Country experience: Germany: statistics reporting portal
21.16. As in other countries, the former practice of collecting data exclusively through the use of paper forms was replaced by offering respondents the ability to transmit the requested information by electronic means, e.g., a spreadsheet that can be uploaded via the extranet infrastructure of Deutsche Bundesbank or the submission of an electronic report in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format.
21.17. The reaction of the reporting community to such offers was very positive, resulting in an annually increasing share of reports transmitted electronically. Although in the beginning, the target was to motivate mainly the “big players” (representing a high share of the overall reported data) to use electronic means, later the focus shifted to encompass small and medium-sized enterprises. That shift came in response to the conclusion that only a complete electronic data collection system enabled efficiency gains in the different stages of the statistical production chain (editing, aggregation, dissemination, etc.) and the reduction of the reporting burden.
21.18. The statistical reporting portal was designed to allow all respondents to electronically and securely transmit their data on international transactions and positions to Deutsche Bundesbank. The respondent can either manually enter the data or import it into the portal from another source in a prescribed data format (i.e., comma-separated values (CSV) format). In addition, the portal contains a range of help functions and plausibility checks to ease the creation of reports, e.g., when entering data, drop-down lists show the selection options available. The data are automatically checked and any potential errors are identified. The portal is also a multiclient system, meaning that it can be used by third-party submitters, such as a lawyer’s office reporting on behalf of its clients.
21.19. The main advantage of the portal is the possibility of receiving higher-quality data more quickly than with paper or other means of electronic data collection. Other advantages include the high level of security, user assistance (e.g., plausibility checks) and the integrated interface for uploading large files.
21.20. At the time of writing, Deutsche Bundesbank receives more than 86 per cent of the referenced transaction volume electronically. That high proportion of electronic reports encouraged the bank to change its legal requirements so that all respondents transmit the requested information solely by electronic means.
 For more details see www.bundesbank.de/Navigation/EN/Service/Extranet/extranet.html.