XBRL Data Forum Brings Opportunities To Austin’s Developer Community

XBRL for sustainability reporting

XBRL for sustainability reporting (Photo credit: OlBrug)

XBRL is visiting Austin this Fall for a one-day conference designed to educate and enlighten developers and software companies about a data standard that is rapidly growing across the country and around the world. On September 11 at the Austin Hilton, XBRL experts, developers and technologists will get together to discuss XBRL standards, build databases, and address data quality, validation and more.

What is XBRL and why should you care?

XBRL is a technology standard that’s based on XML but with added structure that makes it uniquely suited to the reporting of financial data. XBRL takes documents previously only available as flat files, in HTML or text, makes them computer-readable and through XML tags, provides context around each datapoint.

“It was initially conceived of in the late ‘90s but this Summer has reached a tipping point with over 8,800 companies now required to report their full financials in XBRL to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” XBRL’s VP of Communication Michelle Savage told AustinStartup in a recent interview.

XBRL has been implemented worldwide for reporting by public and private companies and banks, as well as government spend reporting in countries including the UK, Israel, China, Japan. Savage says there’s a bill pending in the US Congress called the DATA (Digital Accountability and Transparency Act) Act that would require the use of XBRL for all government spending and tracking.

That means that a wealth of XBRL data is now available and growing exponentially in multiple industries..

In the US to date, XBRL has mostly been a “compliance” story as public companies scramble to get up-to-speed on reporting in XBRL format.

But now there’s widespread interest from groups like investors, analysts, regulators and watchdog organizations, who can all harvest intelligence from concisely compiled information. There’s a whole cottage industry being sparked by the demand for reporting and analytical tools alone.

What’s the XBRL Data Forum?

The XBRL Data Forum was designed to help technologists get up the learning curve on XBRL and network with some of the best-known experts in the XBRL field.

XBRL says Austin was chosen as the event site because of its vibrant technology and entrepreneur community. And there’s even a local UT tie-in as keynote remarks will be provided by Gary Hoover, co-Founder of Hoovers and former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business. Panel sessions will cover:

  • How XBRL can be used to expand and improve existing database and analytical tool offerings
  • Specifics on XBRL database structure including technical and data quality challenges
  • Processing and standardization techniques when working with XBRL US GAAP data to build custom data sets
  • What users of XBRL are looking for from BI and analytical tools
  • The XBRL business proposition including case studies and the VC view

You can learn more about the program at http://xbrl.us/dataforum

About George Dearing

George Dearing writes about technology, startups, and sustainability.
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