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Almost four years ago, Financial Executives International CEO Colleen Cunningham listed conversion to XBRL–the interactive data format known as extensible business reporting language–among the top 10 issues on which CFOs need to keep current. At the time, the controller’s office at United Technologies Corp. (UTC), the maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Otis elevators, hadn’t even heard of XBRL. “It was almost an epiphany,” says John Stantial, assistant controller and director of financial reporting for the Hartford, Conn.-based multinational. “Once in it, we asked, ‘Do we sit on the sidelines like everybody else?’ If we think XBRL might be coming down the path as a requirement, should we continue to work with it?”

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