Dirept is a company with a background in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. The reasons that we decided to build a solution for XBRL based regulatory reporting is that there was a shortage of high quality solutions that at the same time were easy to use but also because we recognized that the XBRL structure is a very familiar structure. In this half techy post we will explain how they are related and you should have atleast a basic understanding of Data Warehousing modeling principles. First we walk through the structure of an XBRL file.

An XBRL file is basically an XML file with four differnt sections:

  • The header
  • The filing indicators
  • The contexts
  • The metrics

The header and the filing indicators basically say what you intend to report.

The contexts and the metrics on the other hand relate very closely to dimensions and facts in the Business Intelligence (BI) world. A context in an XBRL file is a list of dimensions and the specific member of each dimension. This set of dimensions matches the foreign key (FK) section of a fact table in a data warehouse (DW). In a BI solution the combination of the FKs point out which attributes can be used to intrepret the specific metrics of that row. Basically a context in an XBRL file can be perceived as a specific row (or a grouped number of rows) in a specific fact table. The difference is that in a fact table you generally use a “dumb” int value wheras in a an XBRL context you use a global, unique and persistent code provided by the taxonomy issued by the supervising agency.

Unfortunately the codes used don’t make any sense when you watch them in the XBRL file. In order to understand the XBRL codes (from the EBA) you basically have three options. Look at the excel files, the many taxonomy files or the MS Access database. The easiest one, but also the most limited one, is ofcourse the one published in excel. Using these sources you can learn how the contents of your reports relate to the contents of your BI solution. This is also the basis of effective integrations between your BI solution and your reporting solution. More on that in the future!

If you are interested in more information about XBRL and how it relates to BI we are happy to help.