XBRL Financial Report Services in Singapore

ACRA announced on 30 September 2013 that the revised XBRL filing requirements will be implemented from 2 December 2013. Replacing the online FS Manager will be a new offline tool, BizFinx, for preparing XBRL financial statements and the BizFinx Portal, for submitting the Annual Returns together with these  financial statements.

What is XBRL?
XBRL stands for eXtensible Business Reporting Language, a language used in computers to present financial statements such that they can be retrieved from online records and transferred directly to users such as auditors, regulators and financial analysts for various purposes. More information on XBRL can be found at www.xbrl.org. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) implemented a new filing requirement for Singapore incorporated companies to file their financial statements (FS) in XBRL format as of 1 November 2007.
Why the need for XBRL?
Most companies currently file their FS in PDF format. ACRA believes that the use of XBRL will achieve the objectives of facilitating the conduct of business in Singapore, providing more value-added financial information and enhancing the regulatory environment with improved transparency and timely dissemination of relevant financial information.
XBRL enables source data to be tagged electronically, making the data machine-readable. Thus, the user’s system can automatically extract the information without the need for copy-pasting or keying-in. XBRL enables tagging of numbers, quantitative data and textual information. The benefits of XBRL go beyond compliance since any data collation process can be streamlined using electronic
tags.

Who is responsible for the correct representation and accuracy of information?
Directors of the companies will continue to be responsible for the correctness and accuracy of FS in XBRL format filed with ACRA. They are therefore advised to check the information to be filed before authorizing their company or persons to submit the information on behalf of the company to ACRA.

Who is affected by the revised XBRL filing?

All Singapore incorporated companies (unless exempted below) which are either unlimited or limited by shares required to file their financial statements with ACRA will be required to file a full set of financial statements in XBRL format, according to a Minimum Requirement List within the new ACRA Taxonomy 2013 (i.e. Full XBRL). Filing of Option B (Partial XBRL), using FS Manager, will no longer be available.

Which businesses are excluded from XBRL filing?

The following types of companies are exempted from filing their full set of financial statements in XBRL format, and will file their financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format instead:

  1. Companies which are (1) Commercial Banks; (2) Merchant Banks; (3) Registered Insurers; and (4) Finance Companies, that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore; and

  2. Companies allowed by law to prepare accounts in accordance with accounting standards other than SFRS, SFRS for Small Entities and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards).
     

Solvent exempt private companies (EPCs) will continue to be exempted from filing their FS with ACRA.
Insolvent EPCs will have the following options to file their financial statements with ACRA:

  1. A full set of financial statements in XBRL format; or

  2. A full set of financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format.

 
Companies limited by guarantee will continue to file only their financial statements in PDF format to ACRA.
Foreign companies and their local branches will also continue to file only their financial statements in PDF format to ACRA.

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