Responses to CESR
Essentially, we were curious whether respondents supported standard reporting (Q1), and if so, whether XBRL would be fit for the purpose (Q2).
- Q1: Respondents were mostly in favour of standardisation (74%), although a sizeable part (7) of those favourable answers came from the XBRL community. Without them, 67% of responses are still in favour, notably investors, exchanges and service providers. The most outspoken opposition to standardisation comes from the issuers camp, especially (and unsurprisingly) from banking institutions.
- Q2: Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of XBRL as the most appropriate format (90%, or 88% without XBRL community). Surprisingly, this even holds true for those respondents who were sceptical about standardisation in the first place.
The responses from issuers (EAPB, EBF, ZKA, DAI) are remarkable in that they focus on the lack of effective standardisation (and thus comparability) in today's corporate accounts across countries and industries, in spite of those accounts being prepared under IFRS. They quote local laws and regulations as inhibitors to effective standardisation, which could not be overcome by simply applying the IFRS taxonomy because it did not provide the necessary local concepts, nor could it be ascertained that nominally identical concepts are materially identical in practice. In my view, these issues are known and need to be addressed by means of an appropriate system of standardised extensions of the IFRS taxonomy.