference, the SEC’s Investor Advocate, Rick Fleming, criticized the regressive XBRL proposal put forward by Representative Robert Hurt.

Representative Hurt’s proposal would create an exemption from the XBRL filing requirements for certain small companies, which would exclude more than 60 percent of all public companies.  Mr. Fleming said that if this were signed into law, it “would seriously impede the ability of the SEC to bring disclosure into the 21st Century.”  He continued, “If Congressional action is needed, it should be used to press the SEC to move forward in its efforts to make disclosure more accessible and useful for investors.”

The SEC has only increased its commitment to the XBRL reporting requirement, and they have also massively increased its use of the data.  Investment decisions by analysts and enforcement decisions by the SEC will increasingly be driven by the information provided in the XBRL data, and for that reason RDG has, since its very inception, been committed to having the best people creating the highest quality code.

XBRL is the future of financial disclosure, and RDG can help public companies create excellent and usable data.  Please contact us to learn more about our Full Service Tagging Services and our XBRL Quality Assurance Services.

Feel free to contact me any time.

Stewart Walker – SVP, Director of Sales


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