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IASC and XBRL

XBRL.org Committee Press Release, London, 21 Feb. 2001

During its first global meeting this week in London, the XBRL.org Committee announced that one of its member organizations, the London-based International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), has released a draft taxonomy of XBRL for Financial Statements to members of XBRL.org for review. The IASC plans to release its taxonomy for public comment shortly. The IASC taxonomy is an XML-based specification for the `Commercial and Industrial' sector that allows users and suppliers of financial information to exchange financial statements across all software and technologies, including the Internet. Expected to be final in the next few months, the IASC taxonomy, which is based on International Accounting Standards, will help many countries, including those in Europe and Asia, to develop and implement XBRL for financial statements.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW), also a member of the XBRL.org Committee, has formed a broad-based steering group in London that is in the process of developing the UK taxonomy for financial statements.

"Many countries in Europe and Asia are using International Accounting Standards today," said Sir Brian Carsberg, Secretary General, IASC. "XBRL will enhance the transition to full alignment for those countries currently using their local standards to transition to International Accounting Standards. XBRL incorporates standardized data tags, thereby giving a consistent approach and application of the specification to a particular country's accounting principles."

"Companies tagging their financial statements in XBRL can immediately realize some of its major benefits: a streamlined financial reporting process, technology independence, full interoperability, and reliable extraction of financial information," said Mike Willis, XBRL.org Committee Chair. `"And XBRL does not require a company to disclose any additional information beyond that which it normally discloses in its current financial statements. Costs for a user to implement XBRL will be minimal since its functionality is being built into software technology and operating procedures, allowing increased flexibility to prepare and extract financial statements according to the accounting principles of different geographies and national jurisdictions."

XBRL offers several key benefits: technology independence, full interoperability, efficient preparation of financial statements and reliable extraction of financial information. Information is entered only once, allowing that same information to be rendered in any form, such as a printed financial statement, an HTML document for the company's Web site, filing documents with government entities, a raw XML file or other specialized reporting formats such as credit reports or loan documents.

Adds Willis, "XBRL will allow us to electronically import or output globally standardized statements, eliminating the need for redundant data entry while simplifying usability of the information."

"We're excited to be the first public company to adopt and utilize XBRL in our financial statements," said David Moser, managing director of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. "XBRL gives us two significant benefits -- it leverages the efficiencies of the Internet by allowing greater access to and analysis by information, and it allows MSDW to streamline the preparation and distribution of our financial information, saving Company time and resources. We believe XBRL is a powerful shareholder relations tool and will help all members of the financial information supply chain."

Interest in the XBRL specification has expanded internationally with the advent of other XML-based tools and solutions being used by various industry sector groups to exchange information across disparate systems and software formats.

Members of the XBRL.org Committee represent the largest financial, accounting and technology organizations from around the world. XBRL.org membership exceeds 85 organizations and is expanding as industry sectors and foreign jurisdictions begin development of XBRL specifications for financial and other business reporting.

For more information about XBRL, please visit http://www.xbrl.org.

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