PHOENIX, Ariz. - Not unlike the buzz that has accompanied legions of other Internet-based opportunities, XBRL has everyone in the corporate world marveling at its potential to drive efficiencies and perhaps attract more customers. Well, almost everyone.
Known in longhand as eXtensible Business Reporting Language, the technology "tags" information for easy storage and retrieval. The Securities and Exchange Commission wants mutual funds to file their financial reports in XBRL so that investors can go online and compare investment options in an apples-to-apples environment. The Investment Company Institute, meanwhile, has taken that idea a step further and says it plans to lay the groundwork for a custom-designed XBRL taxonomy that goes beyond financial data and could lead to an environment where all fund prospectuses are online and easily searchable, retrievable and comparable.