Eric E. Cohen, “XBRL Global Technical Leader”, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Author, speaker, technology geek. Co-founder of XBRL (second in continuous service only to Charlie) and creator/chief architect of XBRL’s Global Ledger Framework. Began implementing accounting software in the early 80’s; was a specialist in customizing accounting software, report writing and integrating external applications. Accounting technology futurist. On behalf of XBRL, Mr. Cohen has served as a liaison to numerous other (standards) organizations, seeking interoperability and harmonization; this includes ACORD, ANSI X12, HR-XML, OASIS, OMG, MISMO, OECD, UN/CEFACT and W3C, and Mr. Cohen helped lead the Interoperability Summit / Interoperability Pledge (2001-2002) with a goal of seeking to agree upon common models and approaches to support interoperability; the effort continues today with the OMG. He has actively worked with both XBRL’s friends and “competitors” to bring harmonization and mutual benefit, including Dutch AuditFile, OECD Tax eAudit and UN/CEFACT TBG 12/DWG 14. He has worked extensively with the audit community through service on AICPA and CICA working/study groups; the tax community through OASIS Tax XML, OECD Tax eAudit and SBR Forum; and the academic community through many fruitful relationships. Mr. Cohen believes solutions that do not incorporate the distinctives of XBRL’s Global Ledger Framework will not meet true needs today and the business environment of tomorrow. He also believes that agreement is more important than technology or method.
Cheryl Dunn – firstname.lastname@example.org • I am an associate professor of accounting at Grand Valley State University, soon to be visiting for a year at Michigan State University. At GVSU I teach graduate level AIS and Accounting Theory classes, along with some undergraduate principles of managerial accounting. At MSU I will be teaching undergraduate and graduate AIS and XBRL. • I author the REA-based textbook Enterprise Information Systems: A Pattern-Based Approach (McGraw-Hill), and hope to complete the 4th edition this summer or fall. • My primary research interest with respect to REA is its use in the development of improved financial and managerial reporting models including revised financial statements, standards, and executive dashboard elements. Independent-view reporting is needed and requires a solid ontological foundation. Many existing assumptions and principles (such as periodicity, conservatism, matching, absorption-costing, and others) must be replaced.
Julie Smith David • History • MSU… undergrad, MBA, and PhD • FOB • REA • Value of accounting systems – and the definition of “accounting” • Systems integration • Internal • B2B • Issues • Control of • Software vendors • Trading partners
Roger Debreceny I am a Professor in the School of Accountancy at the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai`i. I teach auditing, accounting information systems and strategic accounting to our MBA students. Coming to academia after a career in government and industry, my doctorate was on the application of object technologies to accounting systems. I have been working on XBRL from a research and professional perspective for a decade. My other research interests are in the area of IT governance and technology-enhanced accounting disclosures. My concerns are with building reliable and ontologically complete reporting systems that will ensure reporting of performance information to stakeholders. I believe that many information systems that couple transaction-level systems to higher level reporting systems (e.g. financial accounting reporting) are fragile and lack the robustness required by stakeholders. We need to be able to reliably drill down from some high level data point (e.g. profit per unit in division X) to the transaction level. This criterion does not hold at present. We need ontological interoperability at each stage of this information supply chain.
Carsten Felden – email@example.com I am full university professor for information systems/computer science at Technical University of Freiberg (Saxony, Germany). I am teaching courses in Business Intelligence (BI), data base and software engineering, and electronic commerce. My research interests are centered around the ontology-based integration of structured and unstructured data in BI-systems for decision support, Analytics and the evaluation of IT-solutions in maturity models. Among other things I am member of the XBRL Germany advisory board. In this position, I am dealing as a “think tank” for analyzing approaches in the context of XBRL. Additionally, I am working, together with The Data Warehouse Institute Germany (TDWI), on multidimensional XBRL as a decisions support solution for small and midsize companies. I think that most people in companies do not understand, why and how to use XBRL. The “why” leads to the point that there is no common sense about interoperability. There is a need to make the reporting supply chain obvious (business process modeling) and the information products which emerge during the information flow. In context of the “how” I wonder that XBRL is not dealing with aspects of Online Analytical Processing and the development of analytical information systems. I think that there is a need for a multidimensional basis to describe the structure of the processed information products (which reflects the multidimensional aspects of users) and an XBRL engineering method to support XBRL development activities. In favor of an XBRL engineering method, ontology engineering and software engineering have to be analyzed carefully to gain an applicable approach.
Frederik Gailly (Frederik.Gailly@Ugent.be) I am PhD student in the Management Informatics Research Group which is part from the Department in Economics and Business Administration at Ghent University, Belgium. I have a degree in Applied Business Economics but also in Computer Science. My research interests are conceptual modeling, business modeling, business domain ontologies and ontology-driven model engineering. I have published some articles together with my supervisor Prof. Geert Poels where we evaluate the use of the REA-ontology as a pattern for conceptual modeling. In the articles for my PhD we focus more on the formalization of the REA ontology and have proposed a formal specification of REA in OWL. In future research we want to investigate how this formal specification can be used during the model driven development of systems and also to create interoperability between different systems. In our research group we firmly believe that the REA-ontology needs a more formal specification in order to be successful in different applications domain, certainly if we want to use the REA-ontology for creating interoperability. However we also think that this formal specification should be also accessible to business users by means of ontology representation techniques founded on OMG’s MOF. We also believe that in order to really show the benefits of the REA-ontology for creating interoperability the REA-ontology should be further specialized/extended for different type of process (sale, purchase, production). 6
Graham Gal firstname.lastname@example.org I am on the faculty of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. I teach accounting information systems, systems analysis, and IT security and audit classes. In both systems classes we discuss the issues of interoperability and students do projects with XBRL. My research interests include database design issues particularly as the relate to semantic specification of internal controls and the ability to continuously monitor the activities of the firm. I spent a sabbatical at RSA Security and spent some time looking at methods to secure information and assign access based on responsibilities. It is my feeling that systems whose focus is on syntax at the expense of semantic expressiveness are doomed to be replaced or preempted by systems with the next great syntax. When the development of tools and theory has a firm ontological base and has “ontological expressivity” as its underlying focus the effort provides a development path that will not be diverted. There is a long line of work on business ontologies that builds upon business events and states. Efforts to incorporate these concepts into practical tools promise not only further theoretical insights, but also systems with much greater applicability and longevity.
Gianluca Garbellotto – email@example.com • I am an IT consultant with extensive experience in data integration and accounting, financial and auditing software development and implementation. I have a specific focus on ERP systems, consolidation/business intelligence applications and XML/XBRL implementations. I developed a full ERP system for banks and financial institutions where the key feature was the capability of effectively exchanging accounting and financial data with the extremely diversified accounting applications used by their clients. • I am an expert on the business and the technical aspects of XBRL and XBRL Global Ledger Framework, and I have extensive experience in their implementation in the Government and in the private sector. I am a member of the XBRL International Consortium Standards Board, the current Chair of the XBRL Global Ledger Working Group, and the XBRL columnist for IMA’s Strategic Finance magazine. • I am convinced that real interoperability in business and accounting data requires both a sound and comprehensive data model and a consistent way to represent the links between different levels of aggregation/summarization of data as they flow from first entry to multiple end reporting formats. • I also think that the theoretical formulation of a business/accounting/financial data model and its practical implementation have to go hand in hand, as the latter influences the former. Some degree of adoption, even at the early stages of the development of a data model, can make the difference not only (obviously) for its success, but also for the soundness of its concept and, more importantly, for its capability to effectively adapt to real world use cases without undermining the integrity of its theoretical model.
Guido Geerts – firstname.lastname@example.org I am an associate professor of accounting and MIS at the University of Delaware (Lerner College of Business). I have taught accounting information systems, databases, and object-oriented analysis and design classes in recent years. My research focuses primarily on enterprise ontologies. One of the issues that I have explored in my research is how to design, implement, and use enterprise systems that integrate semantic definitions. Such systems require: (1) a precise definition of an enterprise ontology, (2) the explicit recording of the ontological specifications, and (3) the design of enterprise applications that are able to employ such advanced semantics. My research illustrated that two main advantages of such systems (and thus increased semantic expressiveness) are reusability and interoperability. The feasibility of such semantic enterprise systems depends on a number of factors including level-of-agreement and technology. The extent to which the ontological specifications are agreed-upon drives the level of reusability and interoperability that can be accomplished (i.e., there should be one standard). Technology is another important driver. I used Prolog and XML in my research to illustrate the explicit recording of semantics and their use. Other technologies have emerged in recent years, in particular semantic web technologies such as OWL.
