An industry group today kicked off a contest that is offering $20,000 (£12,000) to the person or group that develops the most innovative app for reading XBRL-tagged financial information.
XBRL, which stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, is an XML-based, open source tagging standard for business financial reporting. XBRL allows business systems to communicate and exchange information through metadata as defined by XBRL taxonomies. The standard is now mandated for reporting to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The "XBRL Challenge" is being sponsored by Wharton Research Data Services and the CFA Institute. Entrees will be judged by a panel consisting of members of Google Finance, GIV Venture Partners, Pipeline Trading, Viano Capital and Wharton Research Data Services.
Submissions must be made by January 31, 2012. Final judging and the awarding of prize will take place in February 2012.
The judges will be looking for tools that extract data for multi-company comparison via desktop applications, or one that creates real-time valuation measures and delivers to mobile devices.
"But even more important, you'll get access to tools, technical information and a network of developers and XBRL experts that can get you educated on a technology that is the biggest change in accounting, analysis and financial reporting in decades," the XBRL organisation states on its Facebook Page.
Help for contestants will be available throughout the process via conference calls and update meetings.
The XBRL US industry group says that more than 1,770 companies have already filed XBRL-formatted financial statements to the SEC. By the end of this year, all public companies will be using XBRL to issue financial statements.
In addition, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2011 (DATA Act), recently introduced by the Senate and the House, would require the use of a common data standard and it specifically references XBRL as an example.
The contest will give contestants access to technical information, XBRL experts and a database of all XBRL-formatted financial statement data, updated within minutes of posting to the SEC.