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GLEIF and XBRL International Deepen Collaboration to Drive Forward Digital Entity Identification and Business Reporting

GLEIF Head of Standards Karla McKenna has been elected to the Board of Directors of XBRL International


Author: Stephan Wolf

  • Date: 2019-03-21
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In a recent press release, XBRL International, the not-for-profit standards development organization for the digital business reporting standard, announced that Karla McKenna, Head of Standards at the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), has been elected to its Board of Directors.

The purpose of XBRL International is to improve the accountability and transparency of business performance globally, by providing the open data exchange standard for business reporting. The standards are used by more than 130 regulators in more than 70 countries to collect high quality, reliable and timely digital business information from millions of companies around the world. XBRL International is the standards development organization behind the freely-licensed XBRL specifications.

Karla is an international standards specialist in the financial services area. Well known as the immediate past-Chair of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee for Financial Services (ISO/TC 68), she followed the development of the ISO standard for the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) by contributing directly to GLEIF as Head of Standards from May 2015. Karla has been involved with the XBRL community since 2009, firstly through her work on ISO standards, as well as during a previous term as a member of the Board of Directors.

Robert Tarola, Chair of XBRL International’s Board of Directors, said: “We warmly welcome Karla back to the Board. She brings extremely valuable experience to the role. Her election also helps us deepen our existing and very important collaboration with GLEIF.”

Driving forward digital entity identification and business reporting with the LEI and XBRL

GLEIF considers the connections between the LEI and the XBRL standard to be a natural and very relevant part of the global regulatory architecture, bringing globally unique identification together with the digitization of performance and risk reports of all kinds. GLEIF and XBRL International therefore, have joined forces to maximize benefits that stakeholders in both the public and private sectors can derive from digital entity identification and business reporting.

The LEI offers a one-stop approach to identifying legal entities, which has the potential to take the complexity out of business transactions. Via the Global LEI Index, GLEIF makes available the largest online source that provides open, standardized and high quality legal entity reference data. No other global and open entity identification system has committed to a comparable strict regime of regular data verification.

Integrating the LEI into other entity verification methods such as digital certificates will allow anyone to easily connect all records associated with an organization, and identify who owns whom. By becoming the common link, the LEI will provide certainty of identity in any online interaction, making it easier for everyone to participate in the global digital marketplace.

XBRL is the open international standard for digital business reporting. On its website, XBRL International points out: “Millions of XBRL documents are created every year, replacing older, paper-based reports with more useful, more effective and more accurate digital versions. In a nutshell, XBRL provides a language in which reporting terms can be authoritatively defined. Those terms can then be used to uniquely represent the contents of financial statements or other kinds of compliance, performance and business reports. XBRL lets reporting information move between organizations rapidly, accurately and digitally.”

“The change from paper, PDF and HTML based reports to XBRL ones is a little bit like the change from film photography to digital photography, or from paper maps to digital maps. The new format allows you to do all the things that used to be possible, but also opens up a range of new capabilities because the information is clearly defined, platform-independent, testable and digital. Just like digital maps, digital business reports, in XBRL format, simplify the way that people can use, share, analyze and add value to the data.”

“The international XBRL consortium is supported by more than 600 member organizations, from both the private and public sectors. The standard has been developed and refined over more than a decade and supports almost every kind of conceivable reporting, while providing a wide range of features that enhance the quality and consistency of reports, as well as their usability.” XBRL is used in many different ways, for many different purposes, including by regulators, companies, governments, data providers, analysts, investors and accountants.

GLEIF and XBRL International previously cooperated to develop recommendations about the consistent use of LEIs within XBRL taxonomies and instance documents. (For details, refer to the GLEIF blog post titled ‘XBRL International forms joint working group with GLEIF to address legal identity in digital business reporting’ included in the ‘related links’ below.)

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About the author:

Stephan Wolf is the CEO of the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF). Since January 2017, Mr. Wolf is Co-convener of the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 68 FinTech Technical Advisory Group (ISO TC 68 FinTech TAG). In January 2017, Mr. Wolf was named one of the Top 100 Leaders in Identity by One World Identity. He has extensive experience in establishing data operations and global implementation strategy. He has led the advancement of key business and product development strategies throughout his career. Mr. Wolf co-founded IS Innovative Software GmbH in 1989 and served first as its managing director. He was later named spokesman of the executive board of its successor IS.Teledata AG. This company ultimately became part of Interactive Data Corporation where Mr. Wolf held the role of CTO.


Tags for this article:
Compliance, Data Management, Digital Identity, Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF), Open Data, Risk Management, Standards