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RE: ERP standards

From: Coffin, Zachary P
Subject: RE: ERP standards
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 10:32:33 -0500

Todd, you really, really do the world a great disservice.  I’m sure anyone
reading your posts, probably thinks you’re an okay guy.  I used to be your
champion even.  But let me just say, anyone on this list who hasn’t yet met
Todd, should beware; those of you who have, already know what I’m talking
about.  Now let me back that up -

Todd’s statement:
 “the XBRL GL which is occasionally released to the public after it's been
decided by their members”
 XBRL International has released the *DRAFT* GL taxonomy for public review
and comment several times.  That’s why we have offered it to the world for
comment.  The GL has not yet been released as a XBRL standard.
Zack Opinion:
 Wonder why Todd wants to misrepresent the facts.

Todd’s statement:
 “Inevitably our three GL groups will zero in on the accurate picture and
combine the models. Meanwhile they don't talk to me so, I can't tell you
what the h*ll they are up to.”
 XBRL and UN/CEFACT announced a liaison/alliance to tackle this area a year
ago.  You know that.  You’ve known it a long time -  
Zack Opinion:
 Wonder why Todd wants to misrepresent others.

Todd’s statement:
 “I actually was stupid enough to fly to Orlando in December to meet with
the XBRL GL group.  For a full 8-hour day, they did maintain an astonishing
wall of confidentiality, just as CPAs do in commercial negotiations, never
disclosing anything of their positions in design of a general ledger schema
or economic ontology.”
 Unverifiable.  His words against ours.
Zack Opinion:
 As one of the participants in that meeting, let me just assure you that I
have zero interest in meeting with someone for 8 hours on a Saturday merely
to “maintain an astonishing wall of confidentiality.”  Was that really my
purpose?  No, it was the same reason as why XBRL was in Orlando in the first
place.  We sponsored the first Interoperability Summit with OMG, OAG, OASIS,
UN/CEFACT and HR-XML.  Does anyone really think I’d maintain some “wall of
confidentiality” for 8 hours?  Listen, why waste the time.  If that’s all we
did, why did we even bother staying more than 10 minutes?  Why not go enjoy
our Saturday.  No, we made a last final attempt to work with Todd.  I used
to be Todd’s champion.  I’ve given up.

So, in general, I wonder why Todd wants to describe things the way he does.
Let me guess.  Is it because he’s as biased as everyone else?

Todd’s NEVER-MADE statement:
 “I’m as biased as everyone else.”
 Todd Boyle works for NetAccount, a commercial company.
Zack Opinion:
 Everyone has some human bias.  But the difference between Todd/ArapXML and
XBRL International (or Todd and the rest of the world), is that the first is
driven by ONE person/company and the second is a group process - in XBRL’s
case, 150 vendors, accounting firms, users, regulators, etc. from around the
world WORKING TOGETHER.  Trust me, not just in Todd’s case, but always, the
collaborative standards approach is safer.  Everyone knows Todd only wants
things HIS way (or, maybe I should say, NetAccount’s way).  But that’s not
how standards are created.  You don’t have a standard unless your users,
vendors, regulators and competitors are sitting at the table arguing with
and against you -- to produce the standards.  That’s XBRL.

On top of it all, Todd even criticizes the UN with “the UN/CEFACT bodies
only conduct their dialog in private discussions, and in physical meetings
every 6 months in international locations, usually outside the US.”  What
would he like - that all the meetings be in the U.S. so that poorer
countries criticize it as a U.S. thing?  And Todd, it’s really pretty bad
when you attack a guy like Robert Lemense - who’s put years of his life into
standards - when you say, “The guy is 65, he is part of the French EDI
establishment.”  That’s as bad as if someone said, “That guy’s only 18 -
what does he know?”

Anyone who wants to learn more about XBRL, please go to  If
you want to learn more about XBRL specifically for G/L, go to, or for more detail,

XBRL is creating the standards for financial statements, G/L, regulatory
filings, statistics, etc. - anything that describes an organization’s
performance or risk.  We are working from the sub-ledger to macro-economic
statistics - the whole information reporting supply chain.

