XBRL Viewers help die users of a XBRL document to view it. The users can drill down to the related taxonomies for detail information. Some of the software has in-built provision to make further analysis from the available data. Data viewed from XBRL Viewers can be transferred to Excel or other databases. The XBRL file viewer tool is a simple standalone application that allows you to review every minor detail in an XBRL instance document' (www.reportingstandard.com).
XBRL Viewers are generally available free of cost. SEC has announced that the source code for the Interactive Financial Report Viewer that enables investors to analyze companies' interactive data filings is now available via its Web site for free use by the market.
Advantages of XBRL Reporting
XBRL reporting system has revolutionized financial reporting, and also use of those reports by the Stakeholders. Advantages of it can be summarized as follows;
1. Interactive data will enable investors and other external users to make more productive decisions. Instead of wading through incomprehensible financial disclosure, investors can have access to meaningful information in a form which is more suitable for them.
2. From the accountants' point of view, it will enable them to prepare error-free accounts. Since accounting data are mapped into some recognized taxonomy, all errors arc to be sorted out at this stage.
3. Auditors can detect errors in tagging financial data with the help of available application software. Adoption of XBRL will significantly lower both internal and external audit costs.
4. Objectives of any taxation system are accuracy and traceability on the basis of calculation, and compliance of rules and regulations. The accuracy will be provided by unambiguous data point definition as well as well-defined sources of the information. Since most of the values used to calculate and report taxes are, in turn, derived, capabilities of the compliance system to trace such values all the way to the original or atomic information elements is essential. Finally, if the business rules and formulas used to assess taxes are documented, coded and understood, it is relatively straightforward to predict tax liability where and when a business transaction is taking place (www.ezinearticles.com/ XBRI.-in-Tax-Compliance).
5. Real time analysis will help internal management to prepare reports for endless variety of internal management decisions.
Thus, it will bring paradigm shift in the world of financial reporting.
XBRL Adoption by India
The Reserve Bank of India is going to launch the Basel II reporting system using XBRL through the existing Online Returns Filing System (ORFS). A Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri V Leeladhar, Deputy Governor for the purpose (www.rlji.org.in).
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India constituted a Group on XBRL in January 2007, under the chairmanship of the President, ICAI. While building the taxonomy, three broad reporting categories have been considered, taking into account the different reporting requirements. These are
1. Commercial and industrial
2. Banking companies
3. Non-banking finance companies
Recently, the Group has finalized the draft general purpose financial reporting XBRL taxonomy for commercial and industrial companies and also for banking companies. These drafts cover the financial statements, viz., Balance Sheet, Statement of Profit and Loss, and Cash Flow Statement and the related non-financial information. The draft taxonomy has been developed conforming to Indian Accounting Standards and1 Company Law while adapting the architectural features of the IFRS general purpose taxonomy 2006. The ICAI has already issued Exposure Drafts for both types of companies. India has also launched XBRL India in collaboration with XBRL International, its Web site address being www.xbrl.org/in/ (www.icai.org).
It has already been proved that XBRL is versatile and very much useful for financial and business analysis to the investors and other stakeholders. Based on its success story, all the countries are coming forward to adopt this reporting language. Many countries have made its application mandatory, and others are in the pipeline. In the next few years it is going to be adopted by all the countries. Though India has made a late entry, still she is moving at a faster rate to catch up with others. The accountants in India will have to make ourselves ready to take the challenges of introduction of XBRL in India.