What should I do? 

Necessary preparations.

What are the next steps toward implementation of XBRL?

We believe that XBRL will have substantial effects on corporate reporting at all levels. This incudes:



Organizations that are interested in understanding those effects are probably asking what they should do next. Does the emergence of XBRL mean that CFOs should turn their organizations inside out, start new reporting projects, or reshape their investor relations platform? Not necessarily.


Monitoring XBRL and recognizing where its application could alter existing strategies should definitely be on the agenda. For some companies, early adoption of the technology will make a positive statement about the transparency of their operations. For others, the application of the technology will bring about business benefits that can’t be passed up, notwithstanding the relative immaturity of the supporting tools available today.


The time frame for a standard of this nature to take hold, meaning entire supply chains adopting it, is difficult to predict. How long did it take for bar codes to revolutionize retailing and logistics? Nearly ten years. How long did it take for Internet browsers and the HTML standard to turn information dissemination upside down? About four years. How long will it take for XBRL to become the corporate reporting platform? No one knows. But the pace of adoption is accelerating. And standards allow new business models, new efficiencies, and new specializations to flourish. Are you ready for these changes?


None of this needs to mean that companies must embark on new, expensive ERP systems implementations, or become experts in XBRL technology.


Over the next two to three years systems vendors will provide the platform for reporting system interoperability by simply building XBRL support into their environments. The standard will make a lot of business reporting processes simpler, and that should be true of projects to define and develop reporting processes as well.


KPMG Member firms' suggestions for discrete entities


Here are our suggestions on some next steps for CFOs:

  • Formally monitor developments in digital business reporting and develop a scenario analysis of the potential effects on your own operations. You can start by:
    • Identifying how many systems are used in producing your business information
    • Identifying the number, complexity, and quality of business processes that go into producing your business information
    • Measuring the number of person hours that go into producing key management information and comparing that figure with the amount of time that goes into analysis
    • Critically examining the relevance (the timeliness and predictive value) of key management information
  • Specifically discuss the potential effect of digital business reporting on external investor relations with your investor-relations staff and advisers.
  • Ensure that your IT staff is aware of the impact that digital business reporting will have on your activities and that they are getting up to speed on the technical aspects of the standard.
  • Consider the implementation of a pilot program inside your organization to help your business get up to speed.


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Here are our suggestions for buy-side and sell-side investment analyst firms:

  • Form a project team to analyze the potential impact of XBRL on your operations. This should include an examination of the:
    • Cost savings that can be realized from receiving information in XBRL format
    • Systems impact of receiving complete financial statements in a single format
    • New types of analytics that can be developed using XBRL data streams
    • The added value that research recipients will derive from receiving research reports in XBRL format
  • Conduct a pilot program using XBRL for analysis.
  • Discuss XBRL data feeds with key intermediaries as well as provider companies.


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Here is our suggestion for banks and regulators that collect large numbers of financial statements:

  • Develop a digital business reporting strategy for improving data collection and analysis and lowering the burden on the provider.


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Other suggestions:

  • Most of the debate, discussion, and development work on XBRL goes on inside the XBRL International consortium—generally at a furious pace. To access this information, it is necessary to join your local jurisdiction. See for more information.
  • KPMG member firms have professionals all over the globe who can assist clients with XBRL. Contact us for more information.


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