A service for regular investors #
February 1, 2012
Update: XBRL has its own website, or two and, of course, an iOS app!
One huge barrier when deciding to invest in any company is how to evaluate it’s business. So many stories about fraud has to have taught us that we simply can’t take the CEO's or CFO's word for how successful the company is. Public companies are obligated by law to open their books for investors to evaluate. The idea of course being that investors get to see clearly what's really going on.
The problem is that there are no standards to publishing this documentation. Web geeks, see where I'm going with this?
Much like web standards allowed sites to break out of the indecipherable tag soup of nested tables and spacer gifs, a published set of standards can make investing easier and safer for everyone outside of the Wall Street frat party. And it would only have to gain enough traction to make some headlines. It needn't be enforceable. If a company doesn’t want to follow the standards, they don't have to. Investors will decide for themselves whether it's important enough to get good data.
These standards exist. And not only do they exist, they're called what you think they'd be called: XBRL.
Idea for company - convert financial reported data and output XBRL, make software for easy analysis.
Everyone will be able to ignore rating agencies.