Somewhere this thread began with a question about ERP standards.  SAP,
Oracle, Peoplesoft, Fujitsu (yes, in Japan, they have ERP software), etc.
are all members of XBRL.  SAP is scheduled to be XBRL compliant this year -
second quarter if I’m not mistaken.

Now, here’s the part where Todd says it just the big companies.  No, XBRL is
for any organization, including SMEs, government agencies, non-profit
organizations, etc.  We’re even opening up a new category of membership, for
academics or individuals non-affiliated with a company.  In the meantime,
the following organizations are members of XBRL and have COMMITTED to
XBRL-enabling their products or services -

ACCPAC International, Inc.      ACL Services Ltd.
Acumen Alliance Advisor Technology Services
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants      Andersen
Anthem Software Asia Securities Printing Co., Ltd.
Aspect Computing        Audicon
Audit Software Systems Pty Ltd  Australian and New Zealand Banking Group
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority      Australian Stock Exchange
BDO Seidman, LLP        Beacon IT Inc.
Best Software   Bowne & Co., Inc.
Bridge News     Bryant College
Business Wire   Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
Capital Printing Systems, Inc.  CaseWare International Inc.
Certified General Accountants Association of Canada     Chuo System Service
Co, Ltd
Coca-Cola Amatil (AU)   Cogniant, Inc. SA        CPA Australia
CPA2Biz Creative Solutions
Crowe Chizek and Co., LLP       DATEV e.G.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu        Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Börse AG       Deutsche Bundesbank
Deutsche Vereinigung für Finanzanalyse und Asset Mgt.   Deutsches
Rechnungslegungs Standards Committee e.V.
Digital Notarization Authority  Diva Corporation
Dow Jones & Co., Inc.   Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein
EDGAR Online Inc., Inc.       Elemental Interactive
e-Numerate Solutions, Inc.      ePace! Software
ePartners, Inc. Epicor Software Corp.
Ernst & Young, LLP      eStilil Co., Ltd.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (U.S.)    Fidelity Investments
Financial Reporting Solutions   Financial Software Group
FinArch First Light Communications, Inc.
FRx Software Corp.      Fujitsu Ltd.
Fujitsu Prime Software Technologies Limited     Fujitsu Research Institute
Gcom2 Solutions General Electric Company
Gerringong HiTech Pty Ltd       Global Filings, Inc.
Grant Thornton, LLP     Haarmann, Hemmelrath & Partner
Hitachi Hitachi System & Services, Ltd.
HOLT Value Associates   Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
Hong Kong Registrar of Companies        Hong Kong Society of Accountants
Hyperion Solutions Corp.        IBM    I-Lumen, Inc.
Information Management Australia        Information Planning
Infoteria Corp. InnoData GmbH (Semansys Technologies)
Innovision      Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer (IdW)
Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Singapore  Institute of
Chartered Accountants in Australia
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Institute of
Chartered Accountants in Ireland
Institute of Management Accountants (U.S.)      International Accounting
Standards Board (IASB)
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)  Ipswich City Council (AU)
Japan Information Service Industry Association  Japan Notary Organization
Japanese Institute Of Certified Public Accountants      KPMG Consulting,
KPMG International      Lawson Software
Macquarie Bank  Media Fusion Co., Ltd.
Microsoft Corp. Microsoft Great Plains
MIP, Inc.       MIS Deutschland GmbH
Moody’s Risk Management Services, Inc.  Morgan Stanley, Inc.        MYOB
National Center of Charitable Statistics (U.S.) National Information
Infrastructure Enterprise Promotion Association (Taiwan)
NavisionDamgaard Software       NEC Corporation
NetLedger, Inc. New River, Inc.
Nihombashi Corporation  Nihon Intersystems Co., Ltd.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc       NTT Data Corporation
Oracle Corporation Japan        PCA Corporation
PeopleSoft      Pitcher Partners
PPA Gesellschaft für Finanzanalyse & Benchmarks mbH     Practitioners
Publishing Company
PricewaterhouseCoopers  Quicken (AU)
R.R. Donnelly Financial Reuters
RIA Software    RMIT University
Royal Bank of Canada    Royal NIVRA (Netherlands)
Sage Software   SAP AG
Seattle Pacific University Center for Professional Development  Shin Nihon &
Smithink Pty Ltd        Software AG
Solution 6      Standard and Poor’s
Statistics Canada       Syspro Group
Takara Printing Co., Ltd.       Teikoku Databank, Ltd.
Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants      The Woodburn Group
Thomson Financial       Tokyo Shoko Research, Ltd.
Toshiba Corporation     Toyo Keizai, Inc.
U.S. Census Bureau      U.S. Dept. of Defense (DFAS)
Visionart, Inc  WebXcentric
WMC Limited     XSI (formerly XBRL Solutions, Inc.)

