Digital Financial Report Profile for SEC XBRL Financial Filings

This wiki provides a digital financial report profile for SEC XBRL financial filings. The profile articulates a report level logical model or conceptual model of SEC XBRL financial filings and a glossary of terminology used by that logical/conceptual model.

An SEC XBRL Financial Filings, a type of digital financial reporting. The model and glossary focuses on business sementics and the underlying logical/conceptual model of the US GAAP Taxonomy and SEC XBRL financial filings rather than exposing the more complex, harder to understand XBRL technical syntax. Also, because many people tend to confuse the terminology used to describe the logical modeling of SEC XBRL financial filings with the presentation of that information, XBRL related presentation misconceptions are also discussed. Finally, an understanding of the multidimensional model is helpful in understanding and appreciate this logical model, but not required to use it. But those are all important building blocks for this model and for those interested, that is important detailed information.

Anyone is allowed to make comments to this model. Anyone can become a member of this wiki and can edit the model.

Note that the SEC has a glossary which they make available which you can find here: The FASB provides additional terminology in their architecture document.

Understanding the Logical Model by Seeing it in Action

A good place to start in understanding this model is with the report elements. If you are a big picture person, these things can be helpful in understanding this model by seeing the model in action.

Info sets

This is a summary of the info set examples of the model/reference implementation which leverages this logical model:
  • Fact Table Info Set: This is an example of what the fact table information looks like. This is an XML version of the info set of the model/reference implementation of the fact table.
  • Relations Info Set: This is an example of what the relations information looks like. This is an XML version of the info set of the model/reference implementation of the presentation relations.
  • Report Elements Info Set: This is an example of what the report element information looks like. This is an XML version of the info set of the model/reference implementation of the report elements.
  • Business Rule Info Set: This is an example of what the business rules look like. This is an XML version of the info set for the business rules in the model/reference implementation.

Narrative Overview/Summary

The following narritive summarizes the pieces of the logical model which makes up an SEC XBRL financial filing:

An SEC XBRL financial filing can be logically broken down into a discrete number of report elements. These discrete report elements are used to construct the SEC XBRL financial filing. These report elements have relations.

An SEC XBRL financial fling has sections or parts. An example of parts include the balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, accounting policies, basis of reporting, entity information, financial account disclosures, and disclosures relating to broad transaction categories.

These sections or parts are articulated as tables using the XBRL medium. A table must be organized within a network. Networks organize where tables show up in software applications such as the SEC Interactive Data Viewer application. Networks have a numbers, a category, and documentation which describes the network. There are three categories of networks: document, statement, and disclosure. The number of the network description can (does in the SEC Interactive Data Viewer) determine the ordering of the networks within software applications.

Tables are groupings of facts which appear in a financial report for some specific purpose. Tables express a connection between axis and line items. Facts within a table have similar characteristics. Axes articulate these characteristics. Line items are a special type of axis. Line items contain concepts. These concepts can describe fact values in an report.

The value of an axis is a domain or a member. An axis always has a domain, or set of members. A domain may be a total of all members or it may only be a placeholder and never used to report information. There are two special types of axis which do not have a domain: entity and period.

Facts are an intersection of axis, line items (remember that line items are a special type of axis which expresses a concept), and a value. The value of a reported fact is referred to as a fact value.

Numeric fact values have two additional attributes referred to as fact attributes: units and decimals. Units explain the units of a numeric value and decimals explain the rounding of a numeric value. Values may also have footnotes which provide additional information about a specific value or a set of values. Attributes play no role in processing axis, they are attributes and not axis. (Meaning the distinction between a an axis and a fact attribute is whether they impact dimensional processing.

Facts reported do not have random relationships, the relationships between facts have patterns, this is referred to as an information model. A table may contain numeric concepts within components with have information models such as roll up, roll forward, grid, adjustment, complex computations. Or if the numeric information has no relationship or textual information is reported, the information model is simply a hierarchy. The [Text Block] information model is that of a narrative or prose reported as a block of HTML.

Likewise the members which make up the domain do not have random relations, the relations of an axis have patterns referred to as the domain partition aggregation model. There are a number of different domain partition aggregation models: complete flat sets, partial sets, complete hierarchical sets, and complex sets.

Networks/tables are related to other networks/tables in an ordering or sequence, this is called the flow relations of a business report.


A document which summarizes this information can be found here: