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AICPA Leads Global XBRL Initiative

AICPA Leads Global XBRL Initiative to Facilitate the Exchange of Financial Statements Across All Technologies, Including the Internet

United Effort Brings Global Financial, Accounting and Software Communities Together to Create First XML-Based Specification Developed for Financial Statements

NEW YORK. April 6, 2000.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) announced today that as one of several sponsors of the international XBRL Project Committee, it is helping to develop and launch XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language). XBRL for Financial Statements, formerly code named XFRML, is a free, new XML-based specification that uses accepted financial reporting standards and practices to exchange financial statements across all software and technologies, including the Internet.

The AICPA has been working with several companies for more than a year to develop the XBRL framework. The Institute spearheaded this initiative because as the U.S. standards-setting body for the accounting profession (along with the Financial Accounting Standards Board), it has the infrastructure, knowledge, training and credibility necessary to secure adoption of XBRL by participants in the financial information supply chain. The AICPA also represents some of the primary users and preparers of financial statements for both public and private companies.

Members of the XBRL Project Committee represent the global financial, accounting and software and communities from around the world. XBRL for Financial Statements, developed by the Committee as the first product in a future family of XBRL-based products, is currently under review for comments by any interested party with the financial information supply chain and is anticipated to reach the market in July 2000. XBRL streamlines the financial information supply chain that includes public and private companies, the accounting profession, data aggregators, the investment community and all other users of financial statements.

"As an important participant in the financial information supply chain, the accounting profession supports the global adoption of XBRL because it greatly benefits all users of financial information," said Robert Elliot, Chairman of the AICPA " XBRL solves two significant problems for users and preparers of financial statements by providing efficient preparation and reliable extraction of financial data across all technology formats, including the Internet. Costs to implement XBRL will be minimal for CPA firms and their clients since it will be built into software technology and operating procedures, allowing increased flexibility to prepare and extract statements according to the accounting principles of different geographies and jurisdictions."

XBRL offers several key benefits: technology independence, full interoperability, efficient preparation of financial statements and reliable extraction of financial information. Information is entered only once, allowing that same information to be rendered in any form, such as a printed financial statement, an HTML document for the company's Web site, an EDGAR filing document with the SEC, a raw XML file or other specialized reporting formats such as credit reports or loan documents.

More than 80% of major US public companies provide some type of financial disclosure on the Internet. Investors and users of the Internet need accurate and reliable financial information that can be delivered promptly to help them make informed financial decisions. XBRL meets these needs and is particularly important in delivering financial information via the Internet, including at a company's Web site. XBRL leverages efficiencies of Internet as today's primary source of financial information by making Web browser searches more accurate and relevant for all users of financial information.

"XBRL helps companies, analysts, investors and other audiences to make better informed financial and management decisions and to leverage the capabilities of the Internet to facilitate the exchange of financial information," said Barry Melancon, President and CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "XBRL provides an efficient and reliable means of information exchange without changing existing accounting standards. And, because it is based upon standardized, underlying data tags, XBRL does not require a company to disclose any additional information beyond that which it normally discloses in its current financial statements."

The AICPA joins over 30 other companies and organizations on the XBRL Project Committee. Participants include: Arthur Andersen LLP; Best Software; CaseWare International; Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants; Cohen Computer Consulting; Crowe, Chizek and Company, LLP; Deloitte & Touche, LLP; e-content, a division of Interleaf, Inc.; EDGAR Online, Inc.; epartners; Epicor Software Corporation; Ernst & Young, LLP; FRx Software Corporation; Grant Thornton LLP; Great Plains; Hyperion; International Accounting Standards Committee; IBM; Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia; Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; Institute of Management Accountants; KPMG, LLP; Lawson Software; Microsoft Corporation; Morgan Stanley Dean Witter; Navision Software; Oracle Corporation; PPA GmbH; PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP; Reuters Group LP; Sage Software; SAP AG; Standard & Poor's; and The Woodburn Group.

For more information about XBRL, please visit, formerly known as

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants ( is the ISO 9001 certified national professional organization of CPAs in the United States with more than 330,000 members in public practice, business and industry, government, and education.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. For references, see: "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)."

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