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SEC implements EDGAR II, Stage 2.

The SEC issued amendments to rules for its electronic data-gathering, analysis and retrieval system (EDGAR) that were effective May 30. The amendments reflect changes to filing requirements tied to EDGAR release 7.0--part of the SEC's ongoing modernization of the system. Public companies and others using the new EDGARLink software will find it easier to create and submit filings, include graphics and image files in HTML documents and use the Internet to download and send submissions to the SEC. Also, with release 7.0, the SEC is allowing users to insert hypertext links to other documents within the same filing and to other documents in the EDGAR database. (Links outside the EDGAR database, including links to Web sites, are still prohibited.)

The rule amendments eliminate the requirement to submit financial data schedules (effective January 1, 2001). The commission determined these schedules contained inaccuracies and were not an official part of the filings to which they related and not subject to auditing standards.

Since late June of last year, companies filing their financial information have been able to submit most filings in either ASCII or HTML; at some point HTML will replace ASCII in all filings, but the migration is not yet mandatory. The commission expanded the permissible HTML tags (3.2) for EDGAR II for graphics and hypertext links, and the tag list is included in the EDGAR filer manual. The expanded tagging is available only through EDGARLink, and the EDGAR system will continue to suspend filings if they contain tags that are not permitted. While some users who commented on the stage 2 implementation criticized the use of 3.2 tags as outdated, the SEC intends to allow the system to evolve to accommodate 4.0 tags in a future EDGAR release.

With the implementation of stage 1 last year, EDGAR filers can include "unofficial" PDF (portable document format) files--which require an Adobe Acrobat reader--of any document that is part of the official filing. PDF files may contain all file graphics and fonts and most closely resemble the final print version users see. Filers may not use the unofficial PDF file to meet filing requirements, and it must be substantively equivalent to the official filing of which it is the copy. The SEC will make PDF attachments available to EDGAR subscribers on its own Web site.

Earlier versions of the EDGAR system could not accept graphics or image material in HTML documents. Current HTML filers may be affected immediately by the stage 2 change that mandates SEC-required graphics must be submitted in HTML documents whenever, in those limited instances, rules or forms require information to be in graphic form (see item 402 of regulation S-K). Filers reporting information should not include nonpublic graphic information in graphics files because the EDGAR system cannot distinguish whether a graphic file is related to nonpublic documents and will not block the file's dissemination. EDGAR will not disseminate the nonpublic document itself.

Financial report filers should bear in mind that as of July 10, 2000, the SEC eliminated diskettes as a filing medium and that it will discontinue the DOS-based EDGARLink in November 2000. Further details are available on the SEC Web site at www.sec.gov/edaux or sec.gov/rules. See also SEC release nos. 33-7855 and 34-42712.
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Title Annotation:electronic data-gathering, analysis and retrieval system
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2000
Words:546
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