Global Ledger Taxonomy - An Introduction

The Global Ledger Taxonomy is intended to enable the efficient handling of financial and business information contained within an organisation. Often this is scattered across disparate accounting systems. XBRL allows it to be brought together, analysed and used in a highly cost-effective way, overcoming the inefficiencies of different accounting systems or approaches.

Learn more about the GL Taxonomy in our series of educational webinars


The XBRL Global Ledger taxonomy allows the representation of anything that is found in a chart of accounts, journal entries or historical transactions, financial and non-financial. It does not require a standardised chart of accounts to gather information, but it can be used to tie legacy charts of accounts and accounting detail to a standardised chart of accounts to improve communications within a business.

XBRL Global Ledger is reporting independent. It collects general ledger and after-the-fact receivables, payables, inventory and other non-financial facts, and then permits the representation of that information using traditional summaries and through flexible links to XBRL for reporting.

XBRL Global Ledger is system independent. Any developer can create import and export routines to convert information to XBRL GL format. This means that accounting software developers need only consider one design for their XML import/export file formats. Application service providers can offer to supply XBRL import and output so end-users can more easily use their own data. Companies developing operational products, such as point of sale systems or job costing, or reporting tools can link with many accounting products without needing specialised links to each one.

XBRL Global Ledger permits consolidation. Popular low-end products and mid-market solutions are not designed to facilitate consolidating data from multiple organisations. XBRL GL can help transfer the general ledger from one system to another, be used to combine the operations of multiple organisations, or bring data into tools that will do the consolidation.

XBRL Global Ledger provides flexibility, overcoming the limitations of other approaches such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). It offers an extensible, flexible, multi-national solution that can exchange the data required by internal finance, accountants, and creditors.

It complements XBRL for financial reporting, linking financial reports to the detail behind them, providing all the specific information required for audit workpapers, budget planning, and detailed reporting.

To see a presentation on what XBRL Global Ledger offers and its relevance to tax filings, click on full presentation with audio or slides only.

The XBRL Global Ledger was created to meet these goals:

  • Multi-GAAP, drill-up to multi-XBRL reporting taxonomies.
  • Standard format for 3rd-party software to create journal entries to pull into client GL system.
  • Standard format to move unposted and posted GL information back and forth from branch offices to consolidating systems, budgeting and forecasting tools, reporting tools.
  • Standard format to upload general ledger information as well as payables and receivables master files and open balances in migrating from one system to another or moving information to or from an Internet Application Service Provider (ASP).
  • Standard format to move information from client systems to CPA/CA.
  • Standard format to move information from one CPA/CA system (e.g., write-up) to another (e.g., tax) in an international context.
  • Standard format to represent open receivables, open payables, inventory balances, and other asset-based measures for sharing with banks.
  • Tool for representing detail drill-down for performance measurement reporting items.
  • Extensible for any type of mandatory audit trail.
  • Extensible for meeting any "sub-ledger" need.
  • Designed as XBRL spec-compliant but for easy translation to other uses; cannot assume that XBRL period, entity, unit and other context (numeric, nonnumeric) will automatically be there.

XBRL Global Ledger files contains the Global Ledger taxonomy and other information.

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