U.S. Federal Agencies Ready to Leap Into XBRL Use

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By Denise Lugo

Aug. 10 — U.S. federal agencies are getting ready to greatly expand their use of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) after observing how XBRL has made inroads within the U.S. banking sector as a standardized way to submit data, according to a panel discussion in New York held by the American Accounting Association.

The U.S. Treasury Department, for example, is gearing up to get federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and others to use XBRL to submit data reports.

Data in Standardized Format

The growing usage of XBRL has been heavily influenced by the 2014 Data Accountability and Transparency Act, which mandates that data be reported in a standardized format, according to the panel discussion. The goal of a standardized format is to ensure the reporting of reliable, consistent federal spending data for public use.

“Use of a standardized format to report data will provide more accountability on how tax dollars are being spent,” XBRL US's President and CEO Campbell Pryde told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 10.

Banks Use XBRL to Issue Call Reports

The banking sector, about a decade ago, started implementing XBRL as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) mandated banks file their Call Reports using XBRL data. Call Reports are quarterly reports all FDIC insured banks are required to file with their primary regulator. The reports have to be filed between 30 to 45 days after the end of each quarter.

“The FDIC saved millions of dollars having all the banks report to them in this very standardized format,” panel moderator Glen Gray, professor at California State University, said during the discussion. “That sometimes gets lost in these discussions,” he said.

Financial Reporting Usage

XBRL has also made huge strides in financial reporting for public companies. Similar to the FDIC, the Securities and Exchange Commission also mandates public companies to use XBRL for filing their 10-Ks and 10-Qs. Mutual funds also have to report in XBRL.

In June, the SEC said it would allow companies to file structured financial statement data in a format known as inline XBRL (12 APPR 12, 6/17/16). Inline XBRL allows a company to incorporate XBRL tags into its HTML-formated financial statements rather than filing a separate exhibit.

60 Regulators Globally Use it

Global use of XBRL also is substantial, practitioners say.

Overall, over 60 regulators globally have either adopted or are in the processing of using XBRL. these include: the Netherlands, the European Union, the U.K., Australia, Japan, Korea, India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

To contact the reporter on this story: Denise Lugo in New York, dlugo@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ali Sartipzadeh at asartipzadeh@bna.com

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