In 2009, the SEC issued rules that require companies to provide their financial reports in XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language). Since the new electronic filing requirements aim at enhancing information processing through electronic standardization, a controversial aspect of the rules has been that filers can deviate from the pre-defined reporting structure. We examine factors related to the cross-sectional variation in nonstandard reporting for a sample of XBRL 10-K filings submitted to the SEC from 2009 to 2013. We find that the extent to which the reporting behavior deviates from common reporting, as well as the (voluntary) disclosure level, influences the extent of taxonomy extensions. We further find that firms that are less involved and have less experience in the XBRL filing process tend to exhibit higher levels of customization. However, our results show no clear empirical evidence that, on average, firms with lower accounting quality exhibit a higher deviation from the pre-defined standard. Thus, our findings suggest that customization is predominantly associated with filing complexity and the costs of compliance, rather than strategic usage. The empirical findings may be of interest to the SEC and the accounting profession alike in the light of an increasing focus on XBRL filing practices.

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