Arofan Gregory My relevant positions include these: -Technical Expert, SDMX Initiative -Technical Advisor to the TBG Chair, UN/CEFACT -Member of US TAG, TC-154 -Technical Expert, Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) -Executive Manager, Open Data Foundation, Inc. I have been involved in producing the draft mapping between SDMX and XBRL – I am not an XBRL expert but I do understand the specification reasonably well. I also have some background with ebXML Core Components, and I am a major proponent of ISO/IEC 11179 for modelling concepts, and have found this standard to be very useful for aligning/mapping between other standards, given the thoroughness of its model (as used in ebXML CCTS, for example). I don’t have a strong position other than thinking that interoperability is desirable, based on existing standards.
Peter R. Gillett, FCA – 18 years in professional accounting BA & MA in Mathematics and Philosophy, PhD in Business (Accounting) Associate Professor, Accounting Business Ethics and Information Systems Academic Director, Prudential Business Ethics Center • I have found myself seduced by the attractiveness of the Semantic Modeling Principle. Having seen no formal statement of it, I have adopted my own that I pass on to students: Data in an information system should model the structure of the relevant categories of reality in its application domain • REA has been the basis of my 36 Accounting Information Systems courses since 1996 • Philosophically, I am concerned that REA is not grounded in a more basic metaphysics: • No principles of identity and individuation – nor theory of how events relate (refine, require, imply) • No fundamental ontology – so we have to guarantee our own consistency “internally” • No clear articulation, for example of why events should be primitive, as opposed to, say, states • No principles guiding choices as to parsimony versus profligacy • Practically, I am concerned about the pedagogical and implementation inconveniences of: • Granularity choices (Directors + Staff + Machinists works fine for Sales, Production – but not for HRM) • Difficulties of implementing Generalization especially via RDBMS • Ambiguity as to Agents v. Roles etc. (especially in small businesses with more roles than people) • Ambiguity as to Machinists as Agents v. MachinistHoursWorked as a Resource in Conversion • Depreciation as an information process v. depreciation as an (accounting) event • Depreciation as an implementation compromise – choosing not to document Fixed Asset consumption • Poor (i.e., not rich) ad hoc models of conversion processes • Discontinuity between recording purchasing of Services as Events and “overhead” in Conversion • Difficulty representing how derived data accumulates as F/S items as data rather than procedurally • Tedium associated with prepayments, accruals, brought-forward balances, adjusting journal entries • Lack of significant real-world REA implementations • Personally, I think high ontological expressivity is paramount; the independent viewpoint improves communication prospects for interoperability (less help internally e.g. conversion); the choice of a domain ontology based on business activity as opposed to reporting activities is pedagogically powerful, consistent with controlling what is happening rather than what has happened, closer to (but not yet close enough to) underlying basic metaphysics that might offer some protection against unrevealed inconsistency, and cool!
