September 16, 2019

XBRL

The SEC’s Tumultuous Love Affair with XBRL

Did the SEC commit to XBRL half-heartedly? Are they waiting for something better to come along? In the beginning, it was easy to argue yes. Fast forward 6 years and the SEC is still holding on to the XBRL — for better or worse. And, as flawed as it may be, XBRL/iXBRL looks like it […]

Who Knew You Needed XBRL Training?

The AICPA, that's who! Never one to forego an opportunity to sell CPE educate its members, the AICPA has collaborated with XBRL US to offer the XBRL US GAAP Certificate Program. What'd you say? "That sounds interesting, tell me more."? Okay! [T]he certificate program provides finance and accounting professionals with the information and hands-on training they […]

ICYMI: Here Are Some Accounting Execs Talking About How Useless XBRL Is

The mandatory use of eXtensible Business Reporting Language by large public companies began in 2009 and was extended to smaller filers in 2011. And while it has made searching for SEC filings a breeze, it was the sincere hope of the SEC that XBRL would also be a serviceable tool for companies to do similarly […]

Accounting News Roundup: PwC Rakes in Fees on Lehman; Grant Thornton: Opening the Audit Market Wouldn’t Hurt Big 4; One in Three IRS Employees Are Eligible for Retirement | 10.15.10

Bernanke Signals Intent to Further Spur Economy [NYT]
“The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, indicated on Friday that the central bank was poised to take additional steps to try to fight persistently low inflation and high unemployment.

‘Given the committee’s objectives, there would appear — all else being equal — to be a case for further action,’ he said in a detailed speech at a gathering of top economists [in Boston].

Mr. Bernanke noted that ‘unconventional policies have costs and limitations that must be taken into account in judging whether and how aggressively they should be used.” But he suggested that the Fed was prepared to manage the riske most powerful tool remaining in the Fed’s arsenal of weapons to stimulate the economy: vast new purchases of government debt to lower long-term interest rates.’ ”

Lehman Brothers’s U.K. Administrators Billed $420 Million Since Collapse [Bloomberg]
“Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s European administrators have billed 262 million pounds ($420 million) for work since the bank sought bankruptcy protection in September 2008.

The administrators have recovered 11.9 billion pounds in cash in the 24 months since the bank’s collapse and more than 350 trading counterparties have settled what they owed according to a report today on the PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP website.

‘We have achieved exceptional progress in the administration, dealing with some 29 billion pounds of securities and cash, having now returned almost 12 billion pounds of this to clients,’ Tony Lomas, the PwC partner on the Lehman administration, said in a statement. ‘Whilst there are still numerous major challenges to address, our actions to date have generated significant realizations for creditors which will be paid to them in due course.’ ”

Y U Luv Texts, H8 Calls [WSJ]
“For anyone who doubts that the texting revolution is upon us, consider this: The average 13- to 17-year-old sends and receives 3,339 texts a month—more than 100 per day, according to the Nielsen Co., the media research firm. Adults are catching up. People from ages 45 to 54 sent and received 323 texts a month in the second quarter of 2010, up 75% from a year ago, Nielsen says.”

Big Four can take losing a chunk of the audit market [Accountancy Age]
“Opening up a fifth of the FTSE-250 audit market would only hit the revenues of the Big Four by an average of £6m, according to Grant Thornton.

Welcoming the EC’s green paper on audit reform, which has made a raft of radical measures including mandatory rotation of audits, the firm said opening up the audit market would not hurt the Big Four.”

Mozilo and SEC in Deal Discussions [WSJ]
“Confidential talks begun in recent weeks appear to be moving toward a settlement in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s high-profile civil fraud case against former Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and two other former executives, people familiar with the matter said.

Late Thursday, a status conference on the case was ordered for Friday, a move that could signal a new development in the suit. If no agreement is reached, a jury trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in federal court here before Judge John Walter.

It is also possible, people familiar with the matter said, that only one or two of the defendants would reach a settlement before the trial. Attorneys for both sides are preparing for trial in the event it goes forward, said people familiar with the matter.”


33% of IRS’s 106,000 Employees Are Eligible for Retirement [TaxProf Blog]
Do they simply love their jobs that much?

A little perspective on those 18,000 XBRL errors [CPA Success]
“It’s not that bad.”

This XBRL Thing Appears to Be Really Happening

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

There’s no time to take a breather when it comes to XBRL implementations. New projects, regulations and initiatives are launched or introduced somewhere around the globe just about weekly, it appears. CFOs with firms that have yet to join the group won’t be out of the loop much longer.

XBRL, the acronym for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, means that the data contained within financial reports is constructed as individual elements, rather than blocks of text. Each piece of data comes wit and is linked to accounting definitions or rules. So, a number that makes up annual revenue has a different identity than a number that goes into payroll expense. The result? The data becomes “computer readable,” or interactive, so analysts, investors and regulators can easily compare one set of financial data to another.

Consider the following announcements and events:


Public company filings in the US: The last group of public companies that have yet to file XBRL financial statements with the SEC will start doing so for fiscal periods ending on or after June 15 of next year. These generally will be companies with market caps of less than $75 million or annual revenue of less than $50 million.

Domestic Banks: Earlier this month, Citibank announced that it was participating in a pilot involving the use of XBRL within dividend announcements issued by American Depositary Receipts, or ADRs. ADR dividend announcements were a logical starting point, because they’re concentrated among a relatively small number of issuers, and currently require lots of paper and re-keying of information, as this article in Earth Times points out.

US Legislation: True, a provision contained in early versions of the Dodd-Frank bill, and which would have required federal regulators to use a standard electronic format, like XBRL, when collecting info from the financial sector never made it to the final version. However, this summer Rep. Darrell Issa of California introduced a bill (H.R. 6038) that would amend Dodd-Frank to again include this provision. On July 30, it was referred to both the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Agriculture.

Along those lines, the House and Senate currently are hammering out legislation, the 2009 Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act (S.303), which would require federal agencies to post spending data online in a uniform fashion – most likely, XBRL, NextGov reports. Just as XBRL will allow for easier analysis of corporate finances, this move would enable taxpayers and regulators to more easily examine federal spending and contracts.

Credit Agencies: Just before Labor Day, the SEC announced that a list of XBRL tags had been published on its website, and that nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) would need to begin using them by November 1 of this year.
Mutual Funds: By January of next year, mutual funds will be required to provide the SEC with summary information on risk and return from their prospectuses in XBRL format.

While XBRL’s benefits for investors have been the focus of much attention, the XBRL-related initiatives underway should benefit corporate America, as well, judging from a study by two researchers at Fordham University. In “XBRL and its financial reporting benefits: Capital market evidence,” Christine Tan and John Shon of Fordham write, “the findings of this study suggest that firms that file using XBRL experience a reduction in information asymmetry.” Moreover, XBRL may help smaller firms attract an analyst following, they add.

Grant Thornton Survey Shows That CFOs Might Be Ignoring the SEC’s XBRL Deadline

It has been well established in these pages and elsewhere that the SEC has had its share of problems. Take your pick: 1) missing the biggest financial fraud in the history of the world 2) hiring an army of porn-addicted accountants and lawyers to protect our markets 3) waffling on IFRS 4) did we mention missing huge frauds?

To be fair, the Commission has been working hard to redeem itself by cracking down on dubious activity (from Goldman to Overstock), hiring more fraud experts and giving those tranny porn-obsessed employees a second chance.


Regardless of the turnaround-in-progress, CFOs in this country seem to have ceased taking the SEC seriously. Sure the 10-Ks and Qs still get filed but those were in place long before the wheels fell off.

In a recent survey, Grant Thornton found that, despite a SEC deadline for public companies to utilize eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), a fair amount of CFOs don’t seem all that worried about reporting their financial statements using the technology:

64 percent of public companies do not currently report financial results using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL); and of those, half have no plans to in the future even though the SEC mandated that public companies have to report their financials using Interactive Data by 2011.

