Legislative / Regulatory | Technology & Social Media

Transparency, accountability, open gov’t: Is it time?

And what role can CPAs play?

This is a case of serendipity, the likes of which John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison talk about in their book The Power of Pull.

I am here at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Business Policy Conference where I will be moderating a panel titled, "Government 2.0: Rebooting the General Assembly," featuring BBJ reporter Scott Dance, Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-District 46) and Del. Heather Mizeur (D-District 20)

The subtitle is, "How Social Media and Open Government Initiatives are Changing State Government." 

We have a reporter talking about how social media has transformed how they do their job and keep up with fast moving things like government and legislative issues. And two legislators who are leading Maryland's open government initiative with the implementation of Maryland's Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government.

Here is the serendipity part. The MACPA has been involved with stuctured and standardized data (XBRL) in supporting the work at the federal level and with our own case study on using structured data to improve our own financial reporting. 

Turns out the federal government is trying to accomplish the same goals.

Here are three examples of structured data and open government that is becoming reality now:

  1. Child Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, HR 2883 (signed into law)
  2. DATA Act (HR 2146 and S 1222) in the House and Senate
  3. Financial Industry Transparency Act (HR 6038)
  4. Standard Data & Technology Act (Standard DATA Act HR 3339)

Other examples include the SEC XBRL filing mandate for public companies and FDIC call reporting filing in XBRL. Nevada and Oregon also have state government transparency  and efficiency initiatives using structured data (XBRL).

See our interview with Hudson Hollister, chief counsel to the House Government and Oversight Committee on how XBRL and structured data can help improve transparency and accountability.


Here is our MACPA case study on how we used XBRL as a small state-based non-profit. 

I am encouraged by these efforts to increase transparency and accountability and open up government. Keep up the great work! As CPAs, we are glad to help in any way we can.

Don't miss the book Data Dynamite: How Liberating Information Will Transform Our World, by David Stephenson, which has plenty of examples of business and government using standardized and structured data to set the data free and usher in a new era of transparency and accountability.