Views on improving the integrity of global capital markets
26 March 2019

The Time to Develop Standards to Audit Digital (XBRL) Filings Has Come

An Inline XBRL (eXtensible business reporting language) filing is a digital filing with two layers of information: one layer of data that can be read by human beings and another layer of data that can be read by machines.

The US SEC, starting 2019, and the European Securities and Markets Authority, from 2020, have mandated the use of Inline XBRL filings. This mandate has raised questions about the audit of these filings. Only the human-readable layer of information needs to be audited. Even if the machine-readable layer was required to be audited, no standards exist by which to do so.

Investors, however, expect both layers of the filing to be audited. With both the United States and the European Union requiring Inline XBRL filings (and with Asian jurisdictions expected to follow suit), the time has come to at least start a discussion about the development of standards.

Technology working groups at both the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board are looking at the impact of data analytics and emerging technologies on audit. We want the development of standards to audit digital filings added to their agendas.


Image Credit: © Juhari Muhade

About the Author(s)
Mohini Singh, ACA

Mohini Singh was director of financial reporting policy at CFA Institute. She represented membership interests regarding financial reporting and disclosure proposals issued by the FASB, the IASB, and others. Singh holds the Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) designation.

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