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Investor Relations Magazine, March 23, 2007 article


SEC hosts another 'show-and-tell' on XBRL

Mar 23, 2007

Cox says no audit on tagging process

WASHINGTON, DC -- Most of the focus in the SEC's push for XBRL adoption has been on its importance for investors. Yet corporation finance chief John White this week said the tools are as helpful for filers since they lead to 'higher quality, more consistent and easier to understand disclosure.'

As an example in his 'show-and-tell' demonstration at the SEC's third XBRL roundtable, White said the tagging language would help disclosure teams see 'very quickly' if there are inconsistencies in the reporting of items like revenue which need to appear in multiple sections throughout a filing.

'[XBRL] is a tool for senior management, as they get ready for the earnings conference call, they'll be able to look at the filings and comparisons while there's still time to make revisions, corrections and clarifications before they file,' he said.

He said wide adoption of XBRL would also help companies on sensitive areas like stock option grants, since they could see their own past disclosures on grants and also 'what other companies are saying, when, where and what they're disclosing.'

Perhaps taking some of the pressure off companies making XBRL conversions, chairman Christopher Cox said the agency wouldn't be auditing the process to tag data. There should be 'no attest on tagging,' he said. 'It's not destined to be part of the internal controls process.'

Comcast's chief accounting officer Larry Salva provided his own testimonial on the ease of his experience in the XBRL voluntary filer program. 'External costs might be less than $5,000 for first-year filings,' he said. 'The time commitment probably was 150 hours to get the first filing done.'

Archived audio and video webcasts of the roundtable are accessible at

By Anna Snider


© copyright 2007 Cross Border Ltd




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