eXtensible Business Reporting Language

XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an XML-based language for financial reporting. XBRL provides a standard for uniform reporting for all users of the financial information supply chain; such as public and private companies, the accounting profession, regulators, analysts, the investment community, capital markets and lenders, as well as key third parties such as software developers and data aggregators.

Taxonomies are maintained by www.xbrl.org. You can download taxonomies or read more detailed information on the XBRL website.


How to work with XBRL

Someone who wants financial information from you, provides you with a taxonomy (an XML document) containing one or more schemas, each with one or more lines to fill out. The lines correspond to the individual financial facts required by the sender. You import this taxonomy into the program and then fill out the schema(s) by entering which account or accounts correspond to each line, what kind of timeframe to use, for example net change or balance at date. In some cases you can enter a constant instead, for example, number of employees. You are now ready to send the instance document (an XML document) to the someone who requests the information. The idea is that this might be a recurring event, so unless changes have been made to the taxonomy, you just export new instance documents for new periods on request.


XBRL is comprised of the following components

The XBRL Specification explains what XBRL is, how to build XBRL instance documents and XBRL taxonomies. The XBRL Specification explains XBRL in technical terms and is intended for a technical audience.

The XBRL Schema are the core low-level components of XBRL. The schema is the physical XSD file which express how instance documents and taxonomies are to be built.  

The XBRL Linkbases are the physical XML files which contain various information about the elements defined in the XBRL Schema, such as labels in one or more languages, how they relate to each other, how to sum up elements, etc.

An XBRL Taxonomy is a "vocabulary" or "dictionary" created by a group, compliant with the XBRL Specification, in order to exchange business information.

An XBRL Instance document is a business report, such as a financial statement prepared to the XBRL specification.  The meaning of the values in the instance document is explained by the taxonomy. An instance document is somewhat useless unless you know the taxonomy to which it is prepared.  


Layered Taxonomies

A taxonomy can consist of a base taxonomy, for example, us-gaap or IAS, and then have one or more extensions. To reflect this, a taxonomy refers to one or more schemas which all are separate taxonomies. When the additional taxonomies are loaded into the database, the new elements are simply added to the end of the existing elements.



In XBRL Spec. 2, the taxonomy is described in several XML-files. The primary XML file is the taxonomy schema file itself (.xsd file) which only contains an unordered list of elements or facts to be reported. In addition to this, there are usually associated some linkbase files (.xml). The linkbase files contain data which is complementary to the raw taxonomy (.xsd file). There are six types of linkbases files of which four have relevance for Navision XBRL. These are: