SEC Proposes New Filing Requirements
The Securities and Exchange Commission last week said it plans to formally propose that public firms must use a specific new technology to get information to investors faster -- and yes, the plan would eventually apply to public small businesses.
The proposed rule would require that all U.S. companies provide financial information using interactive data beginning next year for the largest companies and within three years for all public firms. The SEC has conducted a pilot program of the effort for the last three years and has deemed that it is worth making official.
This interactive data is essentially computer tags that function like bar codes used to identify things like groceries. The data tags would identify items in a company's financial statement with the intent that they can be easily searched on the Internet and downloaded onto spreadsheets or put into databases.
"Interactive data represents the logical next step in the evolution of company disclosure just as HTML and Internet access were the logical next step a decade ago," said Corey Booth, SEC chief information officer.
The SEC's proposed schedule would require firms with a public float of more than $5 billion -- which is about the nation's 500 largest companies -- to make financial disclosures using XBRL (extensible business reporting language) for fiscal periods ending late this year. The disclosure would be provided as additional information to annual and quarterly reports and registration statements. Companies would also have to post the information to their Web sites.
The required tagged disclosures would include primary financial statements, notes and schedules.
The agency said the full text of the proposed rule will be posted to the SEC Web site as soon as possible and the public can comment on it as soon as the plan is published in the Federal Register.
By Sharon McLoone |
May 19, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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