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.
From 1 November 2007, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) implemented the 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?
On 1 May 2021, ACRA revised the XBRL filing requirements to streamline the filing of financial statements. All Singapore-incorporated companies are required to file financial statements with ACRA, except for those which are exempted. Some companies will file a full set of financial statements in XBRL format, while some others will file key financial data in XBRL format and a full set of the signed copy of the financial statements tabled at an annual general meeting and/or circulated to members (AGM financial statements) in PDF.
WHAT ARE THE REVISED XBRL TEMPLATES?
- Full XBRL template- The number of data elements for this template has been reduced by 50% to about 210 data elements compared to an earlier version. It will capture the information in primary statements and selected notes to the Financial Statements;
- Simplified XBRL template- A Simplified XBRL has about 120 data elements. It will capture the complete information in the statements of financial performance and position;
- XBRL FSH (Banks) template – There is minimal change to this template. This template has about 80 data elements; and
- XBRL FSH (Insurance) template – There is minimal change to this template. This template has about 80 data elements.
Which business types are excluded from XBRL filing?
If you own a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership, you are not required to file financial statements with ACRA.
Solvent-exempt private companies (EPCs) will also be exempted from filing their financial statements with ACRA.
Insolvent EPCs will have the following options to file their financial statements with ACRA:
- A full set of financial statements in XBRL format; or
- Simplified XBRL if the company satisfy as a smaller and non-publicly accountable company.
Smaller and non-publicly accountable companies are given the advantage of filing their Financial Statement in a Simplified XBRL format and a PDF copy of the Financial Statement authorised by their directors.
A smaller company is when the revenue and total assets in the financial statements for the current year do not exceed S$500,000, respectively.
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.
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].
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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.
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Compliance with Local Laws
Why do you need a Corporate Secretary?
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.