XBRL FAQ

XBRL Frequently Asked Questions


XBRL Domain

1. What is XBRL?

XBRL is an open standard for the electronic communication of business and financial data. XBRL is now widely adopted by over 400 organizations in 11 global jurisdictions, including 19 stock exchanges and 10 country-wide taxing authorities. XBRL is essentially a dictionary of “tags” that can be applied to each element in a financial statement. This tells standard software what the item represents and how it relates to other items in the report, much like giving all the facts in the report a unique barcode.

2. What are the benefits of XBRL for end-user organizations?

  • Standard - XBRL is a standard that has been accepted and adopted the world over thus reducing inconsistencies in terminologies and data formatting.
  • Accuracy - XBRL provides highly accurate data as the data can be both calculated and verified.
  • Speed - XBRL allows much faster and real-time preparation of reports and at the same time allows efficient, accurate and relevant ways to search data
  • Reusable - XBRL data once entered can be reused to represent the same data in multiple ways and multiple formats.
  • Platform Independent - XBRL is an open standard and hence platform independent, this allows the data to be exchanged and transferred with ease.
  • Region Independent - XBRL allows the presentation and exchange of data in many different languages.

XBRL Training

3. Why do people need training in XBRL?

Imagine that you have a good dictionary, you can speak and write the English language, you have a computer and a word processor, and you know how to type. So you can write a good mystery novel, right? Of course not. What you have are only raw materials. You need guidance or a template to turn the raw materials into a good mystery novel. This same idea applies to XBRL. The XBRL specification explains the legal syntax that dictates how you must use XBRL. But you need more. You need a tried-and-true recipe for achieving a given result. This is where best practices come into play. Best practices can provide you with a template for arriving at a desired result.

Currently management accountants still have reservations about the use of XBRL; it can be complex and smaller companies can find it a hindrance if they are compelled to file reports in XBRL. As XBRL is becoming mandated in most countries, the finance staff must start working with XBRL if they like it or not. Training will not only speed up internal adoption of XBRL projects, it will also help controlling the output better.

4. If XBRL is automating data exchange between systems, why do people need training?

Because XBRL was designed to facilitate computer-to-computer interaction, it can often be difficult for mere humans to check the output. XBRL data, while powerful, is weak in terms of capturing the rich presentation semantics surrounding business reporting information. Getting XBRL to work and controlling the output is a challenge to accountants and finance staff who have relatively little knowledge of the IT process that essentially translate their manual work into XBRL. Errors are costly and there are obvious governance risks.

Outsourcing XBRL filing also carries risks as there tends to be even more human intervention and errors. Organizations that have in-sourced and built their own capability around XBRL have seen a benefit from new technology, such as the disclosure management solutions, to streamline that last mile process. That gives finance professionals a much higher control over the output and more time for analysis.

5. Who should follow XBRL foundation training?

The following job roles should consider XBRL foundation training:

  •  Accountants
  •  CFOs
  •  Auditors 
  •  Financial controllers
  •  Assistant controllers
  •  External Reporting Managers
  •  Filers

XBRL Foundation eLearning

6. What is the XBRL Foundation Course?

The XBRL Foundation Course is available as a 10-hour online training course. The web-based course is modularized and allows for self-paced learning. The XBRL Foundation Course will teach you to understand and use the key components and functionalities of Bloom’s taxonomy, Level 1 & 2. You will be introduced to characters representing real-life job roles and facing actual challenges that must be resolved. Case histories demonstrate – not just tell you – how to handle a multitude of situations.

The course is designed to provide you with a broad picture of XBRL architecture and applications. The training covers XBRL tags and how they are used in automated processing of a broad range of business and financial reporting. Many examples are provided to facilitate your understanding. Bottom-line results? No longer will you need to manually re-enter and compare data, which will speed up your handling and analysis of the data, while enabling automatic validation of critical information.

7. What will I learn during training?

The course is designed to provide you with a broad picture of XBRL architecture and applications. The training covers XBRL tags and how they are used in automated processing of a broad range of business and financial reporting. Many examples are provided to facilitate your understanding. Bottom-line results? No longer will you need to manually re-enter and compare data, which will speed up your handling and analysis of the data, while enabling automatic validation of critical information.

8. Can I take a classroom training course?

At this point in time the XBRL Foundation course is only available in an eLearning format.

9. Is there a discount for XBRL members?

Yes, XBRL members receive a significant discount on the online course but not for the XBRL Foundation Exam.

10. Will I get an extension on the course if I am unable to complete it within 90 days?

The course is designed in a manner that it can be completed in 90 days timeframe. However, if due to specific reasons (i.e. workload) you are unable to complete your course, a one time extension of 14 days can be provided.

11. What are the benefits of eLearning?

The e-learning courses are not just some PowerPoint slides that are put together in an online environment.  The e-learning courses are created in partnership with ITpreneurs and designed using state-of-the art instructional design techniques that support adult education.

The entire course is designed to be like a group conversation, making the information come alive so you look forward to each session. Together, we will drill down into complex concepts to break them into easily comprehensible pieces. You’ll actually find the learning experience to be exciting and fun. That is central to the ITpreneurs training philosophy. 

The course features an easy-to-use interface and native English speaking actors in the teaching roles. Quizzes at the end of each module reinforce the material that was introduced to you.

XBRL Foundation Exam

12. What is the XBRL Foundation Exam and how will it be delivered?

The XBRL Foundation Exam is an online, multiple-choice exam. Taking and passing the exam results in an official certificate provided by XBRL International Inc. The exam must be supervised by a proctor who commits to supervising the exam and maintaining controlled conditions. Details about registering a proctor will be provided when candidates register for the exam.

13. What is the passing grade for the exam?

The exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. To pass the exam, an individual must correctly answer 28 or more questions, or attain a score of 70% or higher.

14. How does passing the XBRL Foundation Exam help me in my career?

The XBRL Foundation certificate provides you with the confidence and recognition that you master XBRL at the Foundation level. The globally recognized certificate is solid proof that you successfully demonstrated your knowledge and understanding of the XBRL Standard and its key components. Plus, certification is a valuable addition to your professional resume, increasing your value in the marketplace.

15. How does the online examination work, do I have to go somewhere or arrange for anything?

XBRL International Inc. provides maximum flexibility in the examination procedure with the condition that a proctor is physically present during the examination session. The proctor should be someone who has no business advantage from the candidates' exam-result. The proctor can be someone within the candidates' organization, but it should not be the candidates' personal manager or direct colleague. Someone within the candidates' local education group or HR organization would be ideal. The proctor will have to be registered prior to performing this role.

16. What are the technical requirements for the XBRL online courses?

The following minimum configuration is required for any of the XBRL e-learning courses: a Pentium IV computer, Internet Explorer 5.x, cookies enabled, Macromedia Flash Player 7.0, speakers or a headset and 1024X768 pixel resolution.

17. I am facing some technical difficulties. Where can I obtain help or technical support?

If you are logged into the learning system, please click on the ‘Support’ button on the top of the page to submit a support ticket. You can also write directly to: servicedesk@itpreneurs.com. 

18. How do I prepare for the exam?

By following the XBRL foundation eLearning course you effectively study for passing the XBRL foundation exam. The course has specifically been designed to optimally prepare students for the exam and offers strong exercises throughout the course.

19. What are the prerequisites for taking the exam?

The XBRL Foundation eLearning course has to be taken in advance of taking the XBRL foundation exam.

20. Retakes – what happens when I fail the exam?

People that have failed the exam can get another opportunity to resit the exam, by booking directly 

21. When will I receive my certificate?

After having passed the exam your paper certificate will be sent to you by postal mail within 3 weeks. Delivery times may vary depending on the country of residence of the recipient.

XBRL Certification Support

22. How do I register for the course?

Please follow the steps below to register for the XBRL Foundation Course. 
Step 1: Visit http://store.itpreneurs.com and click on Courses, XBRL, XBRL Foundation eLearning and finally  'Add to cart'.
Step 2: Confirm the amount, enter your member code (optional) and click ‘proceed to checkout’
Step 3: If you are not registered, sign up on the portal first. Then provide your username and password as login details. You should now be logged in.
Step 4: Billing address: from the dropdown menu select your earlier registered address or fill out a different billing address and click ‘next’
Step 5: Confirm Your Order: perform a final check on the amount and click ‘confirm’
Step 6: Payment: select your credit card company, and follow the next steps, including your credit card details.
Step 7: The course will be available immediately

23. What is the relationship between ITpreneurs and XBRL International Inc.?

The XBRL Foundation Training Course was developed jointly by ITpreneurs and XII in a project that brought together world-class instructional design and XBRL expertise. ITpreneurs developed an innovative and engaging learning experience based on the subject matter expertise of XII, the world’s most respected XBRL authority.