Christian Huemer I am associate professor in the Business Informatics Group (BIG) at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. I am teaching courses on object-oriented modeling, model engineering and e-commerce. My research interests are methodologies for modeling e-business transactions as well as model driven approaches to service oriented architectures. I am involved in the standardization efforts of UN/CEFACT. Currently, I am Acting Chair of its Techniques and Methodologies Group (TMG) and the project lead of the UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology (UMM). My academic position (not necessarily my UN/CEFACT position) is the following: There is too much discussion on which business document standard to use. More important is an agreement on why exchanging which information. If the information remains unchanged, switching the business document standard is comparatively simple. Limit the information in an exchange to the minimum required – each additional piece of data may be a source of incompatibility. A business process perspective helps in identifying the minimum information required to change a business entity state in the partners` information systems. A conceptual model is used to define the “core“ information accepted globally by any industry. More advanced ontological concepts may be used to extend the core. 13
Jesper Kiehn – email@example.com Application Developer of Microsoft Dynamics NAV – SCM group Focus on application architecture and design tools Have participated in a research program for modelling and here studied the R.E.A. Ontology (2002) Co-Author of book on Business modelling using R.E.A. with Pavel Hruby & Christian Scheller I believe modelling with an ontological foundation will prevail over homegrown solutions and is needed for interoperability Knowledge representation technologies are needed for the future systems both because of development cost & TCO and interoperability issues Motto: Knowledge into the product
Philipp Liegl I am project assistant at the Business Informatics Group at the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. My research focuses on inter-organizational business process modeling, business documents in a service oriented context, and service oriented architectures. I am teaching courses in electronic commerce. I am involved in the standardization efforts of UN/CEFACT where I am a member of the Technologies and Methodologies Group (TMG). My standardization work focuses on UN/CEFACT's Modeling Methodology (UMM) and on the UML Profile for Core Components (UPCC). In my PhD thesis I focus on the role of business documents in a service oriented context. From my point of view finding a common semantic base for business documents is a crucial task in order to help service oriented concepts to evolve beyond theoretical approaches. Solid and well elaborated business document ontologies can help to achieve this goal. Part of my PhD thesis focuses on the task on how to integrate business document concepts and ontologies and business process modeling concepts in order to leverage the most benefit. 15
Arun Majumdar – firstname.lastname@example.org • I have a highly diversified background work experience ranging from the entertainment industry, fortune 50 corporations to government. One of my key concerns is the engineering and design of infrastructures for large-scale distributed and heterogeneous but seamlessly interoperable enterprise systems. I am a co-founder of VivoMind Intelligence Inc., a research organization for industry, academia and government, as well as a Senior Consultant for the Cutter Consortium. I also support the IBM-CSLI Verb Ontology project at Stanford University for semantic specifications of verbs, prepositions and other linguistic resources. • I am a member of ACM and IEEE and participate in various academic and industry conferences by way of publications, speaking, presentation or attendance. • My vision is, in a phrase, “to remove all barriers to communications”. My intention is to define architectures, patterns and processes that encompass the full scope, breadth and depth of designing, choreographing and orchestrating both component and systems capabilities in synergetic harmony to a world of enterprise requirements. This means understanding both low and high level cross-cutting concerns in software and operational practices development through ontology, epistemology and teleology --- creating the language, apply it to a domain of meanings, and doing so purposefully within a mission theme. I see the future of interoperability as the ability for systems to carry out effective electronic dialogs to negotiate or resolve issues, provide services, and deliver value. The operational aspects must enable the concerns, collaboration, cooperation, coordination, and computation to be resource-efficient while delivering results. I believe we must work with standards and build real-systems with these standards because, as the world gets increasingly more and more complex, the “do-it-yourself” approach prevalent at large, will simply fail to scale across organizational and geo-political boundaries in an continually growing networked world.
Bill McCarthy – email@example.com • My day job is accounting systems professor at Michigan State University where I teach courses on semantic database design, object-oriented methods, XBRL, and accounting/enterprise information systems. My research interests center around the development of accounting domain ontologies, most specifically the REA (resource-event-agent) accounting ontology. • I am a member of the UN/CEFACT business process techniques and methods group where I am working (slowly) on an REA specialization module for the UMM (UN/CEFACT Modeling Methodology). In ISO, I work with JTC1/SC32/WG1 (Open-edi) where I am the editor of the ISO/IEC 15944-4 international standard – the accounting and economic ontology. • I think “ontological expressivity” is the preemptive consideration in developing standards for networks of accounting concept definitions. I think we need to get the concepts defined correctly as a first priority before we worry about time to implementation and definable packages of immediate benefits. However, I also think that usability is an important issue. For example, the Open-edi economic and accounting ontology has an inventory of well-developed (IMHO since I did them) frame-based (UML) accounting concepts that is based on earlier academic work by Geerts and McCarthy. However, there is no implementation vision yet in ISO 15944. That vision is an important link that is being supplied by the UMM development team through the mechanism of business object state machines. Thus, we can see our way to both theoretical and practical end results. When we advance up the expressivity dimension to logic-based theories, I am unsure how this usability aspect is affected.
