XBRL US forms Working Group on Standards to Help Small Business

Press Release

XBRL US, the non-profit consortium dedicated to improving business reporting, announced the formation of the XBRL CET (Construction, Energy, Transportation) Working group.

The mission of the working group is to implement the XBRL data standard to reduce costs and streamline processing in financial data transaction within multiple industries.

The initial focus of the working group will be on surety bond processing for contractors, which today requires significant manual rekeying, favoring large contractors over small because of the lower return on small contractors projects. Transforming the process through the XBRL standard would make data immediately computer-readable, more timely and cheaper to manage, effectively creating a level playing field for large and small businesses.

The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, a bill signed into law on May 9, 2014, now mandates the use of structured data by government agencies for all program expenditures. The Act also calls for a study to determine if the contractors that work with federal agencies should also report in structured data format.

“With the DATA Act, every public agency, and the contractors that work with them, will need to develop a strategy for how they will comply by 2017, which creates a fork in the road,” said K. Dixon Wright, a surety executive who has been working with California State University Chico (CSU Chico) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) to foster market collaboration and development of open standards for improving access to opportunities to small business.

For full access to the article, please click here

By : Securex /November 12, 2014 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, Public Company Accounting, XBRL Blogs /0 Comment Read More

SEC hits record enforcement actions in fiscal 2014

Publisher: Investment News
Author: Joyce Hanson

The SEC reported that new investigative methods and innovative technologies have led to a banner year for enforcement actions, leading to a record number of actions taken and fines levied for 2014.

The SEC in fiscal 2014, which ended Sept 30, filed a record 755 enforcement actions and obtained orders totaling $4.16 billion in disgorgement and penalties, according to preliminary figures.

The enforcement actions covered a broad spectrum of misconduct, and involved the first-ever cases of “pay to play” (payments made to state and local officials by advisors to gain government business) and the market access rule (procedures to limit the risk of offering market access to customers) according to the statement.

Jay Baris, a partner at law firm Morrison & Foerster, questioned the agency’s zeal in pursuing enforcement actions and its boast of achieving record numbers. Mr. Baris pointed to remarks from SEC commissioner Michael Piwowar, who, in a speech before the Securities Enforcement Forum in Washington on Oct. 14, decried the agency’s fast pace of enforcement actions as the laws and rules that govern the securities industry become increasingly complex.

For full access to the rest of Mr. Piwowar’s comments, please click here.

By : Securex /October 23, 2014 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, SEC News and Public Statement, Securites Law /0 Comment Read More

SEC Issues Important XBRL Alert Regarding use of Custom Tags

The SEC’s Division of Economic and Risk Analysis completed their assessment of the quality of XBRL exhibits submitted by issuers complying with the XBRL Rule requirement.

The goal of the assessment was to help define a baseline of filer behavior in regards to filer’s tagging of financial statements in their electronic filings. This observation report details the use of custom tags to describe elements in financial statements.

The assessment noted that there was a steady decline in custom tag use by large accelerated filers during the initial phase-in period and afterwards. This observation was consistent with improvements to the taxonomy during this period. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, SEC staff did not see this same trend among smaller filers. The report makes the assertion that continued high custom tag rate use among small filers is due to continued development and growth in the market for filer software and services, each varying in levels of functionality and ease of use.

One of the more compelling points in this observation report was the observation of smaller filers using obvious selection error and unjustified use of custom tags instead of selecting an available standard tag. This has a negative effect on the quality of XBRL filings as well as the value of XBRL tagging in the context of financial reporting and meeting compliance requirements.

For full access to the observation report, please click here.

By : Securex /July 21, 2014 /Compliance, CORRESP, EDGAR XBRL, SEC News and Public Statement, Securites Law, XBRL Blogs /0 Comment Read More

SEC Sends Warning Letter to Public Companies Regarding XBRL Calculation Linkbase Files

The SEC has been silent for years  when it came to the quality of XBRL data.

Earlier this month, long overdue guidance began with a sample letter being sent to certain Issuers. The Division of Corporation Finance sent the following sample letter to certain public companies regarding their reports on Form 10-Q and the XBRL calculation requirement to include calculation relationships. In the letter, the SEC clearly states that acceptance of a filing by EDGAR does not mean that your filing is complete or in compliance with Commission requirements.

