Member Since: 2nd May 2002
9th Oct 2008
Maybe not a dodo, but definitely at a crossroads
The commercial viability of developing XBRL compliant software seems yet to be proved at the volume end of the market, where pressure on licence revenues is the highest. That is not to say XBRL is not being catered for in other parts of the market. For example, Oracle's Hyperion XBRL Manager and SAP's XBRL Publishing and Benchmarking tools are already in the marketplace.
However, those with vested interests on either side must appreciate that eventually commercial reality and the market will prevail. There is therefore a fantastic opportunity now for XBRL-UK, HMRC, Companies House and the software companies to work together to make XBRL a success. As David Forbes points out, the technology isn't complex to negotiate. Entrenched views, dogma and "all stick and no carrot" could however be fatal. Working together entails co-operation, discussion and the appreciation of each other's viewpoints.
At present, the benefits of XBRL as a medium are perceived as being weighted in favour of regulators and the authorities. It therefore falls on HMRC, XBRL-UK and others to assist with improving the standing of XBRL across the full spectrum of software vendors. In this context, Peter Calvert's comments are less than helpful. Likewise, software houses need to appreciate that the authorities are trying to achieve more within tight constraints and improving the services they offer will inevitably involve pushing further costs out to the business community. This shifting of cost may be acceptable if XBRL does indeed support greater efficiency in Government.
Irrespective of whether XBRL is a success, an unwanted but necessary obligation or an unmitigated disaster, I believe that an unwelcome outcome of the current movement will be further consolidation in the software market and the consequent loss of choice for the consumer.
Tax Automation Limited
11th Jul 2008
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