XBRL: - A technical language for intangible assets disclosure

 

In Aiaf (Association of Italian Financial Analyst) we are the opinion that XBRL language has the technical-operational characteristics to represent in electronic format also the informative contents related to the intangible assets.

The informative structure of XBRL that adopts a specific taxonomy allows to formalize and to codify in a standard method the indicators related to the intangible assets, as well as the relative methods of measurement, classification and aggregation. Uniformity and standardization, would not entirely operate then in technical terms, but potentially in conceptual terms, favouring the harmonization about the disclosure on the intangibles at international level.

To evidence, an efficient elaboration process of the intangible indicators is not able however to put aside from a technical definition of a standard syntax and semantics, and therefore from the contemporary adoption of an evolved electronic language useful for a standardized disclosure.

Nevertheless, the development, definition and harmonization at technical-informative level, with the coding of the intangible assets through suitable tags able to visualize and to communicate the financial and non financial indicators is still in an embryonic level. In fact, the XBRL language provide a syntax for the definition of the formalities through which express the economic-financial results and a semantics for the standardization of a “catalog of measures”.

For the intangible assets the contents of this “catalog” are still however whole to define.

While the XML-based languages are already achieving the technical objective to define a standard syntax and semantics with reference to many indicators and economic-financial measures, with reference to qualitative indicators of the intangible assets several progress still have to be completed to define the nature and it content. In fact, despite in the last years the enterprise disclosure spread on the market and to the infomediaris is sensitively improved, to the investors and the external stakeholders, the objective has not been reached yet neither to define a standard methodology of measurement, neither to define a specific business reporting in which a standard list of intangible indicators of performance is introduced, specific for every industry sector, approved and applied by a suitable critical mass of companies.

The mentioned problem remains nevertheless tied up to the learning curve and the adoption period, in how much the organizations that are activating to adopting this methodology of assessment of the intangible assets now already yield, what effect of a more transparent disclosure, a more elevated interest from the stakeholders, a smaller volatility of the  ratio price / earnings (P/E) and a better evaluation of their Intellectual Capital from the financial analysts and the investors, and therefore they will be able in the future and they will have an incentive to adopt the new technical standards at the right moment, and particularly the XBRL language, when these will fully be made available.

 

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