Treasury can make better information available faster and at lower cost by leveraging the global movement to the use of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). This open global information standard is subject to robust validation and low-cost, continuous quality improvement. Australia and the Netherlands have government-wide adoption programs; the UK's HMRC is using it for tax reporting; the International Accounting Standards Board has used it since 2003; and the FDIC and SEC are using it here. The U.S. Treasury should publish its information in the same format, XBRL, that the U.S. government requires from all public companies, mutual funds, credit rating agencies (under a post-crisis rule), and banks. XML and other standards lack the capabilities to support updates without accompanying expensive software upgrades. They can't fully validate data submissions. Moreover, they lack the taxonomy creation discipline experience from the creation of the massive U.S. GAAP taxonomy. After that, any other XBRL project is easy. http://paulwilkinson.com/tag/xbrl/ has more information.
Idea No. 24