Do you have questions about the quality of your XBRL? Contact us to learn how our team of XBRL professionals can assist you. SecureXBRL is a professional services team staffed by U.S. based CPA’s and accounting professionals that work with you to ensure your XBRL documents are high quality and meet the SEC’s XBRL mandate.

By : Securex /July 21, 2014 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, SEC News and Public Statement, XBRL Blogs /0 Comment Read More

SEC’s Latest XBRL Action Explained

Publisher: FEI Daily
Author: Edith Orenstein

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently issued a ‘Dear CFO’ Letter earlier this month, addressed to “certain public companies regarding their reports on Form 10-Q and the XBRL requirement to include calculation relationships.”

XBRL-US, an organization that has leaded the push towards digitization of financial information, assisted the SEC in translating their requirements into plain English, and provided context for those requirements.

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Campbell Pryde, President of XBRL-US: it details the issue of calculation relationship information and how it causes problems for XBRL quality in SEC filings.

Campbell Pryde: Today, if you’re looking at a financial statement, just the regular, good old, paper-based, or HTML financial statement, the way that the data’s presented in it, it presents a number of calculations. For example, in a paper presentation, let’s say you have cash, accounts receivable, inventory and you have a line under the last one, a total of all three, and you have total current assets.

Once you take this data, and then you put it into XBRL, it becomes atomized, so you’re going to have four distinct pieces of data there: total current assets, inventory, accounts receivable, and cash. But once you’ve tagged that data for purposes of XBRL, the information is lost to indicate that the first three things add up to current assets, unless you include, what is referred to in XBRL, as the ‘calculation relationship.’

In the paper filing, the calculation of the three items adding to the fourth, is implied in the paper filing by the manner of presentation, i.e. by a single line after the bottom item, or a double underline under a total.

To capture that in XBRL, e.g., to explain that cash, plus accounts receivable, plus inventory, is equal to total current assets, or that ‘this plus this plus this plus this equals that,’ is called the calculation relationship.

FEI Daily: Why do you believe the SEC may be focusing on this now? How prevalent do you think this problem of companies failing to provide calculation relationship information is in their XBRL filings?

Pryde: The problem has been, someone has reported these full facts in their HTML filing, it’s kind of clear the way it’s presented, that those three things add to this total. But when the file was filed, they just haven’t put in the fact that those three things add to the total current assets. So that’s what they’re talking about there.

FEI Daily: Is there a way to almost force the total in a sense just like you can on, say on an Excel spreadsheet, if you can force the total in, rather than thru a formula?
Campbell Pryde: Yes.  The problem is that companies just do not define what the calculation is. The existing SEC rules are here: you need to put this formula, or in more general terms, calculations relationships, in your XBRL filings.

FEI Daily: And is this one of the errors that you find using the consistency suite?

Pryde: Yes. We check for things that we would expect a calculation to exist for. For example, If you have current assets, we’d expect you to define a calculation for it. If you have net income, you should be putting a formula in for how you got to net income. Then there are going to be other elements that you are not going to have a formula for, one-off things, that you are not going to have a calculation or formula for, like your discount rate on pensions.

The other thing we see is where the calculation doesn’t work, the total is inconsistent with the formula, so they leave the calculation out. And that usually happens when companies have entered the value incorrectly.

That’s why the SEC wants people to put the calculation relationship in, because it helps to double check the filing.

For full access to the rest of the interview, please click here.

By : Securex /July 21, 2014 /Compliance, EDGAR filing conversion tips and shortcuts, EDGAR XBRL, SEC News and Public Statement, XBRL Blogs /0 Comment Read More

Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act gains traction in the House of Representatives.

Congressman Hurt’s proposed “Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act” is moving through the House of Representatives today and should be submitted for markup tomorrow as the proposed bill begins to gain some traction.

The purpose of the bill is to “exempt smaller public companies from requirements relating to the use of XBRL for periodic reporting to the SEC, and for other purposes.” The proposed bill specifically exempts: emerging growth companies and issuers with total annual gross revenues of less than $250,000,000. The bill also calls for an analysis of the cost and benefits to issuers who are categorized as an issuer with total annual gross revenues of less than $250 million. The proposed analysis must be compiled into a report given to Congress that also contains: the progress in implementing XBRL reporting within the SEC, the use of XBRL data by Commission officials, the use of XBRL data by investors, and any additional information the Commission deems relevant for increasing transparency, decreasing costs, and increasing efficiency of regulatory filings with the Commission. For full access to the language and content of the proposed, please click here.

