Friday, January 30, 2009
The SEC released its final rules on Interactive Data to Improve Financial Reporting. Here is the summary:
We are adopting rules requiring companies to provide financial statement information in a form that is intended to improve its usefulness to investors. In this format, financial statement information could be downloaded directly into spreadsheets, analyzed in a variety of ways using commercial off-the-shelf software, and used within investment models in other software formats. The rules will apply to public companies and foreign private issuers that prepare their financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP), and foreign private issuers that prepare their financial statements using International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Companies will provide their financial statements to the Commission and on their corporate Web sites in interactive data format using the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). The interactive data will be provided as an exhibit to periodic and current reports and registration statements, as well as to transition reports for a change in fiscal year. The new rules are intended not only to make financial information easier for investors to analyze, but also to assist in automating regulatory filings and business information processing. Interactive data has the potential to increase the speed, accuracy and usability of financial disclosure, and eventually reduce costs.