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XBRL Experiences

Information Warehouse on Electronic Raw Data Reporting (ERDR)

XBRL Experiences

XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. XBRL is a cooperative effort to create a common business reporting language based on XML. I t is an open standard, free of licence fees.  This web protocol is being developed and promoted by an international not-for-profit consortium of more than 480 major international companies, organizations and government agencies.


XBRL is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data which is revolutionising business reporting around the world.  It claims to provide major benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information.  Its stated benefits include cost savings, greater efficiency and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data. (see www.xbrl.org )


The reason for using XBRL by statistical offices is to use the language already used by business. Within the statistical community, there are mixed views about its usefulness. Some countries have invested in this direction, while others think it is not much used by businesses. XBRL does not embed some of the statistical concepts, like hypercubes, time series, and metadata.


The following documents relate to this subject:


"Electronic Raw Data Reporting and XBRL"

Prepared by Olivier Servais, XBRL Europe, for the
UNECE/Eurostat Work Session on Electronic Raw Data Reporting
( Geneva, 6-8 November 2006).


Executive Summary


Based on the specifications provided by the XBRL Consortium, participants in different business reporting supply chains come together to agree on taxonomies, hierarchical business dictionaries of the terms, attributes and interrelationships of the concepts in different types of business reporting. One such taxonomy, the standardized Global Ledger (XBRL GL), is particularly focused on raw data. There are many barriers to analyzing information across different formats and representation; agreeing to represent all of the information in one normalized form using XML and especially XBRL overcomes many of these barriers immediately.

“The Dutch taxonomy project and XBRL Electronic Raw Data Reporting and XBRL”

Prepared by Johan Lammers, Statistics Netherlands, for the
UNECE/Eurostat Work Session on Electronic Raw Data Reporting ( Geneva, 6-8 November 2006).


Executive Summary


For efficient exchange of data, standardisation is of paramount importance. Efficient exchange of data requires semantic standardisation at a national and international level. Standardisation of both financial data and processes of exchange of data between businesses and government can increase the quality of reporting, reduce the time needed and reduce costs for multiple stakeholders. Statistics Netherlands is one of the stakeholders and plays an active role in the Dutch Taxonomy Project. Knowledge of the data to be exchanged, of the processes that accompany the exchange and the use of data and of the methods to use within these processes, help to play this role. This snapshot describes the state of play.

Luxembourg – the Central Balance Sheet Office and the XBRL project”

Power point presentation by Patricia Gonzalez, Statec, Luxembourg, for the
UNECE/Eurostat Work Session on Electronic Raw Data Reporting ( Geneva, 6-8 November 2006).


 Executive Summary

The Central Balance Sheet Office aim is

  • to collect data from non financial companies,
  • to analyse the data and establish statistics,
  • to disseminate the data to public and private users.

The presentation describes Luxembourg ’s use of XBRL and future plans.

“Using XBRL for Data Reporting”

Prepared by Merry Branson, Australian Bureau of Statistics, for the
UNECE/Eurostat Work Session on Electronic Raw Data Reporting ( Geneva , 13-15 February 2002).


Executive Summary


Over the years, a number of different mechanisms for exchanging data have been developed. Until the Internet and Extensible Markup Language (XML) these mechanisms tended to be proprietary or unique to the application or purpose for which each was created. eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is one of the many industry specific 'languages' of XML. XBRL hailed as 'the digital language of business' facilitates the reuse of information contained in business reports, providing structure and context for that information. The Australian Bureau of Statistics sees XBRL as the 'language' likely to succeed as the industry accepted 'business reporting language'.