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Accounting Horizons



  1. R. David Plumlee
  2. Marlene A. Plumlee




    Since 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission _SEC_ has taken
    steps toward requiring eXtensible Business Reporting Language _XBRL_ to be used in
    its filings, including a voluntary filing program. “Tagging” financial information using
    XBRL creates documents that are computer readable and searchable. Once XBRL is
    required, investors are likely to demand assurance on the tagging process. The Public
    Company Accounting Oversight Board _PCAOB_ has issued guidance on attest engagements
    regarding XBRL financial information furnished under the SEC’s current
    voluntary filer program, which relies on the auditor “agreeing” a paper version of the
    XBRL-related documents to the information in the official EDGAR filing. This approach
    may be adequate for the current paper-oriented reporting paradigm. However, once
    filing in XBRL becomes required, the power of XBRL to allow individual financial datum
    to be extracted from the SEC’s financial database will be realized. This “data-centric”
    idea is a crucial extension of the traditional reporting paradigm that will alter the way
    financial and nonfinancial data can be used. The current audit focus on reconciling only
    the XBRL output with the paper submissions does not address this paradigm shift. In
    this commentary, we discuss the SEC’s efforts to incorporate XBRL into its filing process
    and provide a brief overview of the technical aspects of XBRL. The commentary’s
    principal focus is on several important questions that assurance guidance must address
    in a data-centric reporting environment, such as, what constitutes an error, or what
    does materiality mean when individual pieces of financial data will be used outside the
    context of the financial statements? It also describes some XBRL-related areas where
    academic research can help guide XBRL-document assurance efforts.


    Vol 22, Nomor 03, Tahun 2008


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