The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that 17 companies -- compared to nine under an initiative launched last year -- have already agreed to participate in a new pilot program to use interactive data in their financial statement filings.

The companies, including Microsoft Corp., will help the agency explore how new Internet-based reporting technologies can improve the financial reporting process for investors, financial intermediaries, the SEC and the companies themselves.

The pilot program will enable the participating companies to determine the benefits of using interactive data, provide feedback to the Commission and enable investors and analysts to assess new techniques for analyzing interactive data reports submitted to the SEC in Extensible Business Reporting Language. XBRL is a technology that tags financial information through disparate applications and carries it through the business reporting chain .

Other members of the 2006 test group include: 3M Co.; Altria Group Inc.; the Brazilian Petroleum Corp.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.; the Dow Chemical Co.; Pfizer Inc.; United Technologies Corp.; Xerox Corp.; and, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

For participants in the test group, the Commission has guaranteed expedited reviews of registration statements and annual reports.

The SEC's Office of the Chief Accountant also selected two professional accounting fellows for two-year terms beginning in June 2006. They are:

  • Sandie E. Kim, a senior manager in Deloitte & Touche's National Office Accounting Consultation Group based in San Francisco, Calif.; and,
  • Josh K. Jones, a senior manager in Ernst & Young Atlanta practice office.

The newly selected fellows will be involved in the study and development of rule proposals under the federal securities laws, liaison with the professional accounting and auditing standards-setting bodies, and consultation with registrants on accounting and reporting matters.

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