BERLIN, March 5, 2002 — Today at the International XBRL Conference and Steering Board meeting in Berlin, Microsoft Corp. continued to demonstrate leadership in financial reporting by announcing that it has become the first technology company to publish its financial statements on the Internet using Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) an XML-based framework for financial reporting. By publishing financial statements in XBRL, Microsoft is providing easier access to the companys financial data and more efficient analysis capabilities to investors, analysts, accountants, regulators and others in the financial supply chain. The companys second-quarter earnings results, as well as the first- and second-quarter 10-Qs and fiscal year 2001 10-K statement, are published as XBRL documents on its Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/msft/ .
XBRL represents a major step forward in the preparation, publication, exchange and analysis of financial data. Like XML, XBRL is a freely licensed standard that can be used across any platform, software format or technology. The financial community stands to benefit greatly from the increased adoption of XBRL, which demonstrates how XML can be extended to solutions for horizontal and vertical markets.
“Using XBRL will help reduce financial reporting costs by eliminating redundancies in financial report production, reducing the potential for manual re-entry error, and streamlining the process of publishing our financial data to our stakeholders,”
said John Connors, chief financial officer at Microsoft.
We used to spend a great deal of time creating and formatting reports, but with XBRL, we will be able to render the basic financial information once and deliver it in whatever format is needed, whether for our Web site, regulatory disclosure purposes or internal management use.
“Through Internet delivery, XBRL will also provide analysts and investors with extensible financial data to make informed decisions about the company. We see XBRL as not only the future standard for publishing, delivery and use of financial information over the Web, but also as a logical business choice,”
“We welcome the adoption of XBRL by Microsoft for financial reporting,”
said Mark Schnitzer, executive director and a member of equity research management at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
“With Microsofts financial statements available in XBRL, industry analysts and investors in the future will be able to access in seconds information that previously might have required combing through numerous documents and manually keying into financial models. We are looking forward to seeing more companies follow the lead of Microsoft by leveraging the advantages of XBRL in their regulatory filings, press releases and investor Web sites.”
XBRL uses tags based on standardized accounting industry definitions to describe and identify each item of financial information, such as net revenue. Tagging each financial item eliminates subjectivity when users compare financial results from industries and geographies, and the uniformity provided by tagging data makes it easier for users to extract and analyze comparable information from companies published statements. Users will also be able to leverage these tags with XBRL-enhanced tools to search for specific historical data in company financial reports, rather than manually combing through multiple reports for the same data. Although XBRL makes financial information more consistent and accessible, it does not require companies to change the way they report financial results under current accounting standards.
“The adoption of XBRL as a standard platform for financial reporting will enhance the value of corporate financial reports in their original core function: as an important shareholder communications tool,”
said Susan Strausberg, chief executive officer at EDGAR Online Inc.
“Standardization of the data according to the tags will be of great benefit to investors and analysts. We applaud Microsofts efforts as a leader in accelerating the widespread adoption of the XBRL standard.”
“XBRL facilitates straight-through reporting of business information and unclogs the data pipeline so that information flows freely, efficiently and cost-effectively to end users of financial data,”
said Barry Melancon, chief executive officer at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Microsoft is a charter member of the XBRL Consortium, an international consortium of more than 140 of the worlds largest accounting, technology, government and financial services bodies devoted to developing and promoting the adoption of XBRL as a standard. Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to help develop and promote the widespread adoption of fundamental Internet standards.
More information about XBRL can be found at http://www.xbrl.org/ .
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