UK Open Data gains momentum

In a significant move that will take UK open data to another level, Companies House, the UK Business Register, is planning to make available its entire digital data, free of charge, starting second quarter 2015. Once this service goes live, it will give the public access to the digital records of over 3 million companies.

Underlining further the growing importance of open data, the topic will take centre stage during the UK Government’s annual ICT Conference taking place on 13th January at the QE2 conference centre in London.

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Open data becomes a reality

Open Data is a current hot topic. The UK government is committed to using digitisation to deliver more efficient public services. This week Companies House has announced that it will make its entire digital data available, free of charge, starting second quarter next year. In doing so, the UK will become the first country to create a truly open register of business information.  See the press release.

Companies House has already said that once the service goes live, the public will have free access to the digital records of over 3 million companies.

Since December 2013 Companies House has made newly received filings available online for free download. CoreFiling have packaged these up to provide a free search and query service with access to over 2 million iXBRL company accounts.

Access the CoreFiling service.

Thoughts on the XBRL Conference in Orlando

Under the banner headline Better Data for Better Decisions, a host of people interested in the issues around XBRL gathered recently in Orlando for the latest conference organised by XBRL International Inc. This post picks up on the main themes of the conference and the way in which it helps CoreFiling and other organisations deliver successful reporting programs.

One of the major conference themes was the way in which XBRL is now being refocused from a pure technology issue into real-world application of the technology. CoreFiling remain at the forefront of this drive for change, supporting the efforts of XII where we chair the Best Practices Board, and providing business focused tools, for example metadata-driven taxonomy management solutions such as the True North® DPM [Data Point Methodology].

This theme was picked up again during the Regulatory Implementation Workshop, which also focused on best practice, and featured insightful advice and guidance from regulators with first-hand experience of implementing XBRL, exploring topics such as Stakeholder Management, Building a Business Case, Data Quality and Taxonomy Management, Taxonomy Metadata and Taxonomy Change Management. CoreFiling’s close involvement in this workshop (providing the session moderator, facilitators and a panellist) is yet another illustration of how the company seeks to work closely with regulators, to understand their real-world issues and, in the process, to make sure that this insight informs the development of our solutions. Above all, our aim is to ensure that XBRL is used effectively so that users derive real business value.

Another session focused on iXBRL, the format devised by CoreFiling, and which continues to move from strength to strength. Success stories from HMRC and the FSA in Japan showed just what is possible when reports are created in iXBRL with the joint benefit of being human-readable and able to be consumed by computer systems.

Open data is a current hot topic, particularly now that the US President has signed into law the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) in an attempt to streamline and bring clarity to the interactions between governments and their citizens. While there is still much debate about how this will be achieved, there is a broad body of opinion that XBRL provides the only realistic option as a standard that will open up data to a wider audience.

In the UK we have already seen a very good example of this now that Companies House has created a daily XBRL feed. CoreFiling have also been active in this area, funding a research and development project to explore the potential of Open Data access to the iXBRL data. The results are now freely available, demonstrating how XBRL company data can easily be made accessible to the general public. Learn more.

Continuing along a related theme, aspects of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) were explored, including the role of public policy and the steps needed to achieve data harmonisation. Two of the highest profile SBR programs to date, Australia and the Netherlands, were well represented. CoreFiling are pleased to have provided XBRL technology to both.

Above all, the XII conference offered a chance to meet existing and potential clients and others interested in understanding more about XBRL and the market-leading software CoreFiling offer. And, this doesn’t have to mean embarking on an enormous project from scratch, as CoreFiling offer COTS (commercial-of-the-shelf) solutions to most of the common issues encountered by both regulators and filers. This means that clients can focus on their business requirements rather than deep technical considerations in their use of XBRL. One example of this is the processing of large instance documents, a key consideration as banks and insurance companies start to get to grips with the changing reporting requirements brought in by CRD IV and Solvency II directives. The products CoreFiling offer in this market, and beyond, not only provide a COTS solution for large instance processing, but also solve another thorny problem: how to render XBRL into human-readable form so that reports can be reviewed easily prior to sign off.

All in all, a highly successful and engaging conference.