October 21, 2010 – Mistakes in tagging financial reports in the eXtensible Business Reporting Language have exceeded 18,800 in two years. Is this bad? Better than expected?

This odd but interesting piece of information was found at Information Management Online in their article, “18,895 Errors Found in XBRL Tagging Over Two Years.” Considering there were 1.6 million items in the tagging taxonomy, XBRL officials say that the errors are far fewer than they had expected. Surprise, surprise, there may even be more. XBRL US says that the software it used to catch the errors didn’t flag mistakes in tagging when companies created their own extensions; that is, their own tags for elements already in XBRL’s taxonomy.

More filers in the first year let their financial printers do the tagging after the financial reports were completed – a process called the bolt-on approach. Approximately a third of filers in the second year did the tagging themselves using report building software that builds the taxonomy mapping into their reporting process, termed the built-in approach.

Machine assisted indexing works best with professionals building a strong foundation. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.