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Pilot Project For Financial Reporting System

For immediate release 22 December 2003

Pilot Project For New Electronic Financial Reporting System

Investors, the financial markets and regulators can look forward to accessing more accurate and reliable financial information faster as the result of an electronic reporting initiative currently being trialed in New Zealand.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand and New Zealand Exchange Limited (NZX), are leading a pilot project to implement XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) into the NZX’s six-monthly reporting process.

The project team also includes the Big Four accounting firms (KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu & PWC) and several of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The New Zealand trial is one of a handful throughout the world and will see New Zealand taking a leading role in the implementation of XBRL worldwide.

“XBRL is a programming language that formats financial reports for transport across the Internet and viewing on browser-equipped computers,” says Grant Boyd, the Institute’s General Manager – Corporate Services.

“We’re very excited about the XBRL initiative because it will help eliminate duplication and reduce the risk of error, making it easier and more efficient for companies to share information with the market,” said Carl Daucher, NZX Strategy. “We are pleased to be part of this important and ground breaking initiative that benefits both companies and investors.”

XBRL uses "tags" to identify each piece of data in a company’s financial reports. These work in conjunction with "taxonomies" that describe standard content requirements and formats for items like annual reports. Computer accounting and business systems can be made to generate XBRL data at the push of a button, cutting back on filing delays.

It is anticipated that companies and regulators alike will benefit from the increased flow of information and the flexibility with which it is presented using XBRL.

Countries that have already formally established XBRL jurisdictions include Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand has played a lead role in facilitating the development of a local version of XBRL.

The project is expected to be completed by 31 March 2004, with the first regulatory filings being filed in April 2004. The project will be showcased at the 9th XBRL International Conference, which will be held in Auckland in May 2004.
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