The year in review – XBRL in 2016

2016 has been a year full of new developments and implementations of structured data in the regulatory compliance arena. A lot happened in the area of digital reporting and structured data, and many jurisdictions and authorities embraced XBRL as a standard.

Continuing with what has become an annual tradition, here is our 2016 round-up of major developments in the world of XBRL:

1. Some specifications gained ‘recommendation’ status:

a. Taxonomy Packages got the status of final recommendation in April 2016. This specification lists and provides the syntax for providing information (referred to as metadata) about a taxonomy. Taxonomy version, release date, description, entry points, and global location of taxonomy files are some examples of metadata to be specified for every taxonomy. This specification will make it easier for end users as well as software providers to work with XBRL taxonomies.

b. Assertion Severity was published as the final recommendation in September 2016. Using this specification, taxonomy authors can now classify the nature of business validation rules as ERROR, WARNING, or OK in the taxonomy itself.  Earlier, this had to be managed at the application level. With this classification coming into the taxonomy itself, we should start seeing standard practices in XBRL implementations.

2. Specifications under development

a. Open Information Model (OIM) was published as a Public Working draft (PWD) in January 2016. The OIM provides a framework for transforming XBRL data into other formats, making it easier to consume. Along with the model, mapping of XBRL to JSON and XML formats is available for the community to review and evaluate for implementation. The XBRL to CSV representation utilizing the W3C model is under development.

b. The specification Extensible Enumeration 1.1 moved into the Candidate Recommendation stage in November 2016. The earlier version 1.0 specification approved the reuse of domain members as the finite list allowed for primary reporting concepts and the rendering of enumerated values in multiple languages. The new version handles the business requirement of reporting more than one value from a predefined list.

For specifications under development, the views, and opinions of users are very important. We encourage you to understand these specifications in detail and provide your feedback. Constructive feedback helps specifications move forward on their journey to becoming recommendations in the coming year. Please get in touch with us if you have any queries.

Apart from these technical updates, there were a couple of other structured data initiatives by the XII that are commendable. The initiatives will provide far-reaching value to data users and benefit the XBRL community at large.

A. Guidance section on XII website

The XII website has now a dedicated section for guidance on approaches available for implementing XBRL and commonly followed global practices. The topics in the guidance section are grouped according to the various stages in any XBRL implementation life-cycle i.e. Planning, Development, Maintenance, and Consumption. The section is quite valuable in helping users with new specifications, taxonomy architecture considerations, case studies, etc.

B. XBRL Glossary

XBRL has been there for a while now and so have the glossaries for XBRL jargon. This XBRL Glossary is aimed at defining commonly used terms for business and non-technical users.  The XBRL Glossary is also a part of the guidance section mentioned above.

C. Taxonomy Registry

It is an online repository for XBRL taxonomies. Any valid XBRL taxonomy can be listed here provided it has a Taxonomy Package file included and the taxonomy is available in the public domain. It is recommended that taxonomy authors and publishers get their taxonomies listed in the XBRL Taxonomy Registry for widespread use.

D. Special purpose groups

Two special purpose groups were set up this year. Entity Specific Disclosure Task Force (ESDTF) was established to analyze and recommend best practices around the handling of disclosures specific to reporting entities and hence vary per entity. Secondly, a joint working group with Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) was created to evaluate and provide recommendations on using the LEI framework within XBRL documents.

Besides this, XII has also appreciated newer use cases of XBRL such as that of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). XII recognized the efforts of the Central Bank at the XBRL National Conference held in Mumbai, India in January 2016 for RBI’s innovative CRILC solution (large credit repository).

Inline XBRL has also been quite the buzzword in 2016. Globally, some regulators have already mandated inline XBRL for regulatory filings. Moreover, the announcement of allowing voluntary filing in inline XBRL and more recently the announcement by the European Securities Market Authority (ESMA) has surely created a lot of traction for inline XBRL.

The much-awaited Data Amplified conference took place in Singapore in early November. FinTech which is another area of much discussion was the hot topic at the conference.

As we step into 2017, watch out for more action and developments, especially around blockchain, big data, and the application of structured data for enterprise reporting – all topics that will continue to garner interest in 2017.

For any queries, please write to

Get in touch with us today if you’re looking to produce high-quality XBRL reports.


IRIS Business Services (Asia) Pte. Ltd., Singapore

IRIS Business Services, LLC, USA

Atanou S.r.l. (Italy)

IRIS Logix Solutions Private Limited, India

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