The world is moving towards this single business reporting framework.  I
encourage those of you interested in standards, to get involved.  As a
start, please register at and go to and review the messages at

Thanks for your consideration.



P.S. Todd/Mr.NetAccount, since you’ve attacked Eric and Robert behind their
back, I’ve taken the liberty of cc’ing them on this email in case they want
to add anything.  I think people want to know the truth.

Zachary Coffin
ザッカリー コッフィン
XBRL International Steering Committee

KPMG Global XBRL Leader
355 South Grand Avenue, Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90071-1568  USA
Tel: +1-213-955-8508 * Fax: +1-213-630-5196
Email: address@hidden

-----Original Message-----
From: Todd Boyle [mailto:address@hidden 
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2002 7:41 PM
To: Neil Tiffin; Derek A. Neighbors; Ke Deng
Cc: GNUe
Subject: Re: ERP standards

 >>please feel free to enlighten me if a standard exists that is practical.

Neil, your comments are quite rational.  I agree, without reservations,
there has not been any standard for the exchange of transactions among the
internal applications of a company that had sufficient following to provide
any payoffs.  OAGIS, could have been a candidate.  But it has some
fundamental weaknesses.  ERP is not even a candidate inasmuch as it ignores
the 50 million SMEs in the world.

Now in 2002 you have three broad choices.

1. General Ledger standards - By this I mean, standard conceptual elements
and standard names for things like transaction dates, times, parties,
accounts, etc. necessary for exchange of information to/from accounting or
business systems.  There are three groups on the planet, today, who give a
damn about GL standards.

- Eric Cohen and his group at the XBRL Consortium,
- Robert Lemense and the D14 domain committee of EDIFACT, and,
- our group at ArapXML who produced the OMG GL and OMG AR/AP models, and are
members of the OMG and the Core Components workgroup of UN/CEFACT.

Inevitably our three GL groups will zero in on the accurate picture and
combine the models. Meanwhile they don't talk to me so, I can't tell you
what the h*ll they are up to.  XBRL does not listen to anybody or share
their work in progress, or allow your vote on it, unless you're either a
target for their XBRL Framework, or, paying the $10,000 annual dues. Thats
$800/month, for the privilege of then, contributing even more money and time
to build the standards.

I actually was stupid enough to fly to Orlando in December to meet with the
XBRL GL group.  For a full 8-hour day, they did maintain an astonishing wall
of confidentiality, just as CPAs do in commercial negotiations, never
disclosing anything of their positions in design of a general ledger schema
or economic ontology.

The UN/CEFACT bodies only conduct their dialog in private discussions, and
in physical meetings every 6 months in international locations, usually
outside the US.  In that sense they are like the Davos group. I have asked
many times for any drafts or even discussions of principle design, but the
invariable result from this group is some assertions of political process,
releases of whatever new regulatory body they have created.  Supposedly, the
D14 of the UN/CEFACT will publish some kind of GL model soon, perhaps at the
Barcelona meeting in Spain, in March.

Here is a typical encounter with Robert Lemense who never participates on
technical or design discussions.  The guy is 65, he is part of the French
EDI establishment.  He was a champion of ENTREC.

Bear in mind, the world is not beating down the doors looking for a GL
specification or even a family of EAI integration schemas like OAGIS, SMBXML
or QBXML.  They happen to work pretty well. But what difference does that
make if *none* of the commercial software vendors is utilizing them?  other
than perhaps, their own proprietary interface (if you're lucky)

It is only the individual and SME who really needs a GL standard...

