XBRL: Meeting Digital Financial Reporting Requirements

What is “XBRL”? The acronym stands for “eXtensible Business Reporting Language”. According to iOCO, “XBRL is a freely available electronic language for financial reporting that is based on Extensible Markup Language (XML) and is produced and consumed by XBRL-enabled software.”

Since 1 July 2018, the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC) has enforced its right to prescribe the use of XBRL for financial reporting (in line with the requirements of the Companies Act). The CIPC considers XBRL the international best-practice standard for Digital Business Reporting, and confirms that it is:

  • A freely available Standards-Based way to communicate business information
  • Based on a Taxonomy (dictionary of facts)
  • Managed by a global non-profit consortium known as XBRL International, covering more than 50 countries
  • The local jurisdiction lies with XBRL South Africa

How Does XBRL Work?

Once the user has mapped the necessary data, XBRL takes over. The software selects, analyses, stores and exchanges the information. This drastically reduces the chance of errors creeping in, by limiting manual interaction with the data.

“Because it is a standardised language, XBRL enables efficient apples-to-apples comparison of financial data across multiple companies and industries. To this end, XBRL applies identifying mappings to items of data, enabling them to be processed and analysed in an interactive way. XBRL mappings provide financial communities with a digital standards-based method to prepare, publish, reliably extract, and automatically exchange financial statements of publicly held companies. XBRL does not establish new accounting standards. Instead, it enhances the usability of existing standards,” confirms the CIPC.

How Can iOCO Help?

The CIPC sets out specific areas in which Software Providers are called to assist businesses in their XBRL reporting. As such, iOCO delivers the following XBRL consulting services:

  • XBRL as a service:
    • Pre-tagged templates for population and XBRL conversion
  • Assistance to ensure Back-End Automation:
    • Investigate capabilities of existing software solutions already in place
    • Custom development of back-end automation / integration
  • Assistance in Tagging of AFS data and submission of XBRL files to the CIPC:
    • Custom-developed software packages for manual tagging (no back-end automation / integration)
    • Complete outsourcing of Annual Financial Statement compilation (submit spreadsheet or Word doc, receive iXBRL back)

The Benefits of XBRL

iOCO offers various XBRL extensions to ensure databases remain compliant, and reporting is in line with legal mandates. XBRL itself offers various benefits, including:

  • Significant benefits in the preparation, analysis and communication of business information
  • It offers greater efficiency, improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in supplying or using financial data

Are you 100% compliant in your XBRL Reporting? Let the iOCO team help you to achieve standard business reporting that is both convenient and reliable. Contact us at Mandy.Leonard@iOCO.tech.