The SEC today ordered that corporations use the interactive data standard XBRL for regulatory filings to make it easier for investors to analyze the information. Most major U.S. companies will be required to submit their reports in XBRL beginning with fiscal reporting periods ending on Dec. 15, 2008. The XBRL standard helps to quickly identify specific sets of data in a large document and download them for easier analysis. Eventually, all publicly traded companies will have to use XBRL for their reporting.
It would transform financial disclosure from a 1930s form-based system to a truly 21st century model that taps the power of technology for the benefit of investors, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said at an open meeting on the topic today in Washington.