InfoBytes: Interview with Ashish Singhvi on XBRL

Full Disclosure recently interviewed Ashish Singhvi, Technology Lead, IRIS CARBON® to chat about the product and his views about XBRL.  Ashish has close to 10 plus years at IRIS and is very passionate about XBRL. He heads the overall product development team at IRIS CARBON® and also has implemented IRIS’ XBRL reporting platforms for regulators. Here is a transcript of the interview.

What is the most pressing issue in markets that have an XBRL or iXBRL mandate newly introduced?

Ashish Singhvi: For markets where an XBRL or iXBRL mandate is newly introduced, the most challenging part is explaining the need for the mandate, the difference between iXBRL/XBRL, and how issuers need to plan for the mandate.

Though some issuers know what XBRL or iXBRL is in theory, a lot of help is needed in terms of practical applicability. After they understand the process needed to convert annual reports to XBRL or iXBRL, they usually are in a better position to take a call if they want to outsource this process, or build a practice in-house.

What sets IRIS CARBON® apart from the other Disclosure Management Solutions for the European markets?

Ashish Singhvi: Many- the first being that we are completely ESEF ready. From the ESEF taxonomy with 23 EU language labels, automated tagging, extensions, anchoring, ESEF validations- we have covered it all.

I’d like to highlight the automated tagging that IRIS CARBON® offers. XBRL Tagging always has been a completely manual process with the need to go through the annual report, select the correct tag from the taxonomy and apply such tags. It requires in-depth knowledge of XBRL and extensive familiarity with the regulator’s taxonomy.

Last year we came up with a goal to simplify the overall tagging process in such a manner that issuers don’t need to know XBRL to tag their documents. We have introduced AI / ML algorithms in IRIS CARBON® in such a manner that the platform can read labels off the annual report, match patterns, understand the context of the labels, and apply appropriate tags from the taxonomy. Where the system is not a 100% sure of the tags, it gives users suggestions from which they can pick the right tags.

The list of differentiators is in fact pretty long- IRIS’ Interactive Data Previewer, where issuers can view their iXBRL documents and easily review the embedded tags as well. Companies can also use the Interactive Data Previewer link on their Investor Relations section of their website, where stakeholders – internal, external and analysts tracking the Company’s financials have quick and easy access to smart data in an interactive manner. The platform interface can also be viewed in any of the European languages, allowing users to choose their preferred language, thereby adding more convenience while using the platform.

More than that, IRIS CARBON® is one product for multi-geo reporting. The platform is capable of handling the US, South African, European, Malaysian, Italian and Indian taxonomies. Ours is a complete disclosure management platform, completely integrated with XBRL/iXBRL functionalities.

In short, we’ve set the bar high enough and changed the regulatory compliance reporting landscape!

For issuers- our models very simple- ‘Choose what you want’ (this is true, our clients in fact love this). Filers can choose just the iXBRL module alone, or opt for the full disclosure management suite along with the iXBRL modules. Even in terms of tagging they have the flexibility of doing it themselves or leveraging our expert teams through the platform itself. Or they can choose a blended approach, a little bit of this and a little bit of that! (laughs)

iXBRL format, Extensions are some of the core requirements of the ESEF mandate. Anchoring has been introduced for the very first time in the EU. What are your views on these concepts? How easy or difficult is it to introduce these?

Ashish Singhvi: We’ve been working with Inline XBRL  format (also called iXBRL) in the UK since 2011-12 and in Ireland since 2012-13, therefore it was very easy for us to introduce iXBRL for ESEF reporting. The same is the case with extensions, our platform already supports extensions since this is a requirement in the US where we have been servicing clients since 2009.

Coming to anchoring, I would say its a fantastic concept. Companies have the ability to create extensions as they deem fit and hence companies can create extensions in different ways; therefore leading the data being non-comparable. Anchoring eliminates this limitation, data becomes comparable since entities now will need to ‘anchor’ the extensions to the base ESEF taxonomy.

Your team just had a release last month, what are the main highlights of the upgrade?

Ashish Singhvi: Again, many. The rollout for the European markets making IRIS CARBON ESEF ready was the biggest piece in the release. We also introduced the latest 2019 US GAAP taxonomy for our US filers. As mentioned earlier, we brought in the 23 EU language labels, extensions, anchoring, ESEF validations- all in this release.

Another major highlight is the introduction of the Interactive Data Previewer for Investor Relations. With this feature, a link is generated that helps issuers present their iXBRL data on their website for investors or stakeholders to view iXBRL files with ease. This link can be opened in any browser- all you need is an internet connection! (laughs). xbrl

How do you usually spend your weekend?

Ashish Singhvi: I love spending time with my children. I also love playing cricket, and like to travel.

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