Explaining XBRL : the wisdom of flocks

I find the standard way of explaining XBRL using the barcode analogy doesn’t quite work for me. A barcode is a complex display with arguably more information encoded on that “tag” than exists for the object label itself.

I think of financial statements locked in a PDF or book as a flock of birds an ornithologist is studying. They all congregate at the right time, have some structure to their flight plan, and unnervingly know how to calculate themselves to arrive at a destination ;-)

The guy studying the evolution of the flock would do well to tag each bird with details like name/gender/status etc. Then individual movements would allow for greater analysis and data would be accurate and clean.

After deciding on how you’ll tag them, you attach the tag and thus begins the filing flying process…

About Derek

My key interests are online investor relations, websites, social media, enterprise 2.0 and intranets, and XBRL. Speak to me if you need a solution in any of these disciplines, or follow my knowledge links on this site and others. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn or in recent conversations.