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03-11-2015 01:45 PM

I found a recent report card on Freedom of Information Act performance by some government agencies an interesting argument for more data transparency - one of the agencies in David's story is Health and Human Services, which unfortunately was awarded an "F" in how responsive it was to FOIA requests. I just wonder if perhaps interactive data will provide a public service at a lower cost in this era of greater need and request for information about the government's activities. Anytime someone builds up $16+ Trillion in debt, I'm interested in the details, since it's partly "my money" and that of future generations. XBRL could continue to serve a public good.
The article to which I refer is

TechTalk Blog: The Status of the DATA Act & How it Can Revolutionize Government Reporting Using Possibly XBRL

By David Colgren posted 03-07-2015 10:53 AM


Great background article from Nextgov about the DATA ACT and the upcoming May 9, 2015 deadline that calls on the US Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to adopt a government-wide data standard for all federal spending information and moving this tagged data into an Open Data format Cloud platform for public consumption and analysis. We can expect all sorts of apps to be built-off the national platform that will include agency financial payments, budget, grant and contract information. City, state and federal agencies will all be involved in this effort to standardize data for public consumption for what I refer to as “Citizen Regulators” overseeing taxpayer dollars for public benefit. 

This action is similar to XBRL actions related to Standard Business Reporting now used in several countries including China for interoperability of critical government information across silo agencies. For enhanced government performance and oversight.  

Under the DATA Act, after Treasury & OMB agree on a common data standard -- federal agencies will have two years to start reporting their financial information in hopefully the XBRL data format.  We will provide information as it comes available.   This effort creating a common data format so tagged information can be computer-readable could be a potential opportunity for management accountants involved in government reporting and will spawn a new sector of accounting IT professionals.  As one of the founding members of the XBRL Consortium the IMA has been a big supporter of the DATA ACT

The US Comptroller General spoke last week before the US Senate Budget Committee about current abuses in government spending because of the lack of transparency and accountability and he personally indicated that he wanted to take an active role in the implementation of the DATA Act. 

The US Health & Human Services Department indicated to the press recently that the agency will be piloting the Data Act implementation for US social program transparency and accountability.

Stay tuned. Our committee has some of the leading experts in this area and we will continue to provide updates as this unfolds. 


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