A developing financial reporting standard called Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) may help companies comply with Sarbanes-Oxley, according to some industry observers.XBRL is an XML-based specification for publishing financial information. The standard makes it easier for companies to share financial information with each other and with industry analysts across all software formats and technologies, including the Internet.

XBRL is an enabler, not a prerequisite, for complying with Sarbanes-Oxley, according to Alex Veytsel, research analyst Aberdeen, a Boston-based technology marketing research firm. "If you don't have your internal house in order, XBRL can be a rallying cry for an internal nomenclature."

IASA is supporting an XBRL standard for insurers. In an alliance with New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Durham, N.C.-based association recently released x-Fire (XBRL Financial Reporting for Insurance). x-Fire consists of a database of financial reporting information for statutory filings based on XBRL, as well as a set of software applications that enable insurers to perform financial analytics, says Joe Pomilia, executive director of IASA.

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