Chapter 20. Ten (or So) Ways to Flatten the XBRL Learning Curve

In This Chapter

  • Gathering information from others

  • Expanding your knowledge by doing

If you've read other parts of this book, and you know what the XBRL elephant looks like, you can break down that big elephant into smaller pieces that you can eat one piece at a time. (If you can't identify that elephant in a lineup, see Part I.) Some people out there will tell you about shortcuts to understanding and working with XBRL. Don't listen to them — there are no shortcuts. Work is required.

What you don't need to be doing is working in the wrong areas; heck, you have plenty of work to do in the right areas! The key to learning what you need is to understand enough about XBRL to know when someone is leading you down the correct path. To achieve this goal, you have to know what you want and need to accomplish. That is why understanding XBRL's big picture first is so critical: It helps you understand what you can, and cannot, get from XBRL.

This chapter helps you flatten the XBRL learning curve. It won't make learning XBRL effortless, particularly in the current phase of XBRL's maturity. But it can help minimize wheel spinning, find starting points, and, combined with the other chapters in this book, get on a path to where you want to arrive: solving real business problems. This chapter is important for a simple reason: It will save you time and money.

Gaining an Important Perspective on Learning

You can learn by making your own mistakes ...

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