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Second set of XBRL rules published for SEC filings

Lou Rohman, Vice President, XBRL Services, Merrill Corporation | November 29, 2016

I’m excited to say that the XBRL US Data Quality Committee (DQC) officially published its second set of approved rules and guidance on XBRL tagging for SEC filings. Filers should begin using these new rules by the beginning of 2017 to help identify and correct errors in their filings. As vice chair of the DQC, I know the incredible amount of work and expertise that went into these new rules—and I believe they’re a significant step forward in improving data quality across the board.

XBRL rules for SEC filings - Lou Rohman Blog

New rules cover key problem areas and common errors

The most substantial new rule is the one that performs a check for inappropriate axis and member combinations. These invalid combinations are common XBRL errors which create significant problems for consumers of the XBRL data. Fortunately, this rule will alert filers that an error exists—prior to filing—so that it can be corrected. That assumes, of course, that the filer runs the rules against its XBRL files prior to submitting to the SEC. This is something that I highly recommend—especially since the rules are free of charge and readily available. 

This new set of rules, along with the first set of rules, will help filers avoid some of the most common errors that I’ve spoken about before on this blog.

“We expect the error reduction to be even higher”

The release of the original DQC rules and guidance correlated with a 64 percent reduction in the type of XBRL errors for which the rules check. My colleague Campbell Pryde, President of XBRL US, summed up the thoughts of myself and the rest of the DQC: “We expect the error reduction to be even higher for those companies that adhere to the Data Quality Rules” as organizations begin to utilize this second set of rules and guidance.

Third set of rules now out for review and comment

Major data quality gaps remain. So, as we eagerly await the impact of these new rules, the DQC is marching forward, having just released our third set of rules and guidance for public review and comment. The comment period ends on Tuesday, December 13, 2016.

If you haven’t already, make sure your organization is prepared to utilize the second set of DQC rules and guidance to error-check your 2017 filings. I also encourage all SEC filers, analysts, service providers and others that work with XBRL data to submit your feedback and help us make these rules as valuable and usable as possible.

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