AICPA and XBRL US Announce Launch of XBRL US GAAP Certificate Program 

Published July 09, 2013

Contacts: AICPA - James Schiavone, 212-596-6119,, XBRL US - Michelle Savage, 917-747-1714,  

NEW YORK (July 9, 2013)
-  To address market demand for comprehensive and intensive training on XBRL reporting, the American Institute of CPAs, the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, and XBRL US, the nonprofit consortium for XBRL business reporting standards in the U.S., today announced the launch of the XBRL US GAAP Certificate Program .

The Certificate program provides finance and accounting professionals with the information and hands-on training they need to build high quality XBRL-formatted financial statements using any software tool or working with any service provider. 

“Correctly tagging financial statements and other business information in XBRL format requires both knowledge of reporting standards and the ability to navigate and apply the appropriate XBRL taxonomy,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA. “Participants in the XBRL US GAAP Certificate program will receive the guidance they need to create and assure high quality US GAAP XBRL financials for market consumption and analysis.”

A survey of over 1,000 members of the AICPA and XBRL US demonstrates a clear market demand for the intensive training provided in the Certificate program, particularly among public company preparers. A majority of those surveyed (57%) said that they needed expert or advanced knowledge of XBRL, however only half as many (28%) said they currently possessed expert or advanced knowledge.

“The size and complexity of the US GAAP Taxonomy requires a greater understanding of XBRL and the taxonomy,” said Campbell Pryde, president and CEO, XBRL US, “The Certificate program is designed to help filers get the training they need quickly and cost-effectively, and to give them a deeper understanding of best practice and how to apply it.”

Over 9,400 companies are required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to submit quarterly XBRL files that include tags for the full set of financial statements including the detailed data in footnotes. The SEC initially allowed public companies a two-year grace period of limited liability on their XBRL formatted financials. However, limited liability expires for most public companies this year, meaning that the XBRL-formatted financials carry the same level of liability as the traditional paper filing.

Participants in the XBRL US GAAP Certificate program can demonstrate to the marketplace that they have a solid understanding of XBRL and how to work with the US GAAP taxonomy. The Certificate program also provides access to tagging simulations, which will help participants apply the principles presented in each course using software widely available in the marketplace.

“Accuracy and integrity of financial information in the reports of public companies is important, regardless of whether the information is presented as a printed financial statement or in XBRL-tagged data,” said Glenn Doggett, CFA, Director, Standards of Practice, CFA Institute. “The XBRL data produced today for SEC reporting is not as consistent or comparable as it could be.  We encourage appropriate training and establishment of best practices to support the production of XBRL data that can be more easily consumed by investors.”

The Certificate Program content was developed and reviewed by XBRL US, the AICPA, and XBRL US members including accounting firms and XBRL service providers.  The program consists of approximately 35 hours of online coursework.

Courses will cover:

  • Understanding XBRL and the US GAAP taxonomy
  • Reviewing and validating XBRL documents
  • Creating the extension taxonomy and building the instance document
  • Transitioning to a new release of the taxonomy
  • Using the SEC Edgar Filer Manual
  • Creating individual financial statements
  • Detailed footnote tagging in 20+ categories, e.g., pensions, debt, acquisitions, leases, fair value measures, segments, tax, business combinations, commitments and contingencies and more
  • Tagging simulations for a hands-on learning experience that focuses on practical application of the principles presented in the detailed footnote modules


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