Senate Bill 598 -- The Open Financial Statements Act

February 22, 2019

Senate Governance & Finance Hearing - April 10, 2019

Senate Governmental Organization Hearing - April 23, 2019


Senate Bill 598 takes the first step to modernize California’s municipal finance reporting practices. It creates the Open Financial Statements Commission to evaluate the feasibility of transitioning municipal financial reports to a machine readable format, such as iXBRL (inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language).

Issue Background:

Over 1,500 public entities prepare annual financial statements, independently audited, and submitted to the State Controller. The reports are submitted as a PDF, either in a text-searchable format or as scanned physical documents producing data that are difficult to extract and analyze. In addition, most agencies submit an unaudited financial transactions report. This dual reporting requirement places an additional burden on local agencies where there are options to have all relevant data in one report, and increases the risk of the Controller receiving inconsistent data.

iXBRL is an expansion of XBRL, based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) which allows the user to tag values on financial reports with detailed information based on a taxonomy. Documents in iXBRL are web pages readable through a web browser, and also machine-readable, enabling software to extract data and create reports to evaluate, compare, and forecast.\





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