The eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), by its very definition is designed for future growth. The problem is the future seems to be taking a long time.  While you’re probably not going to get CPAs to learn the language (much less HTML), there will be a need for public companies to hire developers who do.

So, XBRL got roots in early 2000s as a way to automate 10K and related SEC reporting.  The challenge as I see it, is on 2 fronts.

  1. The mass of public company hard & soft data (numbers and text) and how to reasonably ‘tag’ this information in a uniform and systemic way.
  2. The learning curve of learning a new computer language and changing habits and schedules to accomodate for these changes.

I think this is why implementation (on a material scale) is taking so long. The benefits for users of financial data are much. If all the data is truly tagged, then analysis is made more accessible to regular folks (if the 3rd party bridges are attractive and consumer friendly – huge business opportunity by the way).

With all the technical talk and all the stakeholders, the end result of implementing XBRL should bring transparency and clarity to what a public company does. Sounds like a pipe dream, huh?

For more info on this, please check out the below article.