Brand Niemann/Mills Davis • Brand is a Senior Enterprise Architect at the US EPA and Mills is is founder and managing director of Project10X — a research consultancy specializing in next wave semantic technologies and solutions. Together they have Co-chaired the Federal Semantic Interoperability Community of Practice (SICoP) and now are involved in Semantic Community.Net and the Semantic Exchange, respectively. • SICoP has fostered the Agile Financial Data Services CoP to bring XBRL, Semantic SOA, and the Semantic Web together to solve the need for the federal government to become more interoperable with financial data information sharing and integration. • SICoP has used the Ontological Expressivity Schematic of Leo Obrst to classify the pilots it has fostered in many application areas across the federal government that have received Special Recognitions (slides 14-27). • Semantic Community.Net and Semantic Exchange are fostering a new series of pilots for the 2008 Semantic Technology Conference that involve Automatic and Semi-automatic Semantification of Emails and Documents and for Getting to Web Semantics for Spreadsheets in the U.S. Government. • The MAX Federal Community (previously the Budget Community) is a large CoP that uses spreadsheets in a Wiki to collaborate on the Federal Budget each year that would benefit for the work of the NSF Supported Workshop on Ontological Specification of Interoperability Semantics for Financial Information and Business Reporting Systems.
Maciej Piechocki – firstname.lastname@example.org • I am XBRL project manager at the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation responsible for technology aspects of the IFRS taxonomy development. My area of responsibilities covers also the interoperability among XBRL taxonomies and IFRS taxonomy and financial information and business reporting systems. I have also been involved in a number of efforts to standardise financial reporting domain (especially on the regulatory and government level in Poland and Germany). • Previous to my work on the IFRSs I was head of the Competence Centre for Information Logistics (CC InfoLog) at the Freiberg University of Technology in Germany conducting ontology, data warehousing, OLAP, data mining and business intelligence related projects. My PhD thesis at the chair of MIS covered the XBRL Financial Reporting Supply Chain Architecture and applied Zachman Enterprise Architecture Framework with a number of formally modelled views of the supply chain to the financial accounting domain. • From my involvement in XBRL and my research activities I observed that the automation of the FRSC suffers insufficient discussion at least at two levels. First is the automatic creation of the financial report with the notes from underlying trial balance data and other sources (inclusive mapping of these sources to financial reporting taxonomies and extending them). Second is the reporting process between the preparer and the receiver of the financial information and the distinction in the open and closed reporting (inclusive issues with extensibility and interoperability between the core taxonomies and ontologies). Although a number of ontological components is in place which in theory should enable interoperability of financial information and business reporting systems the number of implementations is very limited.
Tom Saleh Bio • Mr Saleh has been a leading entrepreneur in the computer industry for more than three decades, during which time he has founded five successful high-technology companies, and influenced the success of several more. As a Software and hardware designer prior to his first entrepreneurial venture, he held senior technical positions at Telenet, Gruman Aircraft, BBN, and Tymnet. In the late seventies, Mr. Saleh founded Applied Logic, an early provider of Virtual Private Network Services, acquired by Raytheon in 1980. In the eighties, Mr. Saleh started XNET Corp., which developed the first fully automated financial futures and commodities exchange. Exnet was aquired by its largest customer, the International Futures and commodities exchange, in 1983. • Immediately following Exnet, Mr. Saleh founded American Real Time Services (ARTS), which developed and operated Information delivery networks for many large financial services firms including Citibank, Prudential securities, AG Edwards, Charles Schwab, SG Cowen, McDonald Securities, and Fidelity Investments. ARTS was acquired by Reuters in 1993, where Mr. Saleh held the title of Senior Vice President of New Business Development. • In 1997, Mr. Saleh led an investor group in acquiring the network services division of ADP, which served as the core of NetworkTwo. In 1999, NetworkTwo was acquired by Splitrock, a larger network services company, which was itself soon acquired by McLeodUSA, a large Publicly traded CLEC. • In 2000, he founded Erevu, a software company focused on extending the concept of "Policy Based Management" to the business process level. In 2002, Erevu was acquired by Aladdin Systems Holdings where Mr. Saleh continued as President of the Aladdin Enterprise Solutions until Aladin was sold to Broadcast .Com, a large public company in 2003. • In 2004 Tom was engaged by the NASDAQ to perform a review of their technical operations and recommend a complete restructuring of their Systems and Operations departments. This was completed and his recommendations implemented in early 2005. • Since 2005 Tom has been retained as a senior advisor by several industry leaders including Safeway Supermarkets, Telmar, and the NYSE.. He has served as a director of 3 venture backed corporations and advises several private equity funds. Mr Saleh is currently research on Semantic Web and Web 2.0 technologies and their relation to financial services, media and advertising. • In 2007 he led the FASB’s efforts to develop a complete US-GAAP taxonomy in conjunction with the SEC. This taxonomy will be used by every publicly traded company as part of their SEC mandated public disclosure process.
