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An XBRL Meeting
2010-06-01 Editor: Views:

You may find useful learning that an XBRL meeting organized on 25 May 2010 by the European Commission gathered representatives of:

●     standard setters (XBRL International, XBRL Europe, IASCF)

●     supervisors (CESR, CEBS, CEIOPS)

●     business and financial professions (FEE, Business Europe)  

Participants stressed that the level of XBRL up-take in the World is significant , notably in the US, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

The interlocutors underlined the capacity of the standard to serve the needs of different reporting regimes (IFRS, US GAAP and other national GAAPs, Global Reporting Initiative GRI, Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, corporate actions, industry KPI etc.). They also noted the possibility to reuse XBRL reports by different administrations (tax, supervision, business registers, statistics, prudential purposes etc.). EU examples of successful XBRL projects have been outlined (in France, the US, Spain).

Several participants evoked the importance of costs involved in the development of XBRL based systems vis-à-vis existing budgets and tight deadlines. A need for a broader cost-benefit analysis has also been emphasized. This evaluation should include extended functionality, quality of data, quality of supervision, impact on competitiveness, and other externalities to national and sector projects.

Regarding the EU supervisory reform, participants noted a significant difference in approaches to reporting format harmonisation in thee pillars of financial supervision in the EU. In banking a relatively high level of harmonisation has been achieved by the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS). The industry and banking supervisors in more than 15 EU member states use a common XBRL taxonomy which in 2012 will be fully harmonized. The progress has been possible thanks to a collaborative framework (Eurofiling) which chose XBRL for the banking reporting format. In the securities supervision, the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) is working on a common position which will be presented in September 2010. The Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS), for its ongoing project, has chosen XML (for lower costs less complication and tight deadlines) but is not rejecting XBRL in the future.

Participants discussed also the capacity of XBRL to handle 27 divergent taxonomies for the national GAAPs. Its capacity to assure automatic translation between different languages and different accounting regimes was also discussed.

Concluding, the Commission reiterated the significant challenges facing EU financial players. It promised to reflect on the outcome of the meeting and communicate the results to the participants.

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