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What is XBRL?
XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language. It is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data worldwide. As one of the family of "XML" languages, it is becoming a standard means of communicating information between businesses and on the Internet. Providing major benefits in the analysis and communication of business information, XBRL offers cost savings, greater efficiency, and improved accuracy and reliability to all those involved in using financial data.
Is your Company required to file XBRL?
All Singapore incorporated companies are required to file financial statements (FS) with ACRA, except for those which are exempted. Some companies will file a full set of FS in XBRL format, while some others will file key financial data in XBRL format and a full set of signed copy of the FS tabled at annual general meeting and/or circulated to members (AGM FS) in PDF.
If you own a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, or limited partnership, you are not required to file FS with ACRA.
The below flow chart is a simple way to check whether if your company needs to file XBRL, and if so what type of XBRL filing is required.
Preparing XBRL financial statements
There are two key ways to prepare your company’s financial statements in XBRL format (“XBRL FS”) and file them as part of your company’s annual return:
Prepare XBRL FS using BizFinx preparation tool and file the annual return through BizFile+ portal. The steps are provided below; or
Use accounting software that can seamlessly prepare and file annual return (with Simplified XBRL FS) to ACRA.
You can also engage the service of a corporate service provider to help your company prepare XBRL FS.
Preparing your company's financial statements in XBRL format using Bizfinx:
Download ACRA's free BizFinx preparation tool here.
Retrieve the financial statements tabled at your company’s annual general meeting ("AGM FS"). This is referred to as the “source document” in the preparation tool, which can be in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel formats
Map the line items in your financial statements to the relevant tags within the ACRA Taxonomy. Complete all tabs in the template. Leave the data fields blank only if the information requested is not disclosed in the AGM FS.
When completed, validate your XBRL FS offline. Review and correct the errors highlighted, if any.
Login to BizFile+ to file the Annual Return with the correct XBRL FS uploaded.
Validate and upload your XBRL FS directly from BizFinx preparation tool.
Common mistakes on filing XBRL
1. AGM financial statements do not match text block data in XBRL format
Ensure that the content of the text block, under “Disclosure of complete set of financial statements” is legible and identical to the content of your AGM financial statements.
To insert the complete set of financial statements, double click on the text block cell to open the text editor, then copy and paste the full set of financial statements from the imported source document into the text block.
If the source document contains embedded excel objects, you may use the “Embedded Excel Conversion Utility” that is installed together with the BizFinx preparation tool to generate a set of financial statements with properly structured tables for use in the preparation tool.
2. Data in XBRL financial statements does not match AGM financial statements
The XBRL data must match the content of your AGM financial statements. Errors most commonly arise from:
Level of rounding (thousands, millions, etc.)
Currency indicators (USD, SGD, etc.)
Presentation format (e.g. type of income statement - by function/nature)
Error in net cash flows
Earnings Per Share (EPS) not provided in dollars per share
Profit (loss) from discontinued operations (when using financial statement highlights)
3. Incomplete XBRL data
Ensure that you have completed all the templates mentioned in the minimum requirement list. Only leave fields blank if they are not applicable to your company. The most common incomplete fields include:
Property, plant, and equipment
Trade and other receivables
Employee benefits expense
Name of parent entity or group
4. Incorrect mapping to XBRL financial statements
Use a “best-fit” principle when matching items to the taxonomy. Only classify unique items, which cannot be mapped to any concept in the taxonomy, under “others”.