The House passed two bills earlier this month with provisions related to the use of Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, the interactive data-tagging technology that the SEC has begun requiring large public companies to use when filing their financial statements.

H.R. 2392, the Government Information Transparency Act, contains provisions to simplify mandatory financial reports for companies receiving federal funds by having federal agencies collect the data in a uniform, searchable format using XBRL. H.R. 2392 calls on the White House to issue rules within 18 months that direct every agency to use the same financial data format, XBRL. The measure, which the House passed on Dec. 14, would require companies to file activity reports to agencies in XBRL and order agencies to ensure the public can view the standardized financial information.

H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the sweeping legislation reforming the financial regulatory system that the House passed Dec. 11, also encourages the use of XBRL. The bill makes it easier to scrutinize the complex financial results of public companies provided to government regulators such as the SEC and banking regulators. The legislation states that financial market regulators must report to Congress for the next five years on how they are “encouraging the use and acceptance of interactive data” to increase transparency in financial reporting.


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