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XBRL Gets $39 Million Boost

The federal government in US announced that a $39 million contract has been awarded to McLean, Virginia-based Unisys Corporation to create an Internet-based business reporting language process – known as XBRL – for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Unisys' XBRL development team includes Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Edgar Online. XBRL is being globally adopted by a consortium of more than 170 companies and regulatory bodies that is led by the American Institute of CPAs.

The new model is the first big step to modernize the collection of bank data. It will be phased in through 2004 and will consolidate the collection, editing and access of quarterly bank financial reports into a central data repository, which will be accessible by banking regulators, financial institutions and the public.

Pilot projects over the next 18 months will be conducted by the FDIC, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Office of the Comptroller to define data standards, streamline the collection and validation of the data, and prepare for the rollout.

The 10-year, fixed price contract includes short-term systems development and long-term operating costs.

Earlier this month at an investment industry forum in New York, a panel of XBRL experts discussed how this new standard of corporate reporting will revolutionize the investment management industry, and urged global acceptance of the reporting language.

“High-profile corporate failures have heavily underscored the need for consistency and clarity in the way companies report to investors and financial markets,” said Thomas Barrett, partner and global leader for XBRL-enabled Corporate Reporting Services at PwC. “The future standard of corporate reporting will use XBRL, a universal Internet language that gives us the means to present transparent data, driving out the market rumor, suspicion and guesswork of the past.”

XBRL is rated the top technology trend by PricewaterhouseCoopers' most recent Technology Forecast.

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