How much internal, company information you have and how quickly you get hold of it can make all the difference to the quality of your business decisions — and your competitive advantage. Disconnected internal information environments are bad for business. Technology solutions help to overcome incompatibilities but can take years to implement and are also expensive to change.
No matter what internal systems you use, straight-through reporting using XBRL provides a long-term solution. With straight-through reporting, you can continue to instantly access and re-use the information in your company’s systems for analysis and decision-making, even as systems change over time.
XBRL is a royalty-free, universal information format that enables all software process business information using technology such as the Web Services standards. XBRL and Web Services are software- and platform-neutral, so you can deploy them over existing systems to automate information exchange—creating a straight-through reporting environment. This means you can:
- eliminate manual information-gathering and consolidation tasks,
- reduce time and costs relating to internal reporting processes,
- use reporting or analytical software to re-use information and
- improve your decision-making process in a number of ways (eg, faster turnaround between events and decisions, expand the scope of routine analysis, improve the reliability of your information and have more efficient and cheaper reporting processes)
XBRL brings consistency to the names by which business-data items are known by all software; Web Services provides universal standards for sending information safely and securely over the internet, internally and externally. This facilitates direct software-to-software information sharing regardless of which software sends or receives the information. Together, the XBRL data standards and the Web Services transportation standards, enable a ‘hands off’ reporting process, where data moves straight through from software to software.
With XBRL and Web Services, data is created ready for immediate re-use by authorised users. Other technology-integration solutions, without an XBRL Web services overlay, simply cannot promise this capability. Consolidating and changing information systems and moving information into a single warehouse, can improve information gathering, but can rarely produce readily re-usable information for every type of software. In addition, these solutions can introduce risks, leaving data efficacy vulnerable and forcing company reliance on third-party vendors to access their own information:
The way business information is consolidated for financial reporting or analysis has not changed in many years and is carried out in an inefficient, manual way. XBRL and the Web Services information transportation and security standards help you automate information-gathering and consolidation. By enabling direct communication among disparate business-information systems and software, XBRL Web Services eliminates the need for manual preparation, leaving more time for information analysis.
They also create a ‘hands off’ environment in which decision-makers can access more information in less time at lower cost.