Well, congress is at it again…that’s the bad news. The great news is that even since the last house vote on the foolishly titled ‘small company disclosure simplification act’ in January, we have a lot more to talk about in terms of the value of XBRL.
We’ve just completed another 10-K season for XBRL filings, which marks the 4th since XBRL was phased in for all size companies. This means we finally have 5+ years of history in XBRL for all firms. This is definitely a milestone that users will take notice of.
And at Calcbench we’re busy working on a very interesting project using AI to link numeric footnote data back to the HTML document. In other words, a simulated version of inline XBRL. More on that soon.
In the meantime, here are the FIVE BEST REASONS TO OPPOSE HR 1965:
1. XBRL is working
• XBRL provides access to corporate financial data significantly faster, in more detail, and at a lower cost than ever before. As a result, despite early hurdles, adoption has been steadily growing over the past 5 years.
• Calcbench users include Wall Street analysts, academics at major research universities, auditing firms, CFO offices, regulatory agencies, journalists and more.
• In additional to Calcbench, several large data providers now use XBRL as part of their retrieval process, and as a result, thousands of institutional investors now rely on this data.
2. The cost of XBRL is miniscule compared to the other costs of being a public company
• Smaller firms pay in the range of $10,000 a year according to this AICPA study.
• Meanwhile, the group of companies that would be exempt under this bill paid over $1 billion in legal and investment banking fees in 2013 just to raise capital from investors.
3. There is no such thing as a publicly listed ‘small, emerging growth’ company
• The U.S. has an extremely vibrant venture capital and private equity infrastructure. Small emerging growth companies have numerous options and amazing access to capital from sophisticated professional investors.
• HOWEVER once a company goes public and sells shares to retail investors, it has entered the major leagues. Along with this privilege comes responsibility. If you are too small to report your data, you are too small to be on the NASDAQ.
4. Revenue is a lousy indicator of a company’s size.
• It is no coincidence that the BIO association and the authors of this bill chose revenue as the threshold. After all biotech companies are often characterized by having low revenue for years until they release a hit drug.
• There are as many as 800 firms with assets over $1 BILLION that would be exempted by this bill.
• In fact all exempted companies totaled over $1.89 trillion in assets in 2013. Does that sound like small, emerging growth?
5. It’s 2015! Let’s not go back to the stone ages
• XBRL is in large part about maintaining the US’s status as the worldwide leader in capital markets. Talking about returning to a paper system in the year 2015 is just embarrassing.