• SEC Announces Successor to EDGAR Database
  • September 5, 2008 | Author: Meredith P. Burbank
  • Law Firm: Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice - Charlotte Office
  • The SEC last week unveiled its new Interactive Data Electronic Applications system (IDEA), the successor to its EDGAR database. Based on a completely new architecture being built from the ground up, it will at first supplement and eventually replace the current EDGAR system. The new system is the latest development in the SEC's efforts to transition from document-based static reporting to dynamic and interactive financial disclosure.

    Currently, most SEC filings are available only in prescribed forms through EDGAR. Investors seeking information must review one form at a time and then copy the information for their own purposes. With IDEA, investors will be able to instantly collate information from thousands of companies and forms and create reports and analyses in any format they choose. The SEC has already proposed requiring U.S. companies to provide financial information using interactive data formatted in XBRL beginning as early as next year.[1] According to the SEC, the IDEA platform will ensure that both the SEC and investors are ready for financial disclosure presented in interactive data format.

    The IDEA logo will begin to appear immediately on the SEC's web site as the agency transitions to making IDEA the primary source for all SEC filings. Company interactive data filings are expected to be available through IDEA beginning late this year. Investors and others who currently use EDGAR will be able to continue doing so for the indefinite future, and the EDGAR database will continue to be available as an archive of company filings for past years. During the transition to IDEA, investors will be able to take advantage of new interactive IDEA-like features that will be grafted onto EDGAR. This will enable investors to utilize IDEA's advanced search capabilities and to use the information from EDGAR within spreadsheets and analytical software.

    [1] See our Client Alert dated June 10, 2008 explaining this SEC proposal (available at http://www.wcsr.com/resources/pdfs/cs061008.pdf).