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What is XBRL?

XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, a language used in computers to present financial statements such that they can be retrieved from online records and transferred directly to users such as auditors, regulators and financial analysts for various purposes.

More information on XBRL can be found at www.xbrl.org.

As of 1 November 2007, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) implemented a new filing requirement for Singapore incorporated companies to file their financial statements in XBRL format.

Why Is XBRL Needed?

Most companies currently file their financial statements in PDF. ACRA believes that the use of XBRL will achieve the objectives of facilitating the conduct of business in Singapore, providing more value-added financial information, and enhancing the regulatory environment with improved transparency and timely dissemination of relevant financial information.

XBRL enables source data to be tagged electronically, making the data machine-readable.

The user’s system can then automatically extract information without the need for copy-pasting or keying-in. XBRL enables the tagging of numbers, quantitative data, and textual information.

The benefits of XBRL go beyond compliance, as any data collation process can be streamlined using electronic tags.

Who is responsible for the correct representation and accuracy of financial statements in xbrl format?

Directors of their companies will continue to be responsible for the correctness and accuracy of financial statements in XBRL format filed with ACRA.

They are therefore advised to check the information to be filed before authorizing their company or third parties working on their behalf to submit the information to ACRA.

Who is affected by the revised XBRL filing?

All Singapore incorporated companies (unless exempted below) which are either unlimited or limited by shares, are required to file a full set of financial statements with ACRA in XBRL format, according to the Minimum Requirement List within the new ACRA Taxonomy 2016 (i.e. Full XBRL).

Which business types are excluded from XBRL filing?

The following types of companies are exempted from filing their full set of financial statements in XBRL format, and will file their financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format instead:

  1. Companies which are (1) Commercial Banks; (2) Merchant Banks; (3) Registered Insurers; and (4) Finance Companies, that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore
  2. Companies allowed by law to prepare accounts in accordance with accounting standards other than SFRS (Singapore Financial Reporting Standards), SFRS for Small Entities, and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards).

Solvent exempt private companies (EPCs) will continue to be exempted from filing their financial statements with ACRA.
Insolvent EPCs will have the following options to file their financial statements with ACRA:

  1. A full set of financial statements in XBRL format; or
  2. A full set of financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format.

Companies limited by guarantee will continue to file only their financial statements in PDF with ACRA.

Foreign companies and their local branches will also continue to file only their financial statements in PDF with ACRA.

What Advantages Does ACRA Provide for XBRL Submissions?

Free data analysis will be made available at ACRA’s new one-stop financials filing portal, BizFinx, which will commence operations when the revised filing requirements take effect in October 2013.

Company directors and officers will be able to log into the BizFinx Portal to generate the free analysis within 30 days after filing their AR(Annual Return) form with a full set of financial statements in XBRL format.

This analysis is only available once a year upon the filing of the AR by the company. Companies can utilize this data to:

  • Benchmark themselves against peers
  • Compare their performance against competitors
  • Gain a competitive edge with improved analytics
  • Understand industry trends and make appropriate decisions
  • Achieve cost savings within their company with better business insights and quicker, more accurate decision-making
  • Compare, share, and transmit data with related subsidiaries and different company divisions, even if different accounting systems are being used.

How Do I Prepare XBRL?

You can either:

  • Do-It-Yourself: Download the tool from the ACRA website, go through all the procedures and prepare the XBRL report yourself, OR
  • Outsource: Free yourself of the hassle by engaging a professional firm like Margin Wheeler Pte. Ltd. to assist you in the preparation of the report

What are the advantages of outsourcing if I can do it myself?

As a director, you are responsible for the correct representation and accuracy of the information filed. It is unlikely that you would entrust this task to your other team members in order to ensure high standards are maintained.

However, the filing process can be time-consuming and daunting.

Outsourcing the filing to a professional accounting services firm will give you peace of mind that your company’s compliance needs will be met.

For a small investment, you are likely to save a lot of time which can be devoted to engaging in essential business processes, rather than going through the hassle of figuring out how to use the system, extracting what to disclose, keying in the data, and verifying for correctness and accuracy.

If you have any future doubts, or if you need assistance with your accounts to meet the reporting deadlines or in tax filing, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Engage Our Service

We offer the preparation of a full set of financial statements in XBRL format (Active Company) starting from S$400, and preparation of financial highlights starting from S$200.

We require both the scanned and Word copy of the full set financial statements to to assist you with XBRL Filing.

Lead Time For Service

2 to 4 Working Days - Let's talk, and we'll get you started!

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Section 171 of the Singapore Companies Act, Chapter 50 requires ALL Singapore Companies to appoint a Singapore Company Secretary to handle on-going statutory compliance matters.

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