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Extensible Financial Reporting Markup Language (XFRML)

AICPA, Information Technology Companies, and Five Largest Accounting and Professional Service Firms Join Forces in Developing XML-Based Financial Reporting Language

NEW YORK, NY. August 30, 1999.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), six information technology companies, and the five largest accounting and professional services firms are developing an XML-based specification for the preparation and exchange of financial reports and data. The announcement was made today by the AICPA.

Through this project, these organizations are seeking to improve access and lower distribution costs for financial information.

The specification, which is currently called XFRML (for "XML-based Financial Reporting Markup Language"), will be the digital language of business. This is a framework that will allow the financial community 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 freely licensed, will also permit the automatic exchange and reliable extraction of financial information among various software applications.

In addition to the AICPA, the project working group now includes the five largest accounting and professional services firms (Arthur Andersen LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, KPMG LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP); two accounting software market-related companies (FRx Software Corporation, Great Plains); the e-content company, a division of Interleaf, Inc., and a leader in the delivery of XML-based content management solutions for e-business applications;, Inc./EDGAR Online, Inc., leading distributors of financial information over the Internet; and The Woodburn Group, a middle-market business information-systems consultant. In addition, Microsoft Corporation, developer of the BizTalk framework, is a member of the working group.

"We're committed to improving the accessibility of financial information," said Barry Melancon, President and CEO of the AICPA. "Accounting is the language of business, and XFRML will make it easier to share information expressed in that language by permitting computer applications to understand our vocabulary. We encourage others to join this important effort."

The AICPA has created an XFRML web site ( that includes a draft specification, background information, prototypes and a mechanism to provide input to the project team. A prototype XML-based set of financial statements is currently in use by Great Plains to present its 1998 financial results on the company's web site (

"While sharing business information has always been necessary, it has been a significant challenge," said Robert Elliott, incoming Chair of the AICPA and a partner at KPMG. "XML will revolutionize the way financial information is communicated, accessed and used."

"XML is a core component of Microsoft's strategy," said Paul Maritz, Microsoft's Group Vice President, Developer Group. "XFRML is a natural extension of XML."

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a self-describing, platform-independent, expandable and standardized method of exchanging information of all sorts. It is designed to work well over the Internet. XML can be used independently or incorporated into other computer applications that require flexible information sharing. XFRML will make use of XML to create the language for financial reporting.

The AICPA is the national professional association of CPAs, with over 330,000 members in business and industry, public practice, government and education. The AICPA sets U.S. auditing standards and, along with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), U.S. accounting standards. The AICPA is the first national, professional membership organization to be ISO 9001-certified, in recognition of its quality management and assurance practices.


AICPA, New York
Joel Allegretti
Tel: 212/596-6111

Prepared by Robin Cover for the The SGML/XML Web Page archive. See also the announcement on the AICPA Web site.

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