The XBRL Challenge: Contest Seeks the Top Open Source App for Analyzing Corporate Financial Data

As XBRL Tagging Becomes Standard, Public Company SEC Filings Will Be Available for Number-Crunching Like Never Before

Jul 12, 2011, 10:57 ET from XBRL US

NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- XBRL US announced today the introduction of the XBRL Challenge, a contest that seeks to uncover the first generation of open source analytic tools that will mine financial data in ways never before possible.  A $20,000 grand prize will be awarded to the company, team or individual developer who submits the most inventive and useful application leveraging XBRL-formatted data from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) EDGAR database.

Every publicly traded U.S. company is now required to tag financial data according to a XML-based business reporting standard known as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). To date, almost 1,800 companies have filed financial statement data with the SEC in XBRL format.

XBRL is expected to help usher in a new generation of tools that can be used by investors, analysts, businesses, regulators, watchdogs, economists, and academics to gain insight that is currently out of reach or prohibitively expensive to acquire.

XBRL US, the nonprofit consortium for XBRL business reporting standards in the U.S. market, will accept submissions through January 31, 2012, with final judging and awarding of prizes – including the $20,000 grand prize – in February, 2012.  To help with development, participants will be given tools and support from XBRL US, including access to a database of XBRL financial fundamentals from all public companies and technical documentation on how to work with XBRL data.  Entrants will also have access to XBRL expertise through a series of in-person and webinar meetings to help in working with the XBRL data. Collaboration between developers and end user communities will be encouraged.  

"We want to foster the development of a wide variety of innovative applications that will show the power of XBRL tags to deliver insights that are currently locked away in financial filings in basic text or PDF format," said John. D. Rogers, President and CEO, CFA Institute, a sponsor of the XBRL Challenge. "Corporate data in XBRL format will clearly benefit investors, analysts, and a host of others by making more accurate, actionable data available in ways not even imagined today."

XBRL US has assembled a panel of respected judges with a diversity of perspectives on financial data:

  • Alfred Berkeley, Chairman, Pipeline Trading Systems, LLP, former President NASDAQ Stock Market
  • Marc Donner, Head, Google Finance
  • Eric Gillespie, Managing Partner, Viano Capital
  • Vijay Khanna, General Partner, GIV Venture Partners, early stage VC firm
  • Paul Ratnaraj, Director, Advanced Initiatives, Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS)

"We are excited to be involved with the XBRL Challenge," said Paul Ratnaraj, Director of Advanced Initiatives at Wharton Research Data Services, a sponsor of the XBRL Challenge. "XBRL dramatically alters the way investors can analyze corporate financials.  We want this to spark new ideas about how information can be used in the marketplace and how analysis can be performed more effectively."  

Individuals or organizations can learn more and enter the contest on the XBRL Challenge page on Facebook at or by visiting  Updates will be shared on Facebook and on Twitter at using the hashtag #XBRLCHALLENGE.  

Developers and other prospective contestants may participate in a special briefing on August 3, 2011.  Go to and click on the link on the right-hand side.  All final submissions must be received by January 31, 2012.  

About CFA Institute

CFA Institute is the global association for investment professionals. It administers the CFA and CIPM curriculum and exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Institute has more than 105,000 members, who include the world's 95,000 CFA charterholders, in 135 countries and territories, as well as 135 affiliated professional societies in 58 countries and territories. More information may be found at

About WRDS

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) is the leading, comprehensive, internet-based data research service used by academic, government, non-profit institutions, and corporate firms.  WRDS provides the user with one location to access over 200 terabytes of data across multiple disciplines, such as Finance, Marketing, and Economics.  WRDS provides flexible data delivery options, including a simple but powerful web query method, and provides researchers with the ability to reduce their research time and execute strategy development on the powerful WRDS Cloud.  Developed in 1993 to support faculty research at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, WRDS has since evolved to become the leading business intelligence tool for a global research community of 30,000 users at over 300 institutions in 27 countries.


XBRL US is the non-profit consortium for XBRL business reporting standards in the U.S. and it represents the business information supply chain. Its mission is to support the implementation of XBRL business reporting standards through the development of taxonomies for use by U.S. public and private sectors, with a goal of interoperability between sectors, and by promoting XBRL adoption through marketplace collaboration. XBRL US has developed taxonomies for U.S. GAAP, credit rating and mutual fund reporting under contract with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is developing a taxonomy for corporate actions. For more information, go to