Standard Business Reporting
Standard Business Reporting is a group of international programs instigated by a number of governments to reduce the regulatory burden for business. The concept is to make business the centre when it comes to managing business-to-government reporting obligations.* Businesses conduct their own financial administration; the facts they record and decisions they make should drive their reporting. The government should be able to receive and process this information without imposing undue constraints on how businesses administer their finances.
The method used to achieve this goal is to define a "common language" (or taxonomy) using appropriate standards such as XBRL, XML and JSON, then provide systems to process information classified under the taxonomy.
The Dutch Taxonomy Project (Nederlandse Taxonomie Project) or NTP began in 2004 as part of the Dutch cabinet’s objectives to reduce the administrative burdens on businesses. The project was sponsored jointly by the Dutch Ministries of Finance and Justice. The NTP created an XBRL taxonomy that "enables businesses to generate the required reporting information directly from their own records and the government to then process this information efficiently and effectively".
The Dutch approach was adopted by the Australian government in 2006, which established the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Program. In addition to Australia, other countries (including New Zealand) are also planning to apply this approach. This approach has since been internationally designated as Standard Business Reporting.
In December 2008, the Dutch government decided to rename the NTP to the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Programme, thus adopting the name introduced by Australia. The Dutch SBR programme has been tasked with deepening and embedding the results obtained so far and broadening the scope to other domains and applications.
In March 2017, the Data Foundation and PwC published a research report explaining how the adoption of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) in the United States would reduce costs for both companies and agencies. The report, "Standard Business Reporting: Open Data to Cut Compliance Costs", defines SBR as multiple regulatory agencies adopting a common open data structure for the information they collect. 
As of the first of January 2007, businesses and intermediaries can report their financial data to the government using the Dutch XBRL taxonomy.
The 2006 report of the Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business, "Rethinking Regulation" (the Banks report), recognised that government reporting requirements impose a significant burden on Australian business.
The objective of the SBR Program in Australia is to reduce the cost of reporting for business by A$800 million over six years at a cost of A$320 million over the same period.
The key activity of the SBR Program is to work across agencies and jurisdictions to standardise the reporting approach and language – developing the taxonomy. As well as the reporting language, SBR is developing a new e-channel for business which will include a single sign-on to on-line services across the agencies that are in scope.
The agencies in scope are:
- Australian Tax Office (ATO)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
- State and Territory Revenue Offices (8 of them)
More than 75 government forms are in scope to be rationalised and replaced by electronic lodgments.
The Australian SBR solution is planned to be developed as follows:
- Rationalise and harmonise the reporting terms and definitions in use
- Develop a Reporting Taxonomy
- Map the Reporting Taxonomy to a chart of accounts (provided via a software package)
- Develop IT capabilities and infrastructure, including:
- Whole of Government authentication/single sign on process; and
- System for secure on-line interactions
- Connect government systems to the IT capabilities and infrastructure
- Connect businesses to government systems via third-party software
Business Advisory Forum
The SBR program also created the SBR Business Advisory Forum as a way to provide ongoing consultation to the project. It is made up of 18 representatives drawn from industry groups (e.g. Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, professional associations (e.g. CPA Australia) and the SBR program itself.
In May 2008 the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development published a business case for adopting an SBR program. The business case states that success relies on a high take-up rate by intermediaries such as accountants and lawyers. This is because many owner-operators and small businesses (68% and 21% of businesses, respectively) conduct their reporting via these third parties.
The business case states that "SBR will deliver compliance cost reductions to business by reducing the need for them to submit information to multiple agencies, standardising data definitions and implementing a standard communication language.".
- "Standard Business Reporting Program". Commonwealth of Australia. 2002. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
Reducing the reporting burden for business.
- Hodgson, Pete; Dalziel, Lianne; Cosgrove, Clayton (16 May 2008). "Standard Business Reporting - Business Case" (PDF). Ministry of Economic Development. New Zealand Government. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
This document proposes that New Zealand proceed with the implementation of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) as a whole-of-government work programme aimed at reducing reporting costs, and thereby compliance costs, for business.
- van Burg, Harm Jan; Lokin, Mariette (December 2008). "From NTP to SBR - perspectives on a special project". Het Nederlandse Taxonomie Project. het Ministerie van Justitie & het Ministerie van Financiën (Nederlandse). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
Commentary on the occasion of the transition from the Dutch Taxonomy Project to Standard Business Reporting Programme.
- "Standard Business Reporting Programma" [The Dutch Taxonomy Project] (in Dutch). het Ministerie van Justitie & het Ministerie van Financiën (Nederlandse). December 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Standard Business Reporting Programma (English version)". Het Nederlandse Taxonomie Project. het Ministerie van Justitie & het Ministerie van Financiën (Nederlandse). December 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Dutch SBR program". Dutch Standard Business Reporting Program. Logius. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- van Burg et al, Foreword, p iii.
- van Burg et al, p 1
- “Standard Business Reporting 2017.” Data Foundation.
- Dutch Taxonomy Project, home page
- Hodgson, p 2
- Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia