Published on Jun 13th, 2016 | Posted in Articles
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it will allow companies to voluntarily file structured financial statement data in a format known as Inline XBRL.  This initiative represents another step in the SEC’s continuing efforts to modernize and enhance its requirements to facilitate transparency of, and access to, companies’ disclosures.
The Commission’s rules require operating companies to structure financial statement data in their filings, including annual and quarterly reports, using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), which is a machine-readable format.  Companies currently are required to provide this XBRL structured data as an exhibit to these filings.  Since these requirements were first adopted, technology has evolved and now enables filers to integrate XBRL structured data within their HTML filings through a format known as Inline XBRL.
The Commission issued an order under the Securities Exchange Act to allow companies to file structured financial statement data required in their annual and quarterly reports that is integrated within their HTML filings through March 2020.  The Inline XBRL format has the potential to provide a number of benefits to companies and users of the information.  According to the Commission’s order, the format could decrease filing preparation costs, improve the quality of structured data, and, by improving data quality, increase the use of XBRL data by investors and other market participants. 
The experience and feedback received from the use of this option could facilitate the development of Inline XBRL preparation and analysis tools, provide investors and companies with opportunities to evaluate its usefulness, and help inform any future Commission rulemaking in this area. 
The EDGAR system has been upgraded to facilitate the use of Inline XBRL.  An updated EDGAR Filer Manual provides the technical requirements needed for filers to begin using Inline XBRL.