XBRL US Municipal Beat Podcast on Data Standards

Posted on July 24, 2020 by Editor

The Covid-19 crisis has made it clear how important it is to be able to quickly access and interpret data in a rapidly moving market. While public companies in the US report XBRL-tagged financial information to the SEC quarterly, making up-to-date data relatively easy to analyse, municipal data is much harder to find.

On a recent episode of the Municipal Beat Podcast, XBRL US member Liz Sweeney, of Nutshell Associates, discussed how data standards could improve state and local government reporting and data analysis.

Currently, US municipal data is siloed across vast databases of PDF documents. It’s hard to access, cumbersome to analyse, and the data needs to be arduously re-entered manually before use.
Sweeney helped create a sample taxonomy for municipal data that demonstrates how introducing reporting standards would increase municipal reporting efficiency for users and preparers.

Data standards allow users to automatically extract and analyse data, and enable the use of modern analytic tools like AI and Machine Learning. For issuers, standards improve efficiency and accuracy, allow for the use of validation rules to check quality, and cut duplicative reporting.

Food for thought for governments right around the world: there is a pressing need to better understand the fiscal situation of the public sector at all levels.

To listen to Liz Sweeney outline why – and how – municipal governments should move to more efficient, structured reporting, listen to the podcast here.

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