Greater Accountability, Less Red Tape: The Australian Standard Business Reporting Experience

Greater Accountability, Less Red Tape: The Australian Standard Business Reporting Experience

Paul Madden (Department of the Treasury, Australia)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/jebr.2011040101
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Australian governments are early adopters of many electronic record-keeping and reporting systems, and the Australian Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Program evolves this further. This paper examines the evolution from government-centric technologies and standards to collaborative, open, and community standards-based systems. It describes the SBR Program as a case study in the development of seamless business-to-government reporting, which delivers significant reductions in reporting costs for business. The flexibility and universality of eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an important element in the SBR approach. The benefits to business and government reveal immediate and practical benefits that expand with the growing number of users of these standards and technologies. The open, collaborative processes that have been driven by the SBR Program are consistent with the current directions of e-government in various countries. Technology in government is interactive and viewed in terms of a complex adaptive system, which needs to grow, respond, and interact with systems used by businesses in the Australian and international communities. The use of XBRL in the SBR Program increases the integrity of data that is provided to multiple parties, eliminating the need to transform financial data in a business’s system to the various semantic differences currently imposed.
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A Public Sector Phase Shift

Projects solving problems in the public domain show a persistent tendency to spread across jurisdictions. This is the case with business and regulatory matters.

For fast-moving projects, the only way to manage planning and expectations in a timely, adaptive and effective way is to make use of all the electronic tools that the wider public and private sector are already using. Many government projects now involve multiple agencies. Jurisdictional, formal accountabilities, technical or perhaps personal differences can complicate cross-agency or even intra-agency projects. Stakeholder management and communications issues exist at all scales.

Over time, trends towards more iterative, consultative practices become refined and reflected in standards and reporting requirements.

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