Monday, November 28, 2011

How XBRL is like the NFL

CompSci Resources, LLC

Every so often the SEC issues a report on how filers are complying with the EDGAR Filer Manual (EFM). For the most part, compliance with the XBRL standard has been commendable. With that said, it is understandable that as this process gets underway, there are some recurring errors being made as filers learn about the nuances and terminology of XBRL. Perhaps one way to look at the XBRL standard is to compare it with a very recognizable part of American life: Football. At first glance, football doesn’t seem to have too much in common with financial reporting. However, one way I have explained XBRL to some of our clients is to draw an analogy between the unofficial rules that govern the creation of the widely used and understood “game report” with the guidelines outlined by the EFM. Below, I have detailed some of the XBRL filing issues which the SEC has noted as being particularly problematic for some filers against the backdrop of America’s most popular sport. Here goes: