XBRL - A Tag India Needs

by Rajendra Chaudhary    Dec 07, 2005

If you file your accounts, reports, applications, make credit risk assessments, publish financial information, use information published by others or exchange information external to your organization, chances are you will feel the need for something like XBRL.

XBRL is a language for electronic communication of business and financial data, which provides benefits in preparation, analysis, and communication of business information.

It is an open standard, free of license fees, being developed by a non-profit making international consortium

Foremost proponents of XBRL and the industry’s leading experts gathered at an event organized jointly by the XBRL Pre-working Group - XBRL international consortium and Tally solutions in Mumbai, to discuss the key concepts and practices of the new technology.

Delivering the keynote address, Kurt Ramin, Chairman, XBRL International Steering Committee, U.S.A, emphasized on the several advantages the technology has to offer, not just in terms of improving communication between businesses and investors, markets and regulators but also added benefits such as better, more cost effective analysis and reporting of business information.

Another expert on the technology, Anil Jogani, President - strategic development and alliance group, Tally Solutions stressed on the need for developing taxonomies to facilitate the propagation of the technology and creating general awareness among those who can benefit from it.

XBRL taxonomy is a dictionary of data definitions that incorporates the mechanism for describing, naming and classifying items of the business information in a document. In other words it is a tag list that contains common vocabulary for terms that occur in XBRL compatible documents. Individual business concepts such as cash flow, depreciation, and share capital are represented in the taxonomy.

Different taxonomies are required for different reporting purposes, so different organizations including regulator specific industries or even companies may require taxonomies to cover their own business reporting needs.

Speaking to CXOToday, Jogani said, “It will take some time before XBRL is adopted as ‘the’ language for Business reporting. The key to making it a possibility is the creation of XBRL taxonomy, which will require support from financial and accounting regulatory bodies such as SEBI, RBI, BSE, NSE etc, as well as IT companies. It is important that government bodies along with regulators of financial reporting actively participate in formulating guidelines for XBRL to facilitate its development.”

XBRL International, a non-profit organization manages all the international development of XBRL and local organization from different countries called Jurisdiction work with XBRL International. There is no jurisdiction in India as yet when it comes to XBRL.

However companies like Tally solutions, Satyam Computers and PricewaterhouseCoopers have been working with XBRL for some time now and are members of the XBRL International Consortium.