16 April 2009

The ICAEW’s IT Faculty has gained recognition for its innovative efforts in the software field. Its entry for the ‘Best technological innovation’ category of the prestigious Lexis Nexis Taxation Awards has been shortlisted.

The IT Faculty’s entry is for its achievement in bringing together rival software houses to agree an XML-based standard enabling accountancy practice software products from different suppliers to work more efficiently together. This makes it possible for practices to avoid re-keying client data that is shared between various software applications – with the result that processes become faster and more efficient, and client data more accurate.

The standard, called XAPL (eXtensible Accountancy Practice Language), has already gained widespread acceptance by software suppliers and has also been adopted by individual users. It was developed under the auspices of the Practice Software Suppliers’ Forum, which the IT Faculty hosts and chairs. Detailed work on the standard was led, on behalf of the whole group, by software developer Digita, now part of Thomson Reuters.

Simon Hurst, the IT Faculty committee member who chairs the Forum, said

"Considerable credit is due to all the suppliers in the Forum for having the foresight to work together on this project. Fears over making it easier for users to work with competing products and easier to transfer between products could have been a significant deterrent to some suppliers, but they were all able to look beyond this to see the overall benefit to users and themselves."

Max Thomas, who has managed the project for Digita from its inception, said

"We are delighted that our work is being recognized through the ICAEW and this prestigious award. By creating a common schema that allows different software applications to talk to each other, we have made a business critical contribution to the accountancy profession.

"General adoption of the XAPL standard means that practices have the freedom to choose the package that they consider to be absolutely the best solution for each service area without suffering the significant overhead of managing multiple versions of client data."

The final decision of the Taxation Awards judges will be announced at a gala dinner at the London Hilton on 21 May 2009.

– ENDS –

Media enquiries:
Contact Sarah Ingram, ICAEW press office, on 020 7920 3513 or email

Notes to editors:
1. As a world leading professional accountancy body, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) provides leadership and practical support to over 132,000 members in more than 160 countries, working with Government, regulators and industry in order to ensure the highest standards are maintained.

Our members provide financial knowledge and guidance based on the highest technical and ethical standards. They are trained to challenge people and organisations to think and act differently, to provide clarity and rigour, and so help create and sustain prosperity. The ICAEW ensures these skills are constantly developed, recognised and valued.

Because of us, people can do business with confidence.

2. The ICAEW is a founding member of the Global Accounting Alliance with over 700,000 members worldwide.

3. The ICAEW’s IT Faculty provides products and services to chartered accountants make the best possible use of IT. It represents chartered accountants’ IT-related interests and expertise and contributes to IT-related public affairs.

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