2. e-business integration standards.

Obviously, the number of industry specific semantic models has grown, and
have gotten much more detailed and accurate in every industry.  Look at all
these diverse standards! --new and old, continuing to evolve and develop.

There's also the nearly daily news on Robin Cover pages, but that is just
within the universe of XML (technology-specific),

These are not bad news and these, are the real battleground where e-
business semantics are being forged. Not the centeralized standard
bodies.   So, the question is, similar to General Ledger interface
standards:  how can horizontal interop. be achieved in a world of excellent
vertical schemas being used in every industry? There are two answers really.
Bigtime mapping infrastructures like Biztalk Server or EAI platforms, or,
hopefully, some future metadata registry and open source code, that enables
developers toachieve mapping more easily.

3.  The Core Components framework.

Core Components is the common metadata architecture that applies the
principles of ISO 11179 to the business domain.  This is a very large
subject and the place to start is perhaps reading some easy warmups, from
the magazines on the web.

Core components technical specification provides the rules, for designing
semantic elements. Users can combine them anyway they like.  This is not
about prescribing anything, it is about nailing down the most obvious and
wellknown entities like dates, parties, locations, products, contacts, and
the vocabulary for commitments and fulfillments.  These conceptual entities
are already well established in contract law. There is no doubt, their brief
definitions can be stacked up like a dictionary, with unique identifiers,
and we can all get down the road with a single language.

The Core Components framework removes the infighting over the naming of the
element, or the syntax of expressing it as EDI, XML etc. or national
biases or *any other objection.*   Since it is fundamentally a
dictionary of atomic elements, you can assemble them into any document you
desire. There is no doubt, this is the way forward. Core components can
describe all of those excellent vertical XML schemas.  They don't have to
cooperate and they can wish it wasn't true.  Nothing can stop you from
creating a core component version of AnythingXML, which is therby,
interoperable to some degree, with your own component model. Nothing can
stop me from interoperating with Robert Lemenses' thing if he ever publishes
it, or with the XBRL GL which is occasionally released to the public after
it's been decided by their members. And, nothing will stop the users of ARAP
GLIE's from abandoning it and adopting the XBRL or the UN/CEFACT GL.

This is where my fingers get tired.  You really should install Poseidon and
join with Arne and I to continue the work on the version 2 of ARAP
Submission to the OMG with its associated set of Core Component semantics.
Let's make it just better.  The registry is a meritocracy. Regardless of
whoever discovers, and correctly defines, the atomic entities, or the
correctly designed aggregate entities, they will be there for 100 years.
Picture yourself during the renaissance, when scholars argued over the
definitions in the Oxford dictionary.  That's what's happening here, except
that it will not take long.  A couple more years.

Thanks for listening if you're still there,
Todd Boyle CPA  9745-128th Ave NE  Kirkland WA
International Accounting Services, LLC
address@hidden  425-827-3107  project

 > At 04:04 PM 2/23/02, Neil Tiffin wrote:
 > At 3:18 PM -0800 2/23/02, Todd Boyle wrote:
 >> GNUE project is certainly not unique in ignoring various
 >> standards of course.  We should count our blessings and
 >> salute Neil, Derek, and other key developers for their generosity  >> in
offering this open source project to the community.  They're  >  > Having
worked with GNUE for almost 2 years I think the issue is NOT the  > lack of
desire to use standards.  I for one would much rather use  > someone else's
prior work in the form of standards instead of trying to  > create a beast
from scratch.  >  > My problem is that I am not an accountant and don't have
the time to  > sort through all of the noise (standards that are being
proposed, but  > will never be implemented or represent an accepted
standard).  >  > I have not found an accounting standard that applies to
GNUe.  There are  > all sorts of standard that are vying for control of how
accounting is  > done.  But I have not found one that is geared for internal
systems.  > Most of the ones mentioned, so far, have been for data
interchange and  > they are not currently practical for high volume
transactions internal  > to a company.  >  > Of course, my look at
accounting standard has only been cursory, so  > please feel free to
enlighten me if a standard exists that is practical.  >  > Neil

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