Governments, standard setters, regulators, and analysts encouraged to provide input
XBRL US, a nonprofit standards organization, and the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, announced the publication of digital financial data standards for local government reporting entities, that can be used to transform paper-based financial statements and footnotes into machine-readable data. The digital standards, called a taxonomy, cover seven financial statements and four footnotes from the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR), as well as two Michigan-specific reports required to be prepared by local entities. In addition to taxonomy development, the project includes a pilot with the City of Flint, MI to provide the tools and support needed to render financials in their Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports, fully searchable and machine-readable. The pilot project with the city of Flint was made possible through a grant to the University of Michigan from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
“Transparency into local government fiscal health is needed to handle challenges communities in Michigan and around the country encounter today, from pandemic- and infrastructure-related costs, to economic issues like inflation,” said Stephanie Leiser, CLOSUP’s Local Fiscal Health Project leader, “Open data standards generate financial data that will help local entities respond faster, and have the information to make better policy decisions.”
During the 60-day public review period, set to end on August 15, 2022, participants have access to the digital standards for government reporting (taxonomy) in an online viewer and in downloadable form, sample machine-readable financial reports, and instructions on how to review and participate. The ACFR Taxonomy includes government-wide, governmental funds, and proprietary fund statements, as well as footnotes for pension, OPEB, capital assets, and long-term debt. The taxonomy covers all concepts needed for the Michigan Chart of Accounts, in addition to separate entry points (sections of the taxonomy) for the Michigan Form F-65, Local Unit Fiscal Report, and Michigan Form 5572, Retirement System Annual Report.
The ACFR Taxonomy was developed through the work of the XBRL US Standard Government Reporting Working Group, which is composed of municipal securities analysts, academics in government accounting, research analysts, and tool providers that support government financial reporting. Members of the working group contributed resources and expertise to build the taxonomy and supporting materials. Applications for taxonomy development and review were contributed by CoreFiling, Ltd. XBRL creation tools were contributed by IRIS Business Services LLC and Workiva Inc.
“Our working group was launched in 2018 and we developed three separate releases of the ACFR Taxonomy solely through the volunteer efforts of our members. The partnership with CLOSUP has allowed us to greatly expand on that work to build a commercial-grade taxonomy. The work in Michigan can easily be transferred to other states with a similar focus on transparency,” said Marc Joffe, Senior Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation, and Chair of the XBRL US Standard Government Working Group.
Public review materials can be found here: https://xbrl.us/xbrl-taxonomy/2022-acfr/