How to Ease the Process of Converting your AFS to iXBRL

January 9, 2020by Team IRIS CARBON

2019 has seen the CIPC roll out the second phase of the iXBRL mandate with the updated IFRS taxonomy. The objective of the CIPC iXBRL mandate is to accomplish the goal of gathering accurate financial data and to instill transparency through standardized financial reporting. AFS is a comprehensive document providing crucial information on the financial status of entities. The process of converting AFS to iXBRL should thus, be well understood. The ease and success of converting AFS to iXBRL completely depend on how well you understand the iXBRL reporting guidelines.

There are various aspects of the AFS to iXBRL conversion process that you need to acquaint yourself with. These include understanding the mandate itself, keeping yourself abreast of the updates in the CIPC taxonomy, understanding the scope of tagging, and knowing the different tagging approaches (On-document or template tagging). The overall process of learning and preparing your AFS to iXBRL might prove daunting. All of this is especially true if your organization has decided to take the entire process in-house. In case you’re outsourcing the AFS to iXBRL conversion to a solution/service provider, then it is imperative that you at least understand the basics of all the aforementioned aspects, so that you can verify the work done by the service provider.

The process of conversion of AFS to iXBRL can be made easy if planned well in advance and in detail. Having a strategy to prepare your iXBRL reports will allow you to file your reports with the CIPC without any hassles.

Here, we’ve listed a few ways in which you can ease the AFS to iXBRL conversion process.

Plan for a timely Submission

To ensure that your iXBRL report gets submitted without a glitch, you will need to put in prior efforts to plan the implementation of the CIPC directives. The first thing you need to do is to find out if your entity is eligible to file the AFS in iXBRL as per the CIPC mandate. The CIPC has issued a set of guidelines stating that only the entities that meet a certain Public Interest (PI) score are required to file their AFS in IXBRL. Find out your eligibility through our Public Interest (PI) score calculator.

Choose between an Outsource and an In-house option

The next thing you need to ascertain, once you find out you’re eligible, is to decide if you want to undertake the conversion process in-house or outsource it to a solution/service provider. If you choose the in house process, you will need a well-qualified team with people who have an in-depth understanding of XBRL/iXBRL, CIPC taxonomy, and the expertise in the tagging process.  If you outsource, you need to ensure that you’ve done the due diligence on the vendor so you get an accurate, timely, valid document that you can file in time.

Either way, it is best to test run your strategy – if you are planning an in-house conversion approach, use an iXBRL tool and try part of the conversion. Or if you are planning an outsourced conversion approach, ask your shortlisted vendor to test drive you through how the process would work. Also, ask for references and speak with other users of the vendor/solution to determine the pros and cons for yourself.

Plan a Calendar

Whichever path you choose to get your final iXBRL report, it is good to have a calendar in place. In an in-house conversion option, you will need to consider the amount of time that your team would need to train and understand the conversion process. It will also include the actual iXBRL preparation time. But if you’ve decided to outsource the conversion, have a review calendar planned and agreed upon with your service provider. As a rule of thumb, if you select an in-house conversion option, try and start a month ahead of your submission deadline. And if you are outsourcing, and only need to review the final iXBRL document, set aside a week to review the final iXBRL document once it comes back from your provider. This should give you sufficient buffer to pull together what is missing, seek clarifications and make sure you have the perfect report that can be lodged smoothly with the CIPC.

Have a budget chalked out

One of the most important factors that you need to consider is your budget. When you pick an in-house option, don’t forget to add the costs of your internal resources that will need to work on your iXBRL conversion. The internal costs should include manpower, training on XBRL, and time to constantly stay abreast of the latest CIPC taxonomy and filing rules so that your in-house team can tag, validate and create the right document for your CIPC filing. Outsourcing your iXBRL conversion to service providers may seem like a higher cost option (or not, depending on the service providers’ pricing), but may actually result in a total cost that is less, if they don’t demand your team’s time and attention except for the final review.

Your search for a credible AFS conversion service stops at IRIS CARBON®. Our SaaS platform gives you the flexibility to either use iXBRL as an in-house product or leverages our iXBRL expert team the help you with your AFS conversion. IRIS CARBON also has a disclosure management module, and you can use that not just for iXBRL, but to upgrade your compliance reporting process itself. With a presence in over 32 countries, 1.5+ million filers using our solution/services, and 5+ million files processed, IRIS is a global leader in XBRL/iXBRL.

We are a trusted partner of the CIPC and have been working closely with them ever since we implemented their iXBRL platform. The CIPC selected not just IRIS’ trusted platform to receive all iXBRL filings from South African entities, but also picked IRIS’ XII certified validator to ensure the quality of submissions. IRIS CARBON® has been leveraged by hundreds of filers in South Africa, including Nedbank, Redefine properties, and Shoprite, among others, in their iXBRL filing process.

For a Free Demo of the IRIS CARBON® Solution.