The semantic organisation

I've talked for years on and off about the issues surrounding intangibles valuation...and have generally assumed that th...

January 8, 2008

I’ve talked for years on and off about the issues surrounding intangibles valuation…and have generally assumed that the answers would come from some form of dynamic valuation approach, grounded in game theory.

But sometimes the answers can be right under your nose – in the arcane world of taxonomy   Say hello to the semantic organisation.

While US and international accounting bodies slowly plod their way towards integration of their respective reporting standards, in the ubergeek world of business markup taxonomies, things are proceeding apace.

After a slow, slow start, 2006-7 has seen thousands of companies adopt xbrl as their standard meta-reporting format. The IFRS (which governs international principle-based reporting standards) is now more or less perfectly integrated with XBRL (the taxonomy of financial information tags).  A tidal wave of stakeholder accountability is being held back only by the a few wrinkles in the global legal system. What this means in practice is that business reportage (to both internal and external stakeholders) can become as flexible, personalisable and editable as a weblog – with stakeholder-tailored feeds and meta-analytics.

All that stands in the way of this revolution is a more pragmatic approach to reporter and auditor liability – to encourage both companies, auditors and analysts to share and analyse business information on a graduated risk-based, but regulated model, rather than a binary contractual model.The logical start-point is to experiment with accountability tools in low-level, low-risk environments such as ESG/CSR and build up and out from there…

Exciting times ahead.