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The Results Are in on First XBRL Filings

Melissa Klein Aguilar | September 15, 2009

Corporate America has finally begun filing financial statements tagged in XBRL technology—and the mandate once hailed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a transformational event in financial reporting has passed with little fanfare.

The SEC’s mandate formally went into effect this summer, ordering the nation’s largest public registrants to start using XBRL technology for periodic reports filed after June 15. By now almost that entire group has submitted at least one XBRL-tagged filing, and the experience “was better than most people felt it would be,” says Mike Schlanger, vice president of business development and strategy at Merrill Corp. and an XBRL U.S. board member.

XBRL, also dubbed “interactive data,” is a technology that tags individual pieces of financial data so they can be more easily found and displayed by computer programs. That, in turn, would allow investors and analysts to sift through financial information more quickly or to construct...

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