A plan for local businesses and government agencies to smoothly communicate business information via computers has taken another step forward with imminent agreement on the terms of classification.
A formal "taxonomy" of the entities, relationships and calculations for doing business in New Zealand is almost complete, says the co-chair of the country's XBRL steering committee, Grant Boyd.
The taxonomy is an essential step in the encouragement of XBRL, the XML-like extensible business reporting language, as a standard way for organisations to communicate information to one another through their computer systems.
New Zealand's XBRL taxonomy, involving more than 2800 elements, has been developed by the steering committee in collaboration with local industry and accounting firms. It now requires only a final ratification by the "big four" accountancy companies before it can move into use.
The champions of the language, a set of representations adding meaning to basic data, say it eases communication and particularly lightens the compliance burden of businesses in reporting to the public and government agencies such as Inland Revenue (IRD).
The steering committee intends to discuss with IRD the possibility of incentives to business who file tax returns in XBRL, in recognition of its role in easing the department's own burden. If IRD systems are set up to understand XBRL there should be no need to re-key information it receives from businesses, as is extensively done now.
New Zealand will be hosting the 9th international XBRL conference, in Auckland, from May 9 to 14.