A trial balloon aimed at exempting most small filers from XBRL was almost floated today at a Congressional hearing. See the Data Transparency Coalition’s blog for the details. It would seem that several Congressmen found the testimony of Kenneth Moch, from Chimerix, to be influential. Let’s look closer at that testimony.
Moch’s comments at the July hearing stated the following:
At Chimerix, we have estimated that compliance with XBRL will cost us approximately $50,000 annually.
Well. Chimerix is a $26 million (assets) company. Sounds like a lot to spend.
Yes, way too much, in fact. So I did some digging. Chimerix, at the time of Mr. Moch’s comments, had filed exactly one XBRL document with the SEC, an unaudited 10-Q.
Chmerix has also never filed a proxy statement, so we can’t check directly how much they are spending on audit fees. But we can look at other small biopharm startups to compare. (Hint, that is the value of all these filings, Mr. Moch!)
Companies that are 100 times the size of Chimerix have spent between $100,000 and $200,000 in recent years on audit fees. Should we believe that Chimerix is going to spend half that just on XBRL tagging?
XBRL filing is a net positive for small filers, as this little story shows in a somewhat roundabout way. I was able to do direct comparisons to similar companies of similar size in the same industry, because they are all filing standardized data. I hope Mr. Moch and Chimerix will come to understand this, and support more tagging, not less, at the SEC.