A New Standard in Town

XBRL for the General Ledger to meet European and U.S. requirements

NEW YORK -- May 16, 2001 -- XBRL.org announced today that it is forming an alliance with the UN/EDIFACT WORKING GROUP (EWG) to jointly develop XBRL for the General Ledger to meet both European and United States requirements.

The XBRL 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. EDIFACT's involvement means XBRL for the General Ledger has the potential to become the US and European accredited standard.  

This Joint EWG Accounting, Auditing, Registration and Financial Information Services and XBRL.org (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) effort is focused on the 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.

XBRL for the General Ledger is an agreement on how to represent accounting and after-the-fact operation information and transfer it to and from a data hub or communicate it in a data stream. This new work incorporates the UN Standard Messages ENTREC and LEDGER, which EDIFICAS Europe developed and proved cost effective and helpful in years of actual use and through the Y2K problem. Users of XBRL for the 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 the General Ledger has the potential to unleash information needed for internal financial and managerial reporting by entities around the world and to facilitate the development of new systems for the business metrics of tomorrow by leveraging current company investments in EDI.

"This expansive XBRL for the General Ledger initiative will make possible for a factory in Cincinnati to send accounting information over the Web to operations in Paris or Cape Town, just like they send them to Atlanta or St. Louis," says Louis Matherne, co-chair of XBRL.org and Director of Business Assurance and Advisory Services for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Matherne adds, "By working together with UN/EDIFACT and basing the effort on XBRL, we can reach our goal of a unified business reporting standard."

XBRL also agreed to join forces with the UN/EDIFACT for the definition and validation of a set of protocol-neutral accounting terms valid within both the UN/EDIFACT and the XBRL business processes. This single set of accounting definitions would be the basis for future developments with new and emerging technologies, and would be submitted for inclusion into the UN/EDIFACT and XBRL initiative.