XBRL Filing & XBRL Conversion in Singapore

ACRA Announces Revised XBRL Filing Requirement and Releases New XBRL Preparation Tool for Companies

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.

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What do we need to prepare XBRL?

A soft copy of your full set 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.

5 Key benefits of XBRL

Benefit #1 – Wide range of user benefits

XBRL has a range of benefits that are very helpful to the users. That is because it is an extensive software where you can compare multiple data all at once. You can also analyze the data as you make comparisons through the XBRL. This software can readily present the necessary information that you need. Information, such as investment data, stakeholder details, and even government agencies, is very accessible for the business owner through XBRL. Thus, this software can give lots of benefits and improvements in the business. 

Benefit #2 – No need for manual data entry

Manual inputting of data has been the norm in a business for a very long time. However, that shouldn’t be the case now that XBRL is here to help. With XBRL, manual data entry has been reduced a lot. Businesses save a lot of time by not manually preparing and reviewing large amounts of financial statements. As a result, your accounting staff will not have to allot their time in doing mundane and repetitive tasks. Thus, they can focus more on analyzing the financial data. They can focus on brainstorming cost-effective solutions.

Benefit #3 – More than a financial database

XBRL is commonly used to manage financial data. However, that is not what this software is only used for. In fact, non-financial data can be communicated through XBRL. For example, XBRL can store information of important business investors and the amount they have invested. It can also give a regular report on the investment earnings of each shareholder. It can also be a good tracking software for the inventory status of the business. With the help of a good payroll services company, they can find more ways to use XBRL in your business. As a result, the internal management reporting process becomes more efficient and improved. 

Benefit #4 – SEC recognized

The Monetary Authority of Singapore had preferred businesses to use XBRL to file their financial statements. That is because this is not only most suitable to use in Singapore. Furthermore, it is also used all around the world, most especially by the United States. 

XBRL is actually required by the United States Security and Exchange Commission or SEC to all companies under its authority since 2009. Thus, it is safe to say that XBRL is the standardized way of filing financial statements. If you decide to do business overseas, you know that you are already using a financial data software that is widely-used.

Benefit #5 – More cost-effective to use

Apart from time, expenses are saved when a company uses XBRL. There is no need for the company to hire someone whose main job is to just to manually input data. If they are able to incorporate XBRL in other aspects of the business, some data-related mistakes and other data monitoring issues can be avoided. As a result, the company has no need to exert funds and effort to fix these issues.

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/ XBRL Conversion?

The following types of companies are exempted from XBRL conversion filings their full set of financial statements in XBRL format. Instead, the companies that are exempt from XBRL conversion will file their financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL format instead.

(1) Companies that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Companies that are generally regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore include:

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


(2) Companies that are allowed (by law) to prepare accounts with other accounting standards

Other companies exempt from XBRL conversion are businesses 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 XBRL conversion private companies (EPCs) will continue to be exempted from filing their FS with XBRL 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.
  2. A full set of financial statements in PDF with Financial Statements Highlights in XBRL ACRA format.

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


Applicable Financial Periods

The revised XBRL filing requirements will be applicable for companies if they are filing financial statements with periods ending on or after 30 April 2007.

Companies XBRL filing financial statements relating to financial periods ending before 30 April 2007 will continue to file their financial statements in PDF format and their financial highlights in respect of the financial statements in their Annual Return (AR).


What are the Advantages of Preparing the XBRL Voluntary?

Free data analysis will be made available at ACRA’s new one-stop financials filing portal, BizFinx. BizFinx will commence operations when the revised filing requirements take effect in October. Company directors and officers can log into BizFinx Portal to generate the free analysis within 30 days after filing their AR form with a full set of financial statements in XBRL ACRA format.

This analysis is only available once a year upon the filing of the AR by the company and companies can utilize these data to:

– Benchmark themselves against peers
– Compare their performance against competitors
– Gain a competitive edge with improved analytics
– Understand industry trends and make appropriate decisions
– Achieve cost savings within your company with better business insights and quicker and more accurate decision-making
– Compare, share and transmit data with related subsidiaries and different company divisions even if different accounting systems are being used.


How can I Prepare?

If your Singapore company is not exempt from XBRL conversion, it is important to go through the XBRL filing process with an experienced consultant or consultancy firm. You can either:

  • Free yourself of the hassle by engaging a professional firm like W.L.P Pte. Ltd. to assist you in the preparation.
  • Do the XBRL filing yourself. Download the tool at ACRA website, go through all the procedures and prepare the XBRL filing report yourself.

To facilitate DIY XBRL filing, ACRA has provided a free offline tool known as “BizFinx” to enable companies to prepare and manage their FS in XBRL.

Looking for a trusted consultancy in Singapore to help you with XBRL ACRA filing or HR? Call+65 6493 2970 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced XBRL filing consultants! Alternatively meet with us for a HR shared services Singapore consultation.

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Financial Statement Preparation:

Directors are required to present accounts that comply with the Accounting Standards and which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company to its shareholders. Our accountants would ensure that your Financial Statement is prepared according to the required Accounting Standards for filing to ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). We can also assist you with preparation of AUDITED financial accounts, if required. Check out our Financial Statement Preparation Service.

GST Computation & Submission:

If you are a GST-registered trader, you would need to submit quarterly GST returns to IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore). If you need assistance with computations and to avoid missing filing deadlines, check out our GST Computation & Submission Service.

Tax Computation/ Filing:

All companies/ individuals are required to pay corporate tax or income tax to IRAS (Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore) for all income earned or received in Singapore. If you need to understand how to reduce your tax liabilities legally, to compute and file your tax returns on time to avoid penalties, check out our Tax Computation/ Filing Service.