Finance Technology

Podcast: XBRL can solve real problems … and save us real money

Our guest on the "Future-Proof" podcast this week is John Turner, CEO of XBRL International.

And I know what you're saying. “XBRL? Is that still a thing?” And the short answer is, yes, it’s still a thing — maybe more of a thing than ever.

If you recall, XBRL is a data-tagging technology that’s designed to help the users of financial statements – namely, investors and analysts – easily compare financial information from many different companies and industries. There was a lot of hype around it a few years back, but it kind of went quiet in recent years. Really, though, all that meant was that everyone is kind of getting used to it. It’s everywhere now, so it’s not a novel thing. What’s that old saying? When something becomes ubiquitous, it also becomes invisible? That might be the case here.

The SEC now requires all public companies to use XBRL to file their financial statements. That mandate got phased in over a number of years and now it’s pretty much the law of the land.

But John says that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is huge potential – both in the United States and abroad – for companies, governments, and all kinds of entities to solve real problems, to save some serious money, and to move this profession forward through the strategic use of XBRL – and he and his team at XBRL International are trying to make that happen.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • What XBRL is.
  • How XBRL is being used today, in the U.S. and abroad.
  • XBRL in private companies and public companies.
  • The inevitable digitization of the future.
  • What widespread adoption of XBRL might look like.



Where and how is XBRL being used? XBRL is a free and open standard, so it’s used by people throughout the world.

  • In the UK, every private company has to provide a report to the tax regulator and the company’s registrar, and those reports are all digital and in XBRL.
  • About 30 countries in Europe report to the European banking authorities using XBRL.
  • Participants in the Japanese Stock Exchange collect various information and report it to the JFSA (Japan’s Services Association) using XBRL, and they have for nearly a decade.

You can find even more examples here.

Joins us at 2018 Data Amplified Conference You’ll find even more answers to your XBRL-related questions at the 2018 Data Amplified Conference.

You’ll learn how regulation, technology, and business all intersect. You’ll learn how structured data combines with new technology. And you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the future of business reporting.

The conference will be held in Dubai from Nov. 13-15. You can get complete details and register at



William D. Sheridan