An article published by Government Technology, XBRL Ends Spreadsheet Hell, explains how XBRL ended spreadsheet hell for a department within the state of Nevada. Kim Wallin, Nevada's controller says:
"The goals were timely and accurate data, stronger internal controls, reduced costs, a standardized system of seamless data exchange, business processes and data elements. XBRL met all of those goals."
The article discusses two projects where XBRL was used to supplement what had been done with spreadsheets alone. One project related to the tracking of grants and the other relating to debt collection.
In addition, the article says XBRL would be an "excellent enhancement" to a SOA (service oriented architecture, basically web services) business portal Nevada is looking at developing.
Imagine if every US state created an SOA business portal, as well as the US federal government! Or heck, every country creates an SOA portal. Imagine both the efficiency of such a system and the transparency which could be offered to the voters to keep tabs on government spending. Imagine the data economists could have to populate their economic models.