Project Reporting 3.0 for reducing administrative burden
The project Reporting 3.0 developed from the Zero Bureaucracy initiative. It provides a solution for the automatic exchange of data required by the state, based on the principles of simplicity and minimum burden. Reporting 3.0 is a joint project of the Estonian Tax and Customs Board, Statistics Estonia and Eesti Pank. The first stage is reducing enterprises’ burden in the submission of data on wages and salaries and employees. Since 1 January 2021, enterprises can transmit wages and labour force data to Statistics Estonia. Over the next two years, the taxonomy of the rest of the data transmitted from business accounts will be developed, so that these data could also be submitted automatically.
The data submission burden means, above all, the obligation to collect the necessary data from information systems, to make calculations based on these inputs and to submit the final data in separate official environments at different times. One way to reduce this burden is to transfer the reporting data automatically. It means that enterprises continue to use their information systems as before, but the data required for reporting are captured from the information system and transmitted directly to the relevant authority. In order to adopt such a system, an enterprise might have to adjust its information systems to ensure the correct format of the transmitted data.
Enterprises should look at how their information systems can be updated, to allow them to use automatic reporting software. There is some initial set-up involved and more detailed description of transactions required during the implementation of the new software features, but this will result in a considerable decrease in the time spent on data preparation and submission. Enterprises will still be able to submit data in eSTAT, which is gradually developed for better usability. eSTAT questionnaires are automatically pre-filled with available data on wages and salaries and labour force, and the missing data can be entered separately in eSTAT or uploaded as a file. Statistics Estonia is also actively analysing where registers could serve as the primary data source.
The transition to automatic data submission is carried out gradually, with the first stage focusing on wages and labour force data. The automatic data exchange takes place via X-tee, which is a data exchange layer for information systems. The data structure is standardised, meaning that a generic taxonomy is created and the new international data exchange standard eXtensible Business Reporting Language Global Ledger (XBRL GL) is adopted.
What is XBRL GL?
XBRL GL is a structured XML-based format for information interchange. It is intended for the faster, more efficient and cost-effective transmission, processing and analysis of business and financial information. By adopting a data exchange file format based on an international standard, it is possible to generate analogous data exchanges between different applications, leading to much greater gains. The taxonomy is based on the XBRL GL standard and its extension called Dimensions 1. The taxonomy is updated in the financial information system as needed but no more than once a year.
Data transmission in the XBRL GL format is based on transactions recorded in the enterprise’s financial information system and enriched with taxonomy elements (classifications), which are summarised to a set of taxonomy elements. The details of the necessary classifications have to be defined in the financial information system, after which data of the same type can be aggregated for reporting purposes.
Materials for software developers
Statistics Estonia has published sample taxonomies and instructions for the automatic reporting of data on wages and salaries and labour costs. Software developers can use these for reference as they modify the financial information systems of data providers to enable data exchange. This solution makes data submission more convenient for enterprises, with data transmitted to the recipient authority directly from the enterprise’s financial information system.