What Is iXBRL and What Benefits Does It Provide?

October 9, 2018by Team IRIS CARBON

The eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is being leveraged world-over by regulators and filers for reporting business and financial information. ‘XBRLization’ of financial data today is used by over 100 regulators in more than 60 countries.

However, XBRL can be interpreted only by machines. An XBRL instance document is composed of XML files that require a rendering engine or an XBRL instance viewer to interpret and present the data in a human-readable format.

What is Inline XBRL or iXBRL?

The Inline XBRL (iXBRL) specification on the other hand has been made readable for both humans and machines. iXBRL is an XHTML file that has XBRL data embedded in a well-formatted HTML document. The basic idea of developing iXBRL is to allow preparers to retain the original view or formatting of the source document, while creating an XBRL document. The XHTML representation of the information is what aids the document to be human readable.

iXBRL was originally developed by XBRL International (XII) to meet the requirements of the UK’s HMRC. It was built to retain the formatting of documents being submitted to obtain a machine-readable XBRL data bundled with the original human-readable formatting.

Global implementations of iXBRL

Below are regulators around the world that have already implemented iXBRL:

• In April 2011, companies in the UK started filing their annual accounts and corporation tax returns in inline XBRL to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
• Japan’s Financial Services Agency (JFSA) mandated XBRL in 2008 and this was later replaced with the iXBRL format in 2013.
• In 2012, the Revenue Commissioners of Ireland initiated a voluntary program for all tax payers to file their financial statements in inline XBRL. The mandatory filing was introduced in phases till October 2014.
• The Danish Business Authority, Denmark introduced iXBRL in a phase wise manner in 2015.
• In 2015, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had begun Inline XBRL filing program.
• The CIPC in South Africa had mandated Inline XBRL with effect from July 2018.

Apart from this, the SEC in the U.S announced to make iXBRL the de-facto reporting standard beginning 2019 in a phase wise manner, the S.S.M in Malaysia also has passed a peremptory decree for qualifying companies to file in iXBRL, ESMA in Europe has also mandated companies to file in the iXBRL format beginning 2020.

Advantages of iXBRL

Whether you are an Enterprise, an Investor or a Regulator; iXBRL is beneficial to you.

Enterprise: Digital reporting in the format of iXBRL will assist companies to egress from a dual reporting format to a single structured format that enables human and machine readability. With iXBRL companies would need to review and approve only one document (iXBRL) as opposed to two formats- XBRL and HTML. The benefits are seen in time and cost savings, faster review process, more reliable and accurate handling of data, improved analysis and better quality of information and decision-making.

Investors: An iXBRL submission portal enables transparency of business and financial information to investors. Structured and standardized data allows for easily comparison of business reporting and analysis.

Regulators: XBRL has its own limitations since it is not linked to the source document and there may be chances that the numbers in the source document and XBRL do not tick and tie. With Inline XBRL, instances of such errors are considerably reduced since the numbers are tagged on the document itself. Regulators can also detect any inconsistencies or early signs of malpractice or fraud.

One of the limitations of iXBRL is that there may be some information that would need to be tagged but the tag is not available on the face of the document. Such information needs to be tagged off-the-document or in the Hidden Section.

IRIS CARBON® offers XBRL and iXBRL services
With an experience of having worked in over 32 countries with over 300+ XBRL professionals, we are committed to provide high quality data and have offered solutions and services around iXBRL as a standard since 2011. Contact us should you need any assistance.

Book Your Demo of the IRIS CARBON® Solution.