At the Society of Business, Industry and Economics conference I attended early this week (see Monday's post), Dr. Ernie Capozzoli of Kennesaw State University (an up-and-coming accounting program in the Atlanta area), who is working on the SECs XBRL project in the 0il-and-gas area, updated those attending on the progress. Dr. Capozzoli believes that the SEC will mandate XBRL in the next 1-3 years (presumably meaning for publicly-traded businesses) and that the IRS is also looking at XBRL for corporate and other business returns--tax people are NOT off the hook. He indicated that the SEC (and perhaps American Accounting Association as well) would be doing seminars on XBRL and that Professor Skip White of Delaware had a monograph on the topic. Advantages claimed for XBRL included greater consistency in reporting transactions, reduced error rate and greater timeliness.
I do not foresee mandating of XBRL in a presidential election year, but certainly 2009 could see required use of this language. I strongly encourage all CPA firms with any publicly-traded clients to start preparing for XBRL in earnest now; at the same time, even semi-small CPA firms should have at least one or two people taking CPE on XBRL--the need may be less immediate but eventually XBRL is likely to affect in some form all but the smallest CPA firms.