XBRL (extensible Business Reporting Language)

Currently when retail investor wishes to do its own financial analysis on companies, he will have to:
1.Download many quarterly, annual reports (often in PDF format)
2. Key in the financial items on spreadsheet
3.Making relevant adjustment based on financial items
4.Analyse in the format of ratio, table, graph etc.

Though steps 3 and 4 can be automated easily,
steps 1, 2 (especially step 2) are the tedious and time-consuming steps.
It becomes a deterrent for retail investor to do its own financial analysis (assume he has the knowledge on how to do one).

Imagine in the not-so-distant future:
The second when quarterly/semi-annual/annual report is available,
it can send you an alert telling you that there are new information;

you open your PC/laptop/mobile, the new data is incorporated into your previous financial analysis.
Based on pre-customised software settings. it automatically calculates ratios, draw out tables, charts etc for your perusal.
A searchable, updated database of companies (for examples those that met certain pre-defined investment criteria) is readily available.

Financial analysis on invested companies becomes common. Even a layman can do it, they just have to get a analysis software or a securities company with such software (but he needs to have slight training on that).

Came across this development in investment field that may make this possible:
XBRL (extensible Business Reporting Language)

Some presentation materials that are useful:
XBRL website
IASB website on XBRL

Read from one of the articles, Microsoft Office has already a Prototype to facilitate XBRL use:
Microsoft Office Tool for XBRL Prototype

Saw news that US and China are going to implement this XBRL.
My wishes are that Malaysia and Singapore are implementing this XBRL soon and there are securities companies who offer the analysis software to his clients free :-)


  1. Flyingfish, value investing is more than looking into financial ratios and balance sheet. It is about understanding the business model and the "whole" company.

    Figures reported in the financial report relects what is happening in the past and present, but it will not help to foresee what is going on in the future.

    Anyway, good blog.

  2. Uncle Ho,
    Thx for your advice.

    I'm trying to be in the approach of business-like investing.
    My opinion is as an investor, need to look at company analysis (which includes financial analysis), industry analysis, economic analysis.

    I have written few posts on industry analysis and economic analysis. Feel free to comment on them :-)


  3. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us. epm implementation

  4. Soon xbrl malaysia will be a standard for all organization and government agencies. Getting the right tools is important to master this new reporting standard.


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