THE acronym itself is enough to make people’s eyes glaze over, but the power of XBRL data immediately makes sense when you see it in action.
Anyone who wants to get widespread support behind the XBRL movement would do best to stop talking about its revolutionary qualities and start showing it off in live demonstrations.
|In Steve Jobs-like fashion, SEC chairman Chris Cox has taken to demonstrating XBRL in action rather than just talking about it. It’s a great strategy.|
Seeing is believing, as they say.
And that’s exactly what Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox did recently in his keynote address to a crowd of lawyers at the 39th Annual Securities Regulation Seminar in Los Angeles.
Instead of his usual approach of talking about the game-changing nature of “interactive data” and using folksy analogies, the chairman did a live demonstration for the audience.
Using no less than four different XBRL viewers installed on his laptop, Cox put on a show that would make Apple’s Steve Jobs proud.
“As you can see, just like magic the numbers all hop into their correct places,” the chairman says at one point in the transcript posted on the SEC’s website.
And a little later this: “Now so far, I’ve been using data that was previously downloaded from the SEC — but we can also use Xinba to view and analyze XBRL data live from the SEC web site. We’d do that by using an RSS feed from the SEC. Let’s see what this would look like, using a custom style sheet I’ve made up in Xinba.”
XBRL and RSS feeds! OK, hands up, how many of you reading this know what they are? Thought so.
Listen, if the chairman of the SEC can stand up and demonstrate XBRL and RSS, it’s time corporate website communicators started to get their heads around this stuff.
Unfortunately, there’s no video of Cox doing his gutsy XBRL demonstration so some of the impact is lost.
However, the SEC does have a video from another demonstration two weeks earlier at the SEC’s Interactive Data Roundtable. At that event, it was Rivet Software’s Rob Blake who demonstrated the same software programs Cox did.
You will find that video here. I highly recommend it.