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Are you using this free XBRL error-checker?

Lou Rohman, Vice President, XBRL Services, Merrill Corporation | June 23, 2016

A few months ago, the XBRL US Data Quality Committee (DQC) created and released a free XBRL error-checking tool that gives filers a no-cost first line of defense against common XBRL errors.

Free protection is a no brainer, right?

Although improvement has been seen, unfortunately, some organizations still aren’t using this error-checking tool — and continue to submit filings riddled with common, easily fixable errors.

Your company should be using this free tool

I’m going to say it once again: All SEC registrants should take advantage of this free tool. Some filers may be unfamiliar with the issues at hand. Errors — from simple sign changes to more complex tagging-structure issues — are extremely prevalent. The SEC is beginning to take note of these mistakes — and no company wants any extra attention from the SEC. This error-checker is the cost-free, no-strings-attached first line of defense.

Better XBRL data quality helps all companies

Ensuring the accuracy of your XBRL data is about more than avoiding SEC scrutiny — it’s about accurately representing your company to analysts, investors and others who are now consuming the data. Inaccurate XBRL data could directly impact investor confidence, hurt other business opportunities, or at the very least make your company look disorganized. Moreover, the accessibility of XBRL data ultimately serves to benefit all companies, enabling investors and others to more quickly and more clearly see your current and potential success. But poor-quality XBRL data holds these benefits back. It’s a “rising tide” scenario — if everyone submits better data, everyone enjoys the advantages.

Get XBRL right the first time

Using the XBRL error-checking tool is a must. But the tool isn’t a complete solution to the XBRL data quality problem. The tool is designed to catch several of the most common XBRL errors. Understanding and correcting these errors often requires a solid understanding of the EDGAR Filer Manual. Of course, in my mind, it’s best to get it right the first time. That’s why organizations turn to Merrill’s large group of dedicated XBRL experts. We live and breathe XBRL. We pride ourselves on in-depth knowledge of EDGAR, the US GAAP Taxonomy and the other complexities of XBRL — and in making sure our clients’ XBRL data is prepared accurately and consistently from the start.


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