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Created: June 21, 2001.
News: Cover StoriesPrevious News ItemNext News Item Releases 'XBRL for General Ledger' and W3C XML Schema Version of Financial Statements Specification. recently announced the release of 'XBRL for General Ledger' for public comment, along with a new version of the 'XBRL for Financial Statements' specification. The XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language) initiative "is a worldwide effort to develop a common framework for using XML for business reports such as financial statements, bank loans, credit reports and tax filings." The enhanced XBRL Financial Statements "harmonizes with the new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) XML Schema to better align itself with initiatives of the W3C and other XML organizations and share technology and tools. The new XBRL for General Ledger specification "is an agreement on how to represent accounting and after-the-fact operational information and transfer it to and from a data hub or communicate it in a data stream. It incorporates the UN Standard Messages ENTREC (Journal) and LEDGER. Users of XBRL for General Ledger will be able to more easily bridge the gap between operational, off-site or outsourced systems and their back office accounting and reporting systems. XBRL for General Ledger is currently designed to meet international accounting requirements and allow an extensible, flexible, multi-national solution to exchange data required by internal finance, accountants, creditors, banks or other audiences across all software formats that can be brought into and out of accounting systems and reported using XBRL. It will also allow the future linkage of XML development on the transactional level to the general ledger level as such frameworks are developed. Working in alliance with the UN/EDIFACT Working Group (EWG) this Joint EWG Accounting, Auditing, Registration and Financial Information Services (EWG sub working group D14) and effort is focused on the urgent need to fill the gap between e-business and e-accounting and overcome the inefficiencies of disparate, non-integrated and outsourced accounting and financial systems by using the power of XML." XBRL for General Ledger has been released for a ninety-day feedback period, from June 18, 2001 to September 17, 2001. UML models for the specification are to be released soon.

From 'XBRL General Ledger: Executive Summary And Strategic Overview':

XBRL GL is chart-of-accounts independent. It does not require a standardized chart of accounts to gather information, but it can be used to tie legacy charts of accounts and accounting detail to a standardized chart of accounts to increase communications within a business about what needs to be measured and why.

XBRL GL is reporting independent. It collects general ledger and after-the-fact receivables, payables, inventory and other non-financial facts, and then permits the representation of that information using traditional summaries and through flexible links to XBRL for reporting. As XBRL GL does not assume financial reporting or any specific type of output, it becomes an important repository for future metrics such as ValueReporting. Systems to do ValueReporting can reduce their development time using XBRL GL as part of their development process.

XBRL GL is system independent. Any developer can create import and export routines to convert its information to XBRL GL format, or our firm can help develop tools to do so. This means that accounting software developers need only consider one design for their XML import/export file formats. Application service providers (ASPs) can offer to supply XBRL import and output so end users can more easily use their own data. Companies developing operational products, such as point of sale systems or job costing, or reporting tools can link with many accounting products without needing specialized links to each one.

XBRL GL is based on XML. XML is the future of data, as seen by recent announcements from all of the major software developers. The openness and power of XML will enable new products and services, and make possible new management real time dashboards, as well as the future of tools such as continuous audit 'bots, which monitor the accounting data streams from various places, with triggers and alarms for auditing by exception.

XBRL GL permits consolidation. Popular low-end products, like Quickbooks, and mid-market solutions are not designed to facilitate consolidating data from multiple organizations. XBRL GL can help transfer the general ledger from one system to another, be used to combine the operations of multiple organizations, or bring data into tools that will do the consolidation.

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