XBRL International Walks Us Through Its Latest Technical Updates

XBRL International’s Technical Director, Paul Warren, presented at the recent 30th XBRL Europe Conference in Paris last month, giving us a glimpse at the current technical activities within the organization.

The Calculations 1.1 Specification

There are several considerations when applying XBRL calculations and the XBRL Calculations specification identifies the rules governing their use. There are limitations in the specification that may leave filers unsure as to whether they are applying calculations correctly. However, a lot of the concerns can be addressed by a better understanding of the rules governing XBRL calculations, especially for contexts.

For updates, a lot of Paul’s presentation revolved around the upcoming Calculations 1.1 specification that provides a minor improvement to the ”summation-item” mechanism defined in the XBRL v2.1 specification. It provides improved handling of duplicate and rounded facts that are especially relevant to iXBRL reporting.

It also includes updates to the definition of calculation functionality to leverage the semantic definitions provided by the Open Information Model (OIM) rather than the syntactic XML definitions of XBRL v2.1. Currently, in Candidate Recommendation status, the Calculation 1.1 specification is expected to reach the Proposed and Final Recommendation status in the next few months.

The Open Information Model (OIM) Initiative

Providing a syntax-independent model for XBRL data, the OIM enables its reliable transformation into other forms. The work product contains mappings to CSV and JSON formats for XBRL data. While it aims to provide a simplified model for XBRL, everything that is possible in the XML-based syntax for XBRL is not supported by the OIM model.

Along with the supplementary xBRL-JSON and xBRL-CSV format, the OIM Report Model was finalized last year and is intended to be the foundation of all future XBRL-related pursuits. To explain how OIM definitions can be leveraged in the real world, the presentation included a demonstration showing how the creation of filing manuals, or the project-specific rules detailing how filings must be prepared in a specific importing environment, can be greatly simplified.

Migration paths are documented by the OIM Working Group where possible for users of such features, and as part of it, there is a Filing Indicators specification providing an OIM-compatible alternative representation for it that are in use in several XBRL implementations.

The XBRL Formula Specification

The XBRL Formula 1.0 specification is a modular specification for the definition of XBRL rules. It provides a standard mechanism for defining rules in a taxonomy that can be applied against instance documents.

Multiple activities are currently underway to make the XBRL Formula specification work more efficiently with the xBRL-JSON and xBRL-CSV report formats by modernizing it. These include enhancements that can leverage the tabular nature of xBRL-CSV along with getting rid of XML report document dependencies.

XBRL formula rules can be used to define validation rules for XBRL reports and can increase their accuracy and quality. XBRL formula rules provide integral features to work effortlessly with XBRL data and can address XBRL-specific requirements such as querying taxonomy relationships, traversing XBRL dimensional models, and selecting facts based on XBRL aspects.

Development of XII Specifications

Volunteer members participate in working groups to develop XBRL International’s specifications for XBRL. These working groups are, however, only open to XBRL International members.

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