Feeds

Microsoft joins options reformfest

Automate to simplify

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Microsoft has joined a handful of US companies on a government program looking to overhaul financial reporting in the wake of the stock options scandal.

The software giant's chief financial officer, Chris Liddell, was today named as a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Advisory Committee to Financial Reporting, due to convene this Thursday.

The group's remit is to simplify reporting of "complex financial data" using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), the XML schema for financial analysis and reporting.

Microsoft is the only significant tech company on board, despite the fact XBRL was hammered out by others including Oracle, IBM, and Hyperion. Consultants Deloitte & Touche, also an XRBL author, is also on the committee.

Participation is fortuitous for Microsoft, given XBRL features in its Office products. Membership is dominated by financial services representatives.

The SEC has acted because it said financial reporting has become more complex with investors expressing concern over the difficulty in understanding their company's financial reports. Companies, meanwhile "have expressed concerns that it is difficult to ensure compliance with US GAAP and SEC reporting rules when preparing financial reports."

The regulator claimed almost 10 per cent of public US companies had to restate prior reports "due to discovery of errors in those reports".

What the SEC didn't mention was that a number of companies restated following internal investigations of misallocation of stock, with the SEC breathing down their necks over potential breaches of existing rules.

Those announcing restatements so far include Apple, BEA Systems, Juniper Networks, and Verisign. Microsoft, itself in 2003, restated the previous two years' results as it moved to granting staff stock rather than options.

"These new technologies [interactive data and XBRL] can help address accounting complexity by making financial information more useful to investors and others who use it," the SEC said in a statement.

Embracing "new technologies" this week was Sun Microsystems, which - after months of lobbying SEC chairman Christopher Cox - got the OK to broadcast its quarterly results via RSS feed and through its website, in addition to the usual routes of filings and calls with Wall St investors. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.