“It’s concerning that almost a third of public companies still have no plan on using XBRL to report their financials despite the requirement that all public companies comply with XBRL filing requirements by mid-year 2011,” said Sean Denham, a partner in Grant Thornton’s Professional Standards Group and a member of the AICPA’s XBRL Task Force. “I foresee a lot of companies playing catch up as the 2011 SEC deadline approaches.”

Whether this lack of action can be attributed to defiance, fear of technology, or pure laziness is not explained but we wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the SEC has an outright mutiny on its hands.

A third of public companies have no plans to use XBRL – despite SEC mandate requiring XBRL use by 2011 [GT Press Release]
Also see: XBR-Lax [CFO Blog]

Job of the Day: Thomson Reuters Needs XBRL Accounting Consultants

Regardless of the sluggish pace of XBRL becoming the norm for SEC filers, Thomson Reuters has two positions available in the EDGARfilings division of Business WestLaw.

The Senior Consultant position requires a minimum of 7 years experience and the Junior Consultant position requires a minimum of 3 years experience.

Get more details on these positions, located in Houston, after the jump.


Company: Thomson Reuters

Title: XBRL Accounting Consultant; Senior XBRL Accounting Consultant

Location: Houston, TX

Description: EDGARfilings, a division of Westlaw Business, a Thomson Reuters Company, seeks an XBRL Accounting Consultant to work with a team of professionals to assist public companies file in XBRL using cutting-edge technology. This role will involve the creation of a customized taxonomy mapping document for a client’s financial statements, footnotes, and financial statement schedules by mapping each item to an element from the US GAAP Taxonomy (UGT) developed by XBRL US, the national consortium for XML business reporting standards

Responsibilities: Create a customized taxonomy document using a client’s recent filing with the SEC (10-Q or 10-K) as well as the US GAAP Taxonomy (UGT); consult with clients in a timely manner to determine and confirm which of their reported financial statement items appear to map directly to the UGT or which ones may require the creation of customized extension elements in order to create an XBRL instance document; use information provided by the SEC, in addition to whatever additional material is required, to understand evolving XBRL compliance requirements and address client questions related to their specific compliance requirements.

Qualifications: For Senior XBRL Accounting Consultant: Must have an Accounting or Finance Degree
CPA or Financial Reporting experience preferred with 7-10 years of experience

XBRL Accounting Consultant: Must have an Accounting or Finance Degree; CPA or Financial Reporting experience preferred with 3-5 years of experience

See both descriptions over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.

Grant Thornton’s Survey Elves Are Still at Work

Thumbnail image for GT_elves.jpgOur only point is that if it wasn’t for the nice little explanation of the survey on the website, we would have assumed they had a huge room filled with survey elves working day and night.
Anyway, today GT issued its latest press release of its “national survey of U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers”.


This installment shows that CFOs are homers when it comes to who sets their accounting rules (just so long as it isn’t the government). Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said that rules should be set by “A national independent board supervised by a national regulator” while only 24 percent want an international board. This despite the belief of some that Bob Herz is the most dangerous man in the country.
Only 3% thought a “national legislature” should set rules, which is a relief. Plus it probably gives Barney Frank a little vindication but definitely upsets Newt Gingrich.
The survey also states that the respondents are split on how to report debt on their balances sheets, either amortized cost or fair value, which may be why the FASB and IASB are talking contingency plan.
The last bit of interesting information is that CFOs are still scared shitless of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (“XBRL”) because 84% of those surveyed have no plans to start using it. If you assume most of the CFOs were in Big 4 at one time, then this isn’t so surprising.
The elves are off until spring next CFO survey will occur in the spring when another spectacular round of press releases will inform all of us what is on the minds of financial bigwigs.
Earlier: Grant Thornton Survey: Financial Statements Are Still Too Complex for the Average Shmo Investor
Also earlier: Grant Thornton Survey: 40% of CFOs Never Ever Ever Want IFRS to Replace GAAP