Quality Assurance for Inline XBRL Accounts

Tagging Quality

SureFile Accounts Assurance Reports include a tagging "star quality" score represented by stars and a numeric equivalent. The maximum score is 5 stars, and scores are awarded in half-star increments (so ten possible levels of score in all). Here's a typical example:

The algorithm that computes the score takes into consideration a number of factors, including the number and type of rule warnings/errors, tagging coverage and the tag-to-accounting-rule ratio. The latter is a particularly important factor - it is a measure of rule coverage. A typical rule will involve, on average, somewhere between 3 and 6 facts (i.e. tagged values).

Consequently, if the ratio of rules applied to values tagged is in the 1:3 to 1:6 range the likelihood is that most if not all tagged values have been tested by at least one rule. This is not foolproof of course, but we have found it to be a good statistical measure in our tests of tens of thousands of real accounts. What's more it holds good across a wide range of sizes of accounts, so long as the body of rules is pretty comprehensive, which ours is. A small set of accounts might typically comprise just 20-30 facts, whereas a large set of accounts may comprise several hundred. SureFile Accounts is equipped with several hundred rules covering most of the commonly reported concepts and dimensions in the FRC Taxonomy.

The algorithm though, doesn't necessarily need to be accurate to do its job, it just needs to be consistent across a wide range of accounts sizes with a wide range of tagging coverages. A score of 5 obviously represents a technically sound, comprehensively tagged accounts document with perfect arithmetic, and all expected facts present and correct. A score of 0 is of course quite the opposite, but possibly for a variety of reasons.

Between those extremes scores are objective and progressive - if warnings or errors are rectified or tagging coverage is improved then the score will likely increase. This provides an objective measure of improvements in quality, even if the score itself is not an accurate and absolute measure of quality. SureFile Accounts subscribers can see an objective improvement in their tagging quality score as they address the quality issues in the accounts and re-submit. The feedback is immediate, and ultimately satisfying!

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