ABS moves on business reporting standard

Project in collaboration with government financial departments

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will spend upwards of $500,000 developing an extensible business reporting language (XBRL) infrastructure to streamline information exchange with external organizations.

The ABS is participating in a federal government initiative called Standard Business Reporting (SBR) which is aimed at reducing the regulatory reporting burden for business.

The ABS is seeking offers for an XBRL taxonomy development environment (XTDE) and has budgeted between $300,000 and $500,000 for the task.

SBR is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional program led by the Treasury and involves the ABS, the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, and the offices of state revenue.

Based on overseas experience, and an "acceptance" by the accounting and financial services professions, XBRL has been selected for use within the SBR program.

XBRL taxonomies will be embedded within accounting software packages to allow the automated population of government forms based on financial and other information held in the software of the business.

"After user completion, editing and authorization, the resulting data will be submitted electronically to government," according to the ABS.

XBRL taxonomies used in the SBR project may be generated from an environment called the data definition repository. The core of the DDR will be a technology neutral metadata store, in which agency data and form definitions will be "collected and harmonized".

The ABS anticipates the need for three capabilities within the XTDE - a taxonomy editing environment, a taxonomy collaboration environment, and a taxonomy testing environment. These may be provided by separate tools, or may be integrated within a single tool.

The ABS will begin work on the project in February 2008.

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