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The Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) at a Glance


XBRL is one of a family of XML languages which has become the standard means of exchanging financial information between corporations, regulatory organizations, and financial analysts.

XBRL is been developed by XBRL International Inc., an international non-profit consortium of 500+ major companies, international financial standards organizations, and government agencies. It is an open standard, free of license fees, freely available, and its adoption is growing rapidly around the world.

The adoption of XBRL assists with the automation of the reporting process for information preparers, regulators and information consumers. This automation reduces, or even removes, manual processes with consequent gains in terms of efficiency and accuracy. XBRL provides a clear (but extensible) format for the required data (the taxonomy) which leads to greater transparency in reporting and ease of reuse of data.

XBRL poses several challenges: For corporations, there is a need to adopt the technology internally, and to be able to produce external financial reports in a timely manner, complying with national regulatory mandates. As governments start imposing the use of XBRL, corporations rush to comply.

For regulatory organizations, the challenge is to be able to process the XBRL submissions in an efficient manner, such that there is minimal delay in its approval.

The XBRL reports that become public information can be processed further by third-party organizations, including the media, analysts, and investors.


  • XBRL is an international standard for presenting business report digitally/electronically.
  • It’s a freely available global standard for exchanging business information.
  • XBRL is an XML-based collaborative framework which effectively used for preparing, presenting, exchanging International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) information.
  • The XBRL Specification is developed and published by XBRL International, Inc. (XII).

  • XBRL offers major benefits at all stages of business reporting and analysis.  The benefits are seen in automation, cost saving, faster, more reliable and more accurate handling of data, improved analysis and in better quality of information and decision-making.
  • XBRL is being used across a wide range of sectors, including securities regulation, banking, insurance, taxation, as well as for non-financial reporting such as carbon disclosure, sustainability efforts and risk reporting.

  • Taxonomy
    A taxonomy is a collection of concept definitions. Typically a taxonomy will corresponding to a particular reporting domain.
  • Instance
    An instance document is a collection of facts that together make up a business report.