[April 12, 2000] See now: Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)
XFRML (Extensible Financial Reporting Markup Language) "will be the digital language of business. XFRML is a framework that will allow the financial community (companies, accountants, investors, bankers, industry analysts, regulators, and others) a standards-based method to prepare, publish in a variety of formats, exchange and analyze financial reports and the information they contain. XFRML, which will be free licensed, will also permit the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information among various software applications. The XFRML working group was begun by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). The XFRML working group is part of the Electronic Business Task Force of the AICPA."
XFRML is designed as "a framework of XML DTDs (document type definitions) which take advantage of XML for accounting - the language of business. This framework will allow development of many, many accounting and business related electronic tools. The first use the AICPA will make of XFRML framework is to develop XFRML for Financial Reporting, a specification for the creation periodic financial statements using XML."
Potential XFRML applications include: "(1) XFRML for Financial Statements - financial statements of all sorts used to exchange financial information. (2) XFRML for Authoritative Literature - a standard way for describing accounting related authoritative literature published by the AICPA, FASB, ASB, and others to make using these resources easier, 'drill downs' into literature from financials possible. (3) XFRML for Assurance Services - schedules which are used to transfer information from a client to their auditor/third party. (4) XFRML for General Ledger Transactions - general ledger transactions so that these transactions can be exchanged between disparate systems. (5) XFRML for Taxes - a specification for tax returns which are filed and information exchanged for items which end up on tax returns. (6) XFRML for Accounting and Business Reports - management and accounting reporting such as all the reports that are created by your accounting system rendered in XML to make re-using them possible."
"The following organizations have already [1999-08-31] joined this important effort: Arthur Andersen LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, KPMG LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, FRx Software Corporation, Great Plains, e-content (a division of Interleaf, Inc.), FreeEDGAR.com, Inc., EDGAR Online, Inc., The Woodburn Group, and Microsoft Corporation."
Press Release: "AICPA, Information Technology Companies, and Five Largest Accounting and Professional Service Firms Join Forces in Developing XML-Based Financial Reporting Language." [Announcement also from DowJones and AICPA.]
XFRML: XML Financial Reporting Markup Language Framework, Experimental Prototype DTD. Version .8.05 October 29, 1999. By Charles Hoffman, CPA, MBA. Formal Public Identifier: "-//AICPA//DTD XFRML 1.0//EN". [cache version]
"The XML Files." By Charles Hoffman, Christopher Kurt and Richard J. Koreto. Reprint from The Journal of Accountancy.
"The Electronic Dissemination of Accounting Information -- Resource Discovery, Processing and Analysis." By Roger Debreceny (Nanyang Technological University), Glen L. Gray (California State University at Northridge), and Tony Barry (Australian National University). For a copy of this paper, please contact Glen Gray.
[September 01, 1999] "US: Accountants Try to Harness the Internet." By Richard Waters. In Financial Times [London] (September 01, 1999). "The US accounting establishment has thrown its weight behind an internet technology that could eventually transform the online use of financial information about US companies. Provided it is able to win wide support in corporate America, the initiative would potentially make it much easier for investors and others to search for, and analyse, financial data over the internet. Using the new specification, known as XFRML, it would become possible to search for information across a range of companies with a single instruction and collate information from a number of sources, the AICPA said. The information could then be downloaded on to a spread sheet and be used to analyse and compare financial performance across a range of companies. The Big Five accounting firms, along with Microsoft and several other technology companies, have joined the development project."
[October 06, 1999] "FRx Software Announces Support For XML. Announcement Demonstrates Support for AICPA XML Initiative." - "FRx Software Corporation, a leading provider of financial reporting and analytic applications, today announced that its upcoming product release, code-named 'Vulcan,' will embrace the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) XFRML initiative to create standardized digital financial statement formats using XML (Extensible Markup Language). 'The XFRML initiative provides a framework that allows the financial community a standards-based method to prepare, publish in a variety of formats, reliably extract and automatically exchange financial reports and the information they contain,' said Louis Matherne, director of information technology from the AICPA. 'We are very pleased to have FRx supporting this initiative. Their position as leaders in financial reporting will contribute significantly to the adoption of the standard.' FRx's first XML output option will create a single, standard XML output file that can be viewed using FRx's DrillDown Viewer or any other browser that supports XML. This output option allows reports generated by either of FRx's applications to be shared with any other XML-aware application. The second option will create an XML output file exclusive to FRx's applications that is geared towards high performance and advanced viewing and drilling capabilities within the DrillDown Viewer. With the second option, users will be able to drill through corporate hierarchies as well as summary information to transaction detail. Both options will provide users with the ability to export the XML data to OLAP cubes, Lotus, Excel or ASCII file formats. The XML output functionality will be included in FRx's 'Vulcan' product, scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 1999."