The Securities and Exchange Commission released a request for information on interactive financial data as part of its ongoing efforts to make financial disclosure more useful and accessible to investors.

Interactive data holds the promise of transforming the static, text-only documents that companies file with the SEC into dynamic financial reports that can be quickly and easily accessed and analyzed.

The information request asks for more information from the software industry about ways to receive, store, view and analyze interactive financial data. The SEC also wants ideas from the technology marketplace on how best to develop tools that will make interactive financial data a reality, believing that better software tools may also help accelerate the adoption of a new standard among issuers and investors.

"Potentially, computer-tagged data could provide real-time operational information for business managers," said Chairman Christopher Cox, in a statement. "And its instant availability would dramatically streamline and accelerate the collection and reporting of that same financial information to the commission and the public."

Since February, the SEC has been testing financial data tagging technology through a voluntary program that allows registrants to file periodic and investment company reports using interactive data. The program uses data based on Extensible Business Reporting Language -- a computer language that makes interactive financial data possible.The full text of the request for information is available at

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