UM seeks input on a project to modernize local government financial reporting

Posted on July 5, 2022 by Dene Westbrook

The Michigan Municipal League is sharing this at the request of our friends at the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) at University of Michigan. They are looking for input from local government leaders on a new fiscal reporting mechanism. This new system could have a major impact on the reporting done by Michigan’s communities, so your input is vital.

The pilot project involving the University of Michigan and others is exploring whether a new fiscal reporting mechanism for governmental entities can help create transparency—and prevent future financial crises.

CLOSUP, in partnership with the nonprofit standards setting organization XBRL US, seeks input from the public and concerned entities about its proposed digital financial data standards for local governments.

The most important and reliable information for understanding local fiscal health is found in audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFRs). ACFRs are currently provided as PDF documents, which severely limits their accessibility, comparability, and usefulness for many stakeholders. The proposed open standards, based on XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), create a fully digital human- and machine-readable version of ACFRs in order to better share the information with the public, state and others.

The digital standards, called a taxonomy, also incorporate all concepts needed for the Michigan Form F-65 (Local Unit Fiscal Report), Form 5572 (Retirement System Annual Report), and the Uniform Chart of Accounts. Digitizing this information will allow these reports to be generated automatically from the underlying data rather than manually entered into separate forms.

During the 60-day public review period set to end on Aug. 15, participants are encouraged to review and provide feedback on the proposed taxonomy, which is available online in a downloadable Excel format or in an online viewer. Detailed instructions, FAQs, and examples of XBRL-formatted financial statements are also available on the website.

The pilot project with the city of Flint was made possible through a grant to U-M from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. To learn more about the project, please visit:

1675 Green Road,
Ann Arbor MI 48105
Capitol Office
208 N. Capitol Ave.,
1st Floor Lansing, MI 48933
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