Accounting agency group endorses XBRL

When it comes to moving financial data, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council is bullish on the Extensible Business Reporting Language.

The council, made up of representatives of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board and Comptroller of the Currency, is testing the open markup language for use in transferring quarterly financial reports from banks to a central data repository next year.

At the end of each quarter, nearly 8,400 financial institutions electronically file financial reports with their regulators. These reports have about 2,000 data fields, 4,090 pages of instructions and 1,500 formulas. Currently, most banks use commercial applications similar to tax return programs to file the reports.

XBRL will automatically prevalidate and format the data as it enters the repository. FFIEC chose XBRL because its taxonomies are based on standard accounting terminology and because it formats information in a database-style structure, said Martin Henning, an FDIC program manager. Early results have been so promising the standard could be applied to other government uses, Henning said.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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