Achieve Accurate Financial Disclosure with an XBRL Reporting Application

  • by William Newman, Managing Principal, Newport Consulting Group
  • October 13, 2010
SAP BusinessObjects XBRL Publishing by UBmatrix allows for the tagging and reporting of financial information based on a variety of taxonomies.
Key Concept
SAP BusinessObjects XBRL Publishing by UBmatrix can be used with a variety of SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and financial modules, including SAP BusinessObjects Financial Consolidation and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, to meet online Securities and Exchange Commission financial reporting guidelines.

The eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) specification has clearly become the new global standard for exchanging financial and business information. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has joined European banking regulators, UK tax authorities, and others in mandating its use. XBRL enables all accounting jurisdictions to download, codify, and analyze time-sensitive financial data.

Each jurisdiction can define its own accounting taxonomy, a set of agreed-upon, computer-readable tags for individual data items in business reports. When a company reports a figure for annual revenues, for example, that figure can be tagged in a way that enables almost any computer to immediately recognize and categorize it as annual revenues.

XBRL is a royalty-free, open specification for software that uses XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language) data tags to describe financial information for public and private companies and other organizations.

William’s SAP PRESS book Understanding SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management, covers this and other topics. For more information, visit

Typically, organizations adopting various XBRL taxonomies run into one or more common roadblocks. In the US, the voluntary filing period (VFP) has illustrated several errors that can occur in four key areas:

  1. Mapping: The elements must be selected appropriately from the taxonomy to avoid creating new elements
  2. Extensions: The elements are not defined in mathematical relationships, with relationships that cannot be traced correctly or with elements in improper locations
  3. Tagging: Incorrectly assigning the improper signs to the elements, or making human errors in data entry
  4. Validating: Failure to validate the documents both manually or with validation software

SAP BusinessObjects XBRL Publishing by UBmatrix addresses these common issues with XBRL reporting, as well as how to load multiple taxonomies from SAP ERP Financials, third-party systems, and even flat-file sources to produce and file compliance SEC reports according to the XBRL standards. I’ll show you how to set up XBRL taxonomies and develop XBRL reports using this solution.

SAP BusinessObjects XBRL Publishing by UBmatrix 1.0 is generally available (GA) as part of the SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 7.5 solution map.

William Newman

William Newman, MBA, CMC is managing principal of Newport Consulting Group, LLC, an SAP partner focused on EPM and GRC solutions. He has over 25 years of experience in the development and management of strategy, process, and technology solutions spanning Fortune 1000, public-sector, midsized and not-for-profit organizations. He is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) since 1995, qualified trainer by the American Society of Quality (ASQ) since 2000, and a trained Social Fingerprint consultant in social accountability since 2012. William is a recognized ASUG BusinessObjects influencer and a member of SAP’s Influencer Relations program. He holds a BS degree in aerospace engineering from the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA and an MBA in management and international business from the Conrad L. Hilton School of Management at Loyola Marymount University. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at both Northwood University and the University of Oregon with a focus on management studies and sustainability, respectively.

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