Comment 2 on – SEC Requiring XBRL To Help All Investors Learn Firms’ ABCs Financial Data Easier To Use The Technology Is Putting Complex Financial Reports Into An Interactive Format

on the posting by a reader: We respect the opinions of our readers who weigh in on news or commentary published here. We invite comments to help readers put stories (and opinions) in context, and to put in public view numerous points-of-view on an issue or topic. The “anonymous commentor” has weighed in on XBRL as reported by IBD and published here. We think a commentary on the comments posted is in order.

 

A careful reading of the Investor’s Business Daily feature shows that opinions stated in the piece are in “quotes” and the person being quoted is clearly identified — for example:

 

Microsoft is one of the companies already using XBRL. [stated fact]

 

It’s hard to find what’s relevant and useful among all the data the SEC collects, says Michael Ohata, Microsoft’s senior director of business reporting. [quote, clearly identifying the speaker]

 

“XBRL enables you to put information into the hands of people about their investment choices,” Ohata said. [further stated opinion]

 

“It gives investors and company management insights about how their companies are performing,” he said. [his experience?]

 

Microsoft is using the new format to improve its investment strategy, Ohata says. [quote, stating facts]

 

Leading thinkers and players in XBRL implementation were sought out. As you read this story (published originally in IBD, by J. Bonasia), and then the anonymous writer’s opinions, consider this:

 

The market cap of companies now voluntarily filing XBRL (financial reports) exceeds $2 trillion. There are 55 companies participating in this ambitious test. Edgar(R) Online reports it has 15,000 reports and 30 million datapoints in its database — and can process a company’s report for investors etc. to use in 15 minutes — and all current period reports in under 6 hours. SEC has $55 million invested in the interactive data project. This is an important initiative in financial reporting that is building momentum — we’ll watch what we publish as being “presumptuous” so that we don’t take folks down the wrong road on interactive reporting. Our thinking is that this is an important development executives should pay close attention to.

 

We’re not sure who Anonymous Commentor refers to in his sign off —

 

“Unless you’re going to mark this article as an “editorial”, you should be a little less loose with facts and give an objective view.”

 

The article was marked by your editors as coming from a published feature story in Investor’s Business Daily, where facts were stated as facts (yes, this can be a subjective thing with writers) and quotes were clearly set off (as opinions). The purpose of Accountability Central is to inform, educate and broaden the base of the debate.

 

Your thoughts on all this most welcome!

 

Hank Boerner
Editor – AC

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