What are your opinions on the Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act? Do you believe it will have a significant impact on public company reporting if it is implemented? Please give us your feedback in the comment section below.

By : Securex /March 13, 2014 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, Public Company Accounting, SEC News and Public Statement, Securites Law, XBRL Blogs /0 Comment Read More

U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy now available

The FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) announced the availability of the 2014 U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy pending final acceptance by the U.S. SEC.

The FASB is responsible for the ongoing development and maintenance of the taxonomy applicable to public issuers registered with the SEC. The 2014 taxonomy contains updates for accounting standards and other improvements to the 2013 taxonomy currently being used by SEC issuers. Some of the proposed improvements include: allowing users of the taxonomy to provide feedback on the updates and to provide SEC filers, service providers, software vendors, and other interested parties the opportunity to become familiar with and incorporate new elements names for their filings.

The U.S. GAAP 2014 taxonomy is available here.

Do you believe that the proposed improvements of allowing user feedback will ultimately improve the quality of XBRL filings in the near future? Please give your feedback in the comment section below.

By : Securex /December 20, 2013 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, Securites Law, XBRL Blogs /1 Comment Read More

Accountancy Reform: Shining a light on the auditors

The Economist

In the wake of the most recent financial meltdown, calls to reform accounting have grown particularly loud in both America and the European Union. Legislators are expected to introduce new rules with the intent to enhance auditors’ independence.

In America, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board outlined three policies it expects to implement by the end of the next year. The first policy focuses on making audit reports more useful by requiring a section that focuses on “critical audit matters”, which is defined as how the audited business has valued its intangible assets. The second policy focuses on cutting the share of an audit that accounting firms can outsource without disclosure from 20% to 5%. The final proposed reform policy would identify the lead partner responsible for each audit. The final policy is the most controversial due to the implications of a lead partner putting their reputation on the line for every audit they oversee.

For more details on the proposed policy reforms and its potential implications, please click here. Let us know your opinion on the proposed accounting policy reforms in the comment box below.

By : Securex /December 07, 2013 /EDGAR XBRL, Public Company Accounting, Securites Law /1 Comment Read More

Companies Unfazed as XBRL Liability Protection Fades

Published in Compliance Week
Author: Tammy Whitehouse

The 2013 XBRL survey conducted by the Financial Executives Research Foundation showed that 58 percent of 402 companies that participated took no new action to change anything about their XBRL process even as their limited liability expired.

The SEC gave companies two years’ worth of modified liability to allow them to learn how to use XBRL. For the majority of companies, XBRL liability protection has expired, and for the rest, it will expire entirely for all companies by October 2014.

Overall, the results showed that more than 50% of all filers, regardless of filer size, took no new measures. Of those that took proactive measures, the majority said they added process documentation to beef up their XBRL process.

On the other hand, the SEC has pointed out persistent routine errors in XBRL filings and called on companies to correct them, however the SEC has also been criticized for doing too little to clean up XBRL filings. For access to the full article, please click here.

What’s your opinion on the future of XBRL as limited liability protection fades? Let us know your opinion through your comments.

By : Securex /December 05, 2013 /EDGAR XBRL, XBRL Blogs /1 Comment Read More

Congress Stalls XBRL Exemption

Publisher: Compliance Week
Author: Tammy Whitehouse

In Congress, a House subcommittee that was considering an XBRL exemption for smaller reporting companies has decided to put the discussion on hold while they try and broker a deal to make XBRL less burdensome and more useful.

Originally, the draft bill would direct the SEC to exempt companies of $1 billion in revenue or lower from the requirement to submit financial statements in XBRL. Companies that fall under $1 billion in revenue or lower makes up almost 80% of all public companies and the draft bill would have a large effect on the XBRL requirement mandated by the SEC.

Instead, the House subcommittee is looking to narrow the exemption significantly and has suggested that the new draft bill will exempt “emerging growth companies” as defined by the JOBS Act. For more information on how the SEC plans to address potential XBRL exemptions and quality concerns, click here to access the full article

By : Securex /November 11, 2013 /Compliance, EDGAR XBRL, SEC News and Public Statement, XBRL Blogs /1 Comment Read More