SEC Chief Economist Offers Insight Into XBRL Data Tools Designed to Discover Accounting Anomalies and Improve Financial Disclosures

Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:05pm EDT

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Dimensions Newsletter Interview with Craig M. Lewis, SEC Chief Economist
ST. PAUL, Minn.--(Business Wire)--
Focus on the accuracy and quality of your data because the SEC is moving ahead
with the plan to use XBRL for regulatory review. That`s the message from Craig
M. Lewis, the SEC`s chief economist, to public companies in meeting their XBRL
compliance requirements, based on an interview in the April 2013 edition of
Dimensions, a newsletter for legal, financial and corporate compliance
professionals published by Merrill Corporation (, a leading
global provider of technology-enabled services for the financial, legal, health
care, real estate and other corporate markets. 

In the interview, Lewis, the Director and Chief Economist of the Division of
Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), speaking on his own behalf, outlines the value of XBRL data
that allows the SEC, investors, analysts, the media and other stakeholders to
compare and analyze public company financial data instantly. In addition, Lewis
offers insight about the predictive accounting quality model being developed by
the SEC. 

"It is a fully automated system that effectively takes a firm`s filing the day
it comes in, processes it, and then keeps it in the [SEC`s] database so that
somebody who is interested in looking at a report on that company would be able
to do so within 24 hours of the filing being posted on EDGAR," says Lewis, who
was named to his current position in May 2011. 

"The Craig Lewis interview offers incredible insight into how XBRL is evolving
and answers the question of many SEC filers: `Is anyone ever going to use this
XBRL data?`" notes Mike Schlanger, Vice President of XBRL Business Development
and Strategy for Merrill Corporation. "Mr. Lewis` comments demonstrate that the
SEC is using XBRL data to enhance its review process and is committed to
building new tools in the future. The bottom line: XBRL is not going away;
quality and accuracy do matter; and as Craig Lewis stresses in his Dimensions
interview, larger public companies now carry the same liability for their XBRL
data as they do with their EDGAR filings." 

"One of the main obstacles to the SEC`s vision," Schlanger adds, "is the
continued occurrence of errors in a registrant`s XBRL filings. The SEC has
published multiple Staff Observations informing filers of the errors with which
they are most concerned. However, many filers remain unaware of how these errors
can make their way into their filing. Outside experts, such as Merrill`s XBRL
CPA team, are dedicated to helping public companies close this knowledge gap to
ensure they have the requisite knowledge to verify the accuracy of their XBRL

About Dimensions

Dimensions ( is published by St. Paul-based
Merrill Corporation for legal, financial and corporate compliance professionals,
offering insights and in-depth information related to financial compliance
filing and corporate transactions. The newsletter is available free of charge to
professionals at Dimensions/April 2013. 

About Merrill Corporation

Founded in 1968 and headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Merrill Corporation
( is a leading provider of solutions for complex business
communication and information management. We serve the legal, financial
services, health sciences, insurance and real estate industries with document
and data management, litigation support, language translation services, branded
communication programs, fulfillment, imaging and printing. Our unmatched
proprietary technologies and more than 5,000 people in locations around the
world empower the communications of the world`s leading companies.

Merrill Corporation
Nancy Moeller, 651-632-1317
Pocket Hercules
Stephen Dupont, 612-435-8315

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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