Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New language transforms business reporting

15.03.2006


By smartly tagging data and content, an XML family offshoot is revolutionising business reports. It is now used extensively across Europe and is fast becoming a mandatory standard for financial and business reports worldwide.



“It’s about better, faster and cheaper business reporting,” says Olivier Servais, director of the IST project XBRL Europe. “This was once done with proprietary electronic formats. XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an open standard that brings a common understanding, vocabulary and method to financial statements.”

Unlike Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), eXtensible Markup Language (XML) neither defines nor limits tags. XBRL is part of the XML family and focuses on business reporting needs, by flagging up everything from net assets to sales. Computers can read these tags, speeding up the preparation, analysis and communication of business information.


External reports are only the iceberg’s visible tip. XBRL will soon be used widely for internal company reports, which make up the bulk of business reporting. Within five years it will also be common in the credit risk arena, enabling banks to do away with the manual inputting of customers’ financial details.

The language originated in the United States when an accountant began tagging data to facilitate the exchange, comparison and analysis of financial reports. The idea quickly caught on, supported by influential bodies such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. “However,” adds Servais, “since our 2004 project launch, the world has largely viewed XBRL as European, because of the numerous first-class XBRL projects here.”

The two-year project sought to accelerate the use of XBRL, by increasing awareness and creating user groups. These goals were timely, given the European Union’s emerging focus on competitiveness, growth and transparency – not to mention recent worldwide adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Indeed, according to Servais, “IFRS and XBRL make a sort of dream team!”

Driven by the project’s activities, the language is today widely adopted in Europe with at least one project in each EU Member State. The United Kingdom’s Inland Revenue, for example, accepts tax filings in XBRL. All Spanish public companies must now use it when filing with authorities and Belgian companies will follow suit from 2007.

The project organised 120 events across Europe to show how the format can improve people’s way of working. Of the 5,000 attendees, several were high-level regulators and national ministers, notes Servais.

He also highlights the creation of national working parties or ‘jurisdictions’ in eight European countries. Designed to reinforce XBRL use, they bring together public bodies and commercial companies and are led by a neutral, independent party such as a central bank. “This neutrality is important and was a major reason why the European Commission agreed to fund us,” he adds.

Early in the project, the partners built contact databases, an intranet and the website. These tools and the newsletter – now distributed to 3,500 people in Europe –strengthened the profile of XBRL. Though the project has ended, the website and newsletter will live on with jurisdiction funding.

Looking ahead, Servais expects most business vendors to have adopted XBRL by the decade’s end. He also believes the term will eventually disappear: “It will probably just be called business reporting, when everyone uses it.”

XBRL, a worldwide initiative, is being driven to a large extent by Europe. A new organisation known as XBRL Europe, registered in Belgium and part of the umbrella worldwide body XBRL International, will continue the project’s work. “Most people have now heard of XBRL,” says Servais, “so we’ll concentrate on its adoption and implementation, especially by organising training workshops throughout Europe.”

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/81075

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chipl devices
15.08.2017 | Brigham Young University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>