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XBRL For Dummies


Learn to:
  • Understand XBRL and its implications for your organization

  • Plan for XBRL implementation and set action-oriented agendas

  • Adapt existing US GAAP and IFRS financial information into the XBRL format

  • Make sense of XBRL using simple, hands-on exercises

Are you ready for XBRL? Get up to speed with this friendly guide!

Extensible Business Reporting Language — XBRL — is revolutionizing business reporting, including financial reporting. It's complicated, but this book isn't! Here's how to get business and IT folks on the same spreadsheet so that everyone can grasp the concept and be ready for the switch. You'll discover the important details you need to make smart business and technical decisions about XBRL.

  • What is it? — understand what XBRL is, its parts, and how it works

  • Learn from the masters — discover how gurus including Marc van Hilvoorde; Christine Tan, PhD; Raynier van Egmond; and Eiichi Watanabe put XBRL to work

  • Information, please — see how information is used and why new ways to exchange it are necessary

  • Making it happen — be able to identify stakeholders, find a common vocabulary, and build an implementation team

  • Step by step — see how to create and use XBRL modules and taxonomies

Visit the companion Web site at to find links to URLs in the book and bonus material

Open the book and find:

  • Common misconceptions about XBRL

  • Ten ways to make learning XBRL easier

  • A look at the information supply chain

  • How to make a business case for XBRL

  • Pitfalls to avoid

  • All about meeting the SEC mandate

  • The future of business information exchange

  • Various implementation approaches

Charles Hoffman is considered the father of XBRL. He is coeditor of the US GAAP Taxonomy Architecture and was named one of the 100 most influential people in accounting by Accounting Technology.

Liv Apneseth Watson is among the founders of XBRL International and was vice chairman of XBRL International.


Part I: The Very Least You Need to Know about XBRL.

Chapter 1: Wrapping Your Head Around XBRL.

Chapter 2: Taking to Heart the Essential Concepts of XBRL.

Chapter 3: Glancing at XBRL's Parts.

Chapter 4: An XBRL Primer.

Chapter 5: Pinning Down How XBRL Affects You.

Part II: Embracing XBRL for Classic Challenges and New Possibilities.

Chapter 6: Exchanging Business Information.

Chapter 7: Feeding the Business Information-Supply Chain.

Chapter 8: Seeing the Transformation of Business Information Exchange.

Part III: Successfully Pursuing and Executing an XBRL Project.

Chapter 9: Exploring the Common Uses of XBRL.

Chapter 10: Making Your Own Business Case for XBRL.

Chapter 11: Evaluating Different Approaches to Implementing XBRL.

Chapter 12: Considering How to Implement Your XBRL Solution.

Chapter 13: Complying with the SEC Mandate.

Part IV: Working with XBRL Taxonomies and Instances.

Chapter 14: Finding Tools and Services to Make XBRL Work.

Chapter 15: Creating and Using XBRL.

Chapter 16: Differentiating XBRL Modules.

Chapter 17: Digging Deeper into XBRL Taxonomies.

Chapter 18: Understanding the XBRL Instance.

Chapter 19: Predicting What XBRL Will Become.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 20: Ten (or So) Ways to Flatten the XBRL Learning Curve.

Chapter 21: (Nearly) Ten Keys to Understanding How XBRL Works.

Chapter 22: Top Ten Technical Odds and Ends.