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Another FinCEN media statement makes no sense.

FCRO Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

One has to wonder what is happening at FinCEN's media room. As if its abolition of the possessive apostrophe in its emails isn't illiterate enough, they often make no sense. Here's an example in which both the English (American, we should say) doesn't make sense and the subject matter is, well, bemusing. Here comes the tech bit..


For example

1, Fred, Jones, Fred@dontmail.me

Would be read as Entry 1, First Name Fred, Surname Jones, e-mail Fred@dontmail.me

From Fincen's point of view, CSV files are inconvenient, slow to integrate and generally a bit messy. Some people use semi-colons instead of commas, some put extraneous information into the boxes. After all, if you look at the paper version of any FIU's reporting forms, they are complex.

XML assists companies that are using computerised records for their customers to extract exactly the information required, in the correct order, and to send it (upload it) to the FIU in a format that causes less work and less chance of error.

There is only one other small problem: as with all standards, those who set them can't stop meddling with them. W3's annoying insistence on a major re-write of HTML to create version 5 has not yet affected XML but it almost certainly will. Although there have been no new version numbers or 1.0, there have been a number of modifications - the current one (so far as we can find out) is 2008.

There is another approved version: XML 1.1 (originally 2004) which has some important differences as against 1.0.

In 2007, Microsoft more or less implemented it into its Office desktop software and OpenOffice, which has gone through several controlling bodies, was always a user of it, but again not in full compliance.

However, the general feeling in the industry is that, unless there are specific reasons for adopting 1.1, everyone should stick with XML 1.0.

The standards are mind-numbingly complex but users don't need to know them: they have been implemented in almost all reputable software, at least as to exports, even if full data exchange between applications has not been put in place. All that's needed is to select "export as XML." For those with reporting integrated with the FinCEN systems, it's even easier and may even be automated.

So, the important thing about the notice is this: XML is nothing new - it's just that FinCEN is only now insisting that reporting entities use it and that text files (a.k.a. ASCII, CSV, comma delimited, etc.) files will not be accepted after 1 June this year.

There is more information at https://www.fincen.gov/sites/d... where, just to prove that it really has lost control of its ability to use English that makes sense, it says there is a "slide deck." Good grief.