XBRL Proving Useful to Stakeholders for Corporate Reporting

On Nov 10, Commissioner Caroline Crenshaw of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) spoke at the XBRL US Investor Forum 2021: Data that Delivers. In her introduction, she said “XBRL has made it easier and less costly to extract, filter, compare, and analyze the information in SEC filings. XBRL facilitates the comparison of a company’s information across time periods, against other companies, and between data in SEC filings and other agency filings. It allows for faster and more sophisticated analysis by regulators, investors, and academics.”

XBRL converts financial reports into data that can be imported directly into analytical tools and made more useful to investors, the SEC, other regulatory agencies, academic researchers, and financial analysts, among others. Crenshaw also observed that “All of this user activity adds up to more market transparency and more efficient markets.” Among the advantages of XBRL she cited were that since the XBRL mandate, stock prices have become more reflective of company disclosures, and the SEC has been able to use XBRL data to ensure better investor protection.

As for the future, she said “we at the SEC should continue to investigate where else data structuring can improve our disclosure ecosystem.” These might include, for example, environment, social and governance (ESG) matters, and proxy voting by investment funds. She also considered greater use of the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). “The inclusion of LEIs in XBRL data has the potential to increase the usefulness of these data in SEC filings in a number of ways – for example, consistently identifying relevant entities in supply chains, or linking information on an entity across multiple regulatory data sets,” she observed. “The ability to use LEIs in XBRL data only increases their potential utility for users of our data.”

These events are documented at https://www.xbrl.org/news/the-benefits-are-well-documented-and-extensive-commissioner-crenshaw-on-the-secs-xbrl-success-story/ and https://www.xbrl.org/news/changing-with-the-times-xbrl-us-investor-forum-reveals-value-of-structured-data/ .


Synthetic Data

Synthetic data is on the rise and promises to help in solving one of the major issues around the proliferation of data – the protection of sensitive data points. Synthetic data is data prepared by applying algorithms or generation software to real data. It can be designed to be used for several useful purposes, such as development of machine learning systems, model building and data research. With the growth of edge computing (advanced data management on end user equipment) data can be distributed with less risk of exposure to sensitive data. It’s a key element in Gartner’s latest “Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2022 and Beyond” 

“By 2025, synthetic data will reduce personal customer data collection, a change that will enable organizations to avoid 70% of privacy violation sanctions. Gartner defines synthetic data as data that is “generated by applying a sampling technique to real-world data or by creating simulation scenarios where models and processes interact to create completely new data not directly taken from the real world.” This approach lets organizations create models without the need for collecting so much customer data. For CIOs it will enable a lower cost of data and a faster time to AI. Organizations can develop a synthetic data competency as part of the initiative.”

How Corporate Reporting is changing to enhance ESG Reporting

We are at an inflection point in corporate reporting. Significant phenomena are occurring concurrently that are having unprecedented influence on the future of corporate reporting: convergence among proliferating standards and guidelines for meeting user information needs in the ESG reporting space. We are now in a time when the very purpose of a corporation is under reconsideration, along with emergence of the concept of accountability to all stakeholders, present and future, beyond just shareholders, for more than simply returns on financial investment. Alan goes on the outline the rapidly evolving standards that apply to Financial and ESG reporting.

Check out this article by Alan Willis in The Fall Issue of ThinkTWENTY20 “Purpose, Accountability and Value Creation: Paradigm Shifts in the Future of Corporate Reporting”. You can find the article here: https://bit.ly/3kXkt9m

CPA Founding Partner

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), one of the largest national accounting organizations in the world, has chosen to become a founding partner of ThinkTwenty20.