Structured Financial Data in the Age of Complexity:
Exploring XBRL use and application
Today and into the Future

Boston, MA
April 30, 2012

Suffolk University, Sargent Hall, 120 Tremont Street, Boston

XBRL has provided a structured format for reporting data that has in turn, supported the ability to more effectively analyze firm level activity. While the standardization has supported the advancement of micro-level analysis, the structured format of such a vast amount of data provides the foundation for meso and macro level analysis to understand systemic behavior. In an era of complexity, it is imperative that we understand the impact of micro level behavior on the broader system to support more effective governance. The recent financial crisis has revealed the importance of understanding complex systems and the impact of individual agents on the broader whole. However, while advances in computational capabilities with the development of tools and methodologies to study networks and systemic behavior their use is often restricted by the ability to access reliable structured data.

The development and use of XBRL has provided access to data in a format that supports not only the ability to better assess firm level behavior, but XBRL has demonstrated the potential of creating and organizing important system wide data in a usable format to support productive analysis of complex systemic behavior. While XBRL has already proved useful at the micro level, the opportunities for future use in understanding financial, economic, social, political, and technological complexity are tremendous. With this we would like to explore the potential and limits of the current system and look to the future to effectively develop XBRL and its applications.

The Center for Business Complexity and Global Leadership seeks to develop our understanding of complex systems to support leaders of today and tomorrow. In keeping with this mission the Center seeks to explore and develop the tools, methodologies and practices that advance our understanding of complexity to support global leaders.