On XBRL and the footnotes…

October 5, 2009

I was supposed to be at this XBRL conference that is taking place today and tomorrow in Arlington, Va. but unfortunately came down with a nasty cold and decided to participate virtually via Twitter and by dialing in to the sessions that seem particularly interesting, which is how I’ll be participating in a panel that I was set to appear on later today at 4:30 est called “Finding the Nuggets in Financial Reports”. Here’s a description of the panel:

As corporate investor-relations sites, social media and financial information start adding XBRL and other data standards into the mix, we—ll take a step back and discuss what the users of this information want to do with it. What does having access to financial content as XBRL mean in practice for investors; just what are investors doing with the content they have today, and what do they expect to do in the future? What do investors/consumers expect from a fusion of cloud computing, search engines and the Semantic Web?

Lots of interesting questions, but at least so far in my mind, not a lot of good answers. I think that there’s general agreement that XBRL can be very helpful in crunching numbers, but as footnoted readers know, the numbers only tell a piece of the story. To really understand what’s going on, you need to read the footnotes.

So I’d be interested in knowing what footnoted readers think about XBRL. Is it going to change the world as you know it or is it much ado about nothing? You can either post a comment below to get the conversation going or send a note to me here.

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