iXBRL Explained

So, what is iXBRL? Here is a very condensed version of how I understand it.

The last couple of days I have dived into iXBRL to be able to get a better understanding. Carl explained it to me by saying, items in the financial statements are tagged with the same name so that everybody was reporting in the same way. I thought that sounded really simple and easy to understand, but then Carl is talented at explaining complicated things. Since then he has taken a few months sweating over creating iXBRL Mate, so I think it must be quite complex.

I listened to the SAICA webinar, read everything on the CIPC website, watched YouTube videos, looked at the various websites of software vendors for the front end and the back end development, and here I will document what I have learned.

In South Africa there are only about 100 000 (out of 1,8million) entities that will be required to submit AFS in iXBRL at this stage. They don’t all need to be submitted on 1 July 2018. The company needs to submit their iXBRL within 30 days of the anniversary month of the date of incorporation, with their latest available Annual Financial Statements.

The reasons the CIPC has decided to implement iXBRL are to keep up with how the rest of the world is doing things, and to improve efficiency and effectiveness in collecting and analyzing big volumes of data. This will ensure transparency and compliance. The data will be used for research into the big picture of how businesses are doing in SA, and compare business sectors so that struggling industries can be detected early.

The benefits of iXBRL are that investors and stakeholders will have more reliable information and therefore be able to do analysis and decision making faster and more effectively.

Oh and…. What is it? It is standardized digital financial reporting. That to me seems the easiest way to understand it.

The CIPC assure us that all information will be safe and secure so that nobody who is not allowed to look at that information will be able to reach it. They may share the data with anybody they so choose.

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Written by Carol Robinson

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