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extensible business reporting language (XBRL)

What is XBRL, and what are the needs for developing XBRL?
what are the benefits of xbrl and why should companies adopt it?
is it necessary to make XBRL mandatory to companies, or should it be voluntary to the companies?

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What is XBRL, and what are the needs for developing XBRL?

XBRL is a form of HTML which "tags" each piece of data. So each piece of data comes with a "label" that tells it what it is. For instance, $40,000 would have a tag that says "2009 sales" so you would know what the $40,000 is.

If you are familiar with HTML, there are tags in brackets like this <heading> that tell the document how to format and the font size and color and so forth. The HBRL tags are similar except rather than dictating the format on the page, they dictate how the data should classified in a financial statement.

In order to develop XBRL, you need uniform financial statements and uniform "tags" or "labels" so that everyone uses the same pattern. That way, everyone's 2009 ...

Solution Summary

Your response is 443 words and explains this in non-technical language suitable for a novice that has no idea what this is. A parallel between HTML and XBRL is made as a comparison point. XBRL benefits users more than issuers and this is discussed.