IDEA Filing Agent

"After 75 years of document-based static financial reporting, whether in paper documents or in electronic equivalents, it is exciting to see the SEC poised to cross the 'data threshold' and help investors receive financial information that is dynamic, usable and ready to go as they make their investment decisions. And when the investor wins, so does the public company, fund, or other filer who simultaneously benefits from greater transparency and trust in our markets. By tapping the power of interactive data to tear down barriers to quick and meaningful investment information, markets can become fairer and more efficient while investors can possess far better quality data than was ever possible before." - David Blaszkowsky, Director of the SEC's Office of Interactive Disclosure.

IDEA for Filers

Starting with financial data of Q4 2008, to be filed in Q1 2009, the top 500 public companies by market cap will have to file their documents in XBRL. The other public companies will follow 6-18 months later. Currently three dozen companies, representing more than $1 trillian USD of market value have agreed to voluntarily submit their annual, quarterly and other reports with interactive data, is your company one of them?

The SEC’s proposed schedule would require companies using U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles with a worldwide public float over $5 billion (approximately the 500 largest companies) to make financial disclosures using interactive data formatted in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for fiscal periods ending in late 2008. If adopted, the first interactive data provided under the new rules would be made public in early 2009. The remaining companies using U.S. GAAP would provide this disclosure over the following two years. Companies using International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board would provide this disclosure for fiscal periods ending in late 2010. The disclosure would be provided as additional exhibits to annual and quarterly reports and registration statements. Companies also would be required to post this information on their websites. 

The required tagged disclosures would include companies’ primary financial statements, notes, and financial statement schedules. Initially, companies would tag notes and schedules as blocks of text, and a year later, they would provide tags for the details within the notes and schedules.

Companies filing under the proposed rule that use U.S. GAAP will use upgraded data tags issued April 28, 2008, by XBRL US, Inc. that were developed based on U.S. GAAP and on the review of hundreds of actual SEC filings. The SEC’s EDGAR system will accept test filings using a February 11 version of these tags later this month, with the final April 28 version of the tags becoming usable in June. In addition, an interim system is expected to be announced shortly that will enable companies immediately to provide interactive data submissions to the SEC using the April 28 version of the tags.

The SEC has had an interactive data pilot program for three years, beginning in 2005. It covered the financial statements of corporate filers. In addition, the SEC began an interactive data filing program for mutual fund risk return information in August 2007. Also last year, the SEC created an online database tagging executive compensation data for 500 large companies. Filers seeking a head start on data tagging are invited to formally join these SEC voluntary filing programs or informally practice with the new data tags.

More information is available at http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/xbrl.shtml

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  • The investor protection agency said interactive filings will start being available late this year through IDEA, which will eventually replace the EDGAR system after running in parallel for about three

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