Why do companies or filing agents make rookie mistakes – mistakes that can be avoided with more experiences, time and money, such as decimals, negative sign and even the company’s fiscal year and fiscal period?
Why do different companies or filing agents treat things so differently while they are virtually the same? For example, what the link role for the Balance Sheet should be; whether the Assets should be present; etc..
I think the big reason is the lack of the UGT TECHNICAL Implementation Guide – the step-by-step manual to create XBRL documents.
The current implementation guide is more like a user guide – how to use or apply the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy (UGT). This TECHNICAL Implementation Guide is about how to create XBRL documents. It should have details about:
1. how to create XBRL documents with each standard concept (i.e. Assets).
1.1 with examples that can be simply copied and pasted to each document (.xsd, .ins, .lab), then change the numbers in the instance document.
1.2 with embedded comments on what to watch out for errors, such as how to avoid common mistakes like decimals and negative signs.
1.3 with the conformance rules such as (for the purpose of illustration): conf-UGT-2014-12345 – Assets can not be a negative number and it can not be null.
1.4 with the notes such as “This is how to find the right taxonomy concept…if you can not find a right one, this is the way to create an extension…”.
2. similarly, how to create XBRL documents with each standard link role (i.e. ConsolidatedBalanceSheetsUnaudited) and each hypercube or table.
2.1 with examples that can be simply copied and pasted to each document (.xsd, .ins, .lab, .def, .cal, .pre) with minor adjustments.
2.2 with embedded comments on what to watch out for errors, such as how to make sure the summation-item calculation adds up.
2.3 with the conformance rules such as:
2.31 conf-UGT-2014-456789 – Assets must be present if your SIC CODE is xxxx;
2.32 conf-UGT-2014-333679 – ConsolidatedBalanceSheetsUnaudited must be present if your SIC CODE is xxxx.
2.4 with the notes such as “This is how to find the right standard link role…if you can not find a right one, this is the way to create a new role…”.
In short, this TECHNICAL guide is what a software vendor and filing agent need most. They should be able to do up to 80% or more of the work by simply copying and pasting contents in this document. The filing documents will be automatically with higher standard and be more consistent in many ways.
Many, if not most, rookie errors can be avoided with this TECHNICAL Implementation Guide.
It is not too late to create this document. Many companies are still not getting the balance sheet right, not even mention the disclosures such as pension tables.
Certainly not too late if iXBRL will be the next standard.