Digital reporting: back to the future?

The future of reporting, a perspective from the XBRL team

Imagine a future where the world goes digital, no one reads newspapers because we get our news online; no one uses cash, because we all have debit or credit cards… Wait a minute, aren't we there already?! Well, not completely. If we examine the reporting process of many large corporations, it's surprising how un-digital it is. Corporations have always relied on paper and Excel or Word documents during the reporting process. Although not by choice, a better alternative didn't exist ... until now.

The age of digital reporting is here. The video below provides an introduction to how digital reporting works using XBRL. 

XBRL is a new and innovative approach for exchanging financial and non-financial reporting information in digital form. Today, many organisations acknowledge XBRL as the future of reporting. XBRL is already gaining traction in countries throughout Europe and is expected to become the worldwide standard for reporting.

In fact, at a European level, the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) became law in May 2019. The mandate is due to take effect for all IFRS based annual reports issued by public companies and PIEs for financial years that start on or after January 1 2020 and heralds a huge step forward for transparency in Europe. ESEF will require all public companies across Europe to submit their Annual Financial Reports digitally as Inline XBRL documents and in accordance with the IFRS standards.

Adoption of XBRL will eliminate much of the hustle of data gathering and re-keying of reporting frameworks. With data definitions tagged for all different reporting frameworks; financial, environmental, carbon, water, etc., the availability of digital barcodes will allow multiple reports to be generated automatically by a single press of a button.

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