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2016 U.S. GAAP Taxonomy has 3,399 changes — do you know them all?

Lou Rohman, Vice President, XBRL Services, Merrill Corporation | September 06, 2016

Did you know that bot, fro-yo and glamping are now — officially — words? The Oxford English Dictionary adds new words every year, and I’ll forgive you for not keeping up with all of them. I’ll also forgive you for not knowing all of the 3,399 tags that underwent changes in the 2016 U.S. GAAP Taxonomy.

Many SEC reporting companies have already implemented the 2016 taxonomy, and many have not. For those that haven’t: here are some things to know. For those that already have: make sure you paid attention to these items.

3,399 changes are actually a move toward simplicity

You’ll notice there are significantly more changes in this year’s update compared to last year. As much as this may make things more complicated, it's ultimately part of the FASB’s new focus on simplifying the taxonomy. They’re removing elements with low and inappropriate use, and reducing redundancies and inconsistencies.

So, what’s changed?

There are four primary categories to the updates:

  •       215 new elements
  •       681 deprecated elements: more than a 50% increase over last year, showing FASB’s commitment to simplification
  •       469 definition changes: more than four times as many as last year — again, part of a move toward simplicity and clarity in the taxonomy
  •       82 modeling/structure changes

If you’re a filer — or interested in understanding the changes in depth — I advise reading the 2016 taxonomy release notes. Here’s the full 2016 taxonomy and all of FASB's related resources.

Overwhelmed? Merrill can help.

Like I said earlier, it’s tough to keep up with the many updates, and even more challenging to understand the subtle (and not so subtle) ways they impact a company’s SEC filings. Improper conversions to a new version of the taxonomy are a root cause of many errors in SEC filings. If you’re looking for guidance, Merrill has been doing this since the XBRL mandate first came on the U.S. scene in 2009. We’ve set the standard for XBRL expertise, and we’ll make sure your filing is done right the first time.


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