Fred van Blommestein Assistant Professor at the Information Systems group of the University of Groningen, NL Contributor to the UN/CEFACT Core Component Technical Spec, team lead of the Core Component User Guide and editor of the Core Component Message Assembly spec Member of UN/CEFACT TBG 1 (Trade) and TBG 17 (Harmonization) Observed that designing ontologies, process and data models by Standardization Committeesis not scalable and not feasible on the long term. We need a mechanism for user organisations to extend ontologies and libraries on-the-fly, while maintaining integrity and consistency. Web-based tools and smart middleware may support the extension of ontologies and libraries (and their integration in applications) without manual intervention Found that the UN/CEFACT Core Components methodology offers a strong basis for dynamic ontology and library extension. CC also assure that resulting data structures can be represented as standardized XML messages. For dynamic extension one needs a Core Ontology to start from. UN/CEFACT needs the help from Ontolog and OMG people to make this Core consistent and future proof. REA bridges the transactional and the reporting world. The REA ontology therefore should be extended (with e.g. operational, technical and legal concepts) to become the Common Business Core Ontology Financial reporting is reporting on operational transactions. It is vital that XBRL taxonomies and UN/CEFACT libraries are based on the same ontological principles, and build on the same Core. 2008-05-12
David vun Kannon • A broad range of academic and professional experience culminating in work on the design and implementation of XBRL 1.0- 2.1 since 1999. • Currently a Director for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in New York. • My position on interoperability and ontologies: • Relatively sophisticated financial services now need ontologic interoperability to operate successfully. The next generation of such systems will need much greater use of ontologic agreements and machine processing of knowledge in order to reduce risk. These factors will drive ontology adoption at the high end. • Consumers will not be aware of the benefits of ontologies until one or more competitive ontologies are synthesized from the existing Web/blogoshere/social netspace.
Position Statement for the 20080512 workshop on Ontological Specification of Interoperability Semantics for Financial Information and Business Reporting Systems Adrian Walker My experience includes over 10 years at the IBM Yorktown Research Laboratory, and I'm currently the CTO of a small company called Reengineering. The workshop overview states that “We are at a critical juncture in the definition of scientific methods for creating financial ontologies and for specifying methodologies for data aggregation and view materialization with the components of those ontologies”. I suggest that now is the time add a semantic layer, namely, executable English. There is emerging technology that unifies executable English semantics, with the model theoretic semantics of an inference method, and with the semantics of data. The technology is online as a kind of Wiki at the site listed below, and shared use is free. The design is novel, and circumvents some difficult open research questions concerning strict semantics for computing with English. For accounting interoperability, the advantages of hiding the logic under executable English include: (1) end users can read the authors' intentions (2) aggregations and other complex deductions can be explained on demand in English, at the business level (3) ontological knowledge from different sources can be merged in a way that end users can understand, check, and -- with permission -- modify. The system that supports this is called Internet Business Logic -- a Wiki and SOA Endpoint for Executable Open Vocabulary English over SQL. It's online at www.reengineeringllc.com, and shared use is free.