Last week, XBRL.us launched the XBRL Challenge. The contest, which is offering a grand prize of $20,000, is soliciting open source analytical applications that make use of corporate XBRL data. XBRL is short for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, and starting this past June, all publicly traded companies are required to file their financial statements electronically to the SEC using it. In addition to company financial statements, credit rating agencies are also required to report their actions (upgrades or downgrades) in XBRL to the SEC.
XBRL is the financial reporting standard for many countries, and it even received a nod in the recent DATA act as a potential solution for public reporting of federal spending data. It also addresses the problem of accurately tracking corporate actions in general, like mergers or dividends. Overall it’s gaining in importance around the world as a standard that can track any hierarchical business data.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out FreeRisk, a project aimed at taking risk evaluation out of the hands of companies like Moody’s and S&P. The project grabs data from XBRL financial statements and allows the user to choose different algorithms to calculate risk. Or connect with like-minded geeks over at the Open Finance Hackers google group. All in all, it’s a great chance to make corporate data more accessible and possibly win $20,000!