eXtensible Business Reporting Language - XBRL

Definition of 'eXtensible Business Reporting Language - XBRL'


A standard that was developed to improve the way in which financial data is communicated, making it easier to compile and share this data. XBRL is a type of XML (extensible markup language), which is a specification that is used for organizing and defining data. XBRL uses tags to identify each piece of financial data, which then allows it to be used programmatically by an XBRL-compatible program.

Investopedia explains 'eXtensible Business Reporting Language - XBRL'


Imagine that you are looking at a company's financial statements online on the company's website. Traditionally, these statements would simply be in plain text. If you wanted to put these numbers into a spreadsheet file to run analysis on the statements, you would have to either manually type or copy and paste each account and corresponding number into the spreadsheet. However, if the data on the site was available in XBRL, you could simply convert this data from the website into a spreadsheet program (usually instantaneously) that is XBRL compatible.

Due to the standardized nature of the identification tags and the language itself, financial data from one country, which has set accounting standards such as U.S. GAAP, can be easily compiled into the accepted accounting standards of another country even if they are drastically different. The reporting of financial data in XBRL is not required by all companies, but because it has become prevalent, it has been suggested that it won't be long before all companies will have to report their financial data in this language.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Oil Reserves

    An estimate of the amount of crude oil located in a particular economic region. Oil reserves must have the potential of being extracted under current technological constraints. For example, if oil pools are located at unattainable depths, they would not be considered part of the nation's reserves.
  2. Joint Venture - JV

    A business arrangement in which two or more parties agree to pool their resources for the purpose of accomplishing a specific task. This task can be a new project or any other business activity. In a joint venture (JV), each of the participants is responsible for profits, losses and costs associated with it.
  3. Aggregate Risk

    The exposure of a bank, financial institution, or any type of major investor to foreign exchange contracts - both spot and forward - from a single counterparty or client. Aggregate risk in forex may also be defined as the total exposure of an entity to changes or fluctuations in currency rates.
  4. Organic Growth

    The growth rate that a company can achieve by increasing output and enhancing sales. This excludes any profits or growth acquired from takeovers, acquisitions or mergers. Takeovers, acquisitions and mergers do not bring about profits generated within the company, and are therefore not considered organic.
  5. Family Limited Partnership - FLP

    A type of partnership designed to centralize family business or investment accounts. FLPs pool together a family's assets into one single family-owned business partnership that family members own shares of. FLPs are frequently used as an estate tax minimization strategy, as shares in the FLP can be transferred between generations, at lower taxation rates than would be applied to the partnership's holdings.
  6. Yield Burning

    The illegal practice of underwriters marking up the prices on bonds for the purpose of reducing the yield on the bond. This practice, referred to as "burning the yield," is done after the bond is placed in escrow for an investor who is awaiting repayment.
Trading Center