The American Institute of CPAs has expressed its support for the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which would establish government-wide financial data standards for federal funds.
The AICPA commended the sponsors of the bill for including a requirement for the use of a data standard like Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, to tag financial data.
A version of the DATA Act for the House, H.R. 2061, was approved on a voice vote Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is expected to come up before the House for a vote. A companion bill has also been introduced in the Senate as S. 994.
The AICPA said that using data standards to tag financial data would enhance the accuracy and transparency of financial and performance information. By using consistent data standards, the Treasury would be able to improve the ability of the federal government and the public to analyze information from federal agencies, providing greater transparency in federal spending.
XBRL has been used for several years at some government agencies. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation uses the technology for call reports. Public companies are also required to file their financial reports in XBRL format with the Securities and Exchange Commission with the help of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy. XBRL use is also expanding at state governmental agencies.
Outside the U.S., XBRL is being leveraged to reduce the compliance reporting burden and enhance the usability and transparency of reported information. The International Accounting Standards Board and the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation promote their own XBRL-formatted IFRS Taxonomy.
The AICPA is urging members of Congress to support legislation calling for a single data standard for the entire government so federal departments and agencies are not left behind.