SAP gets deeper into XBRL with software acquisition

SAP is buying software for handling XBRL requirements from German vendor Cundus

SAP said Thursday it is acquiring software for handling XBRL (extensible business reporting language) requirements from German vendor Cundus. Terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed this year, were not disclosed.

The assets in question include Cundus' Financial Statement Factory and InformationCollector software, as well as customer contracts and "certain employees," SAP said.

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XBRL, a variation of XML (Extensible Markup Language), uses identifying tags to describe various data elements inside financial documents, such as "net income," making it easier to search and analyze them. An increasing number of regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, are requiring companies to submit financial statements in XBRL format.

SAP had already announced an XBRL publishing application last year, which used embedded technology from UBMatrix. The product has been sold under SAP's Business Objects line of EPM (enterprise performance management) applications.

SAP said Thursday that Cundus' software will also be rolled into Business Objects EPM, but it wasn't immediately clear whether it will supersede the original UBMatrix product. In addition, SAP plans to sell the Cundus applications separately as part of "a complete end-to-end financial close solution."

SAP is planning to provide more information about its plans for the Cundus technology after the deal closes, according to a statement.

Other ERP vendors have been increasing their focus on XBRL as well. In October, IBM purchased Clarity Systems, which sells the XBRL document system FSR.

Remaining pure-play XBRL vendors include EDGAR Online, which merged with UBMatrix earlier this year.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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