iXBRL | Just another format?

Since April 2011 HMRC & Companies House filings must be in iXBRL format. iXBRL involves the application of computer readable tags to a company’s financial statements and tax disclosure forms. So, to the human reviewer, the document remains the same, but the data can be accessed and used by software. The tags are pre-defined by these authorities, with a taxonomy library for UK GAAP, tax specific disclosure, US GAAP, IFRS specific disclosure and industry specific disclosure.

One way to think of this, is that iXBRL is just another format like PDF or HTML. Translate your financial statements by adding the relevant tags, and job done. Next year, update the financial values in your statements and the tags are already in place.

This approach works well if the scope and structure of the taxonomies, your consolidation and reporting structures and your underlying ledger structures remain relatively static. If not, then you need to think of your taxonomy library as a reporting standard that, like any other reporting standard used in your business, needs to form part of your key reference data governance and change management process.

Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) is a financial reference data governance tool that can help govern and synchronise metadata across multiple applications and vendors. Incidentally, it integrates tightly with other Oracle tools such as Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and Hyperion Disclosure Management (HDM), that many of our clients use to prepare and translate their financial statements to XBRL format…

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