Early in the summer of 2013, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada submitted a brief to the Finance Minister as part of the pre budget consultations that always predate the formulation of a new budget for the national government. Together, the two organizations represent most of the professional accountants in the country.

View this video explaining what SBR (Standard Business Reporting) is and why it is important: 

 In that brief, there were three major areas addressed, including a recommendation that the government explore the adoption of Standardized Business Reporting (SBR) using eXtensible Business Reporting (XBRL). This would be a major initiative under which all data being submitted to all departments would be in the same format. This approach would streamline the portability of data through and between the departments, and facilitate the automated analysis of such data. Several other countries are adopting this approach to data handling, including Australia and the Netherlands. Several EU and Asian countries are moving in that direction and the US Data Act contains elements of a similar approach.

All business people these days recognize the value of data. Indeed, business models are being redefined around the world to adapt to the new world of big data and data analytics. The proliferation of big systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems and Business Intelligence (BI) has led to the development of massive amounts of data. And, of course, the growth of social media, increasingly combined with mobile units like smartphones and tablets, has expanded the volumes of data to unprecedented levels. Now, business has available to it details of their customer movements, purchases, likes and dislikes, location and much more all of which present incredible business opportunities.

Finding ways to access, assimilate and analyze these data has led, for example, to extensions of the traditional CRM systems to become Social CRM, and BI Systems to Big Data Analytics. In fact, entire businesses are extending their business models to become Social Businesses. This has major implications for the strategic and managerial imperatives of those businesses, possibly, according to some futurists, rendering the flat organization as obsolete as the old pyramid structures and perhaps leading to the elimination of many C-Suite positions.

In short, it’s difficult to overplay the importance of data in the modern world.

Handling all of these data remains a challenge, especially across platforms, and one of the approaches is to try to standardize the data such that it can be easily transported and consumed. SBR is a way to standardize business oriented data. Starting with data that needs to be shared between business and government organizations is a logical and viable place to start.

In December, 2013, the House of Commons Finance Committee issued its report on the pre-budget consultations and picked up on this recommendation regarding SBR using XBRL. It now remains for the Minister to consider it for the budget release expected in March, 2014.

In the meantime, a group formed in Ottawa by XBRL Canada and consisting of some of its members along with representatives of several government departments began working on a feasibility study for SBR among government departments. This study was positive and provided further information as to the opportunities and issues involved in implementing XBRL/SBR in the Canadian Government.

The XBRL Canada Ottawa group was then disbanded and SBR left with the departments to address.

For further information on the activities involving SBR, please contact at any time.

SBR in Other Countries

SBR has been implemented in Australia and in the Netherlands. Numerous other countries have implemented in in part and others are considering it.

Link to SBR Australia: 

Link to SBR Netherlands: 

 The use of XBRL is growing quickly around the world. The best source of information about XBRL around the world is the website of XBRL International. For a list of current projects, please review the LISTING maintained by XBRL International.

XBRL International is comprised of jurisdictions (such as XBRL Canada) which represent countries, regions or international bodies and which focus on the progress of XBRL in their area. Current jurisdictions, with contacts, are listed on the Jurisdictions page of the XBRL International site.

A range of national and international bodies and groupings also maintain a strong interest and close liaison with XBRL. They include various organisations representing regulators, banks, stock exchanges and industry bodies.