SEC Proposes New Way for Investors to Get Financial Information on Companies

Proposal Would Set New Electronic Records Management Requirements for U.S. Companies

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted unanimously to formally propose using new technology to get financial information to investors faster, more reliably, and at a lower cost.  The proposed rule would require all U.S. companies to provide financial information using interactive data beginning next year for the largest companies, and within three years for all public companies.

The SEC’s proposed schedule would require companies using U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles with a worldwide public float over $5 billion (approximately the 500 largest companies) to make financial disclosures using interactive data formatted in eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for fiscal periods ending in late 2008.  If adopted, the first interactive data provided under the new rules would be made public in early 2009.  The remaining companies using U.S. GAAP would provide this disclosure over the following two years.  Companies using International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board would provide this disclosure for fiscal periods ending in late 2010.  The disclosure would be provided as additional exhibits to annual and quarterly reports and registration statements.  Companies also would be required to post this information on their websites.

The full text of the rule proposal will be posted to the SEC Web site "as soon as possible."  Public comment on the proposed rule should be received by the Commission no later than 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

View the SEC’s news release here.

Read more about the XBRL technology here.

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