eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) Filing is a global and standardized extensive markup language format for submitting financial statements in compliance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and it’s used in over 50 countries, including Singapore. This method of filing offers a much easier and more efficient way to process large amounts of quantitative data, while also simplifying the process by utilizing a single format.
In the context of Singapore, XBRL filing also streamlines the preparation of financial statements for companies and the processing and analysis of submissions for the relevant authorities and regulators. The automation implemented in the report creation also leads to faster and more accurate handling of information and provides a more detailed analysis of company information, all the while being more cost-effective.
Who Needs to File Financial Statements in XBRL Format?
All companies that have been incorporated in Singapore are required to submit their financial statements, with a few exemptions, in compliance with the annual filing requirements:
- Public and Private Companies: These companies have to submit complete financial statements in full XBRL format.
- Smaller and Non-Publicly Accountable Companies: These companies have to submit financial statements in the simplified XBRL template with a PDF copy of financial statements as approved by the company’s directors.
- Companies Limited By Guarantee and Foreign-Owned Companies and Branches: These companies have to submit a PDF copy of financial statements as authorized and approved by the company’s directors.
- Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership or Limited Partnership: These companies are not required to file financial statements
Smaller companies are recognized as companies whose total revenue and assets for the current financial year do not exceed SGD500,000, with this assessment being based on the financial statements regardless of the number of months it covers in the financial year.
Non-publicly accountable companies are companies that satisfy any of the following conditions:
- The company is not listed nor currently issuing debt or equity instruments for trading on a securities exchange in Singapore
- The company does not have any securities listed on an exchange outside of Singapore
- The company is not included in the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) specified list of financial institutions
What are the Different XBRL Template Types?
There are two types of XBRL templates:
- Full XBRL template: This template includes 210 data elements and captures the information in primary statements and selected notes to financial statements
- Simplified XBRL template: This template is typically used by small and non-publicly accountable companies. Includes 120 data elements and captures all information relating to the company’s financial performance and position
How to File Financial Statements in XBRL Format?
To File XBRL Financial Statement
The financial statements are to be submitted to ACRA’s BizFinx Preparation Tool, and this can be done with the following steps:
- Download ACRA’s BizFinx Preparation Tool
- Gather your finalized financial statements in either Microsoft Word or Excel format, which will be referred to as the source document in the Preparation Tool
- Assign the relevant ACRA taxonomy tags to the line items in your financial statements and complete all the tabs in the template. Data fields must only be left blank if the information being requested is not disclosed in the financial statement
- Once finished, validate XBRL financial statements offline and review and correct any highlighted errors
- XBRL file to be uploaded to the BizFin server through the BizFinx preparation tool
- Log in to the company’s BizFile+ account to file the Annual Return with the correct XBRL financial statement uploaded
To Retrieve or Submit XBLR Financial Statement
If you’ve filed your XBLR financial statement but wish to either retrieve or delete this, any authorized personnel of the company—directors, company secretary, registered filing agent for example—should log onto the company’s BizFile+ portal and select the Financial Statements in XBRL option in the portal’s dashboard.
This will bring you to a table with all your past submissions, which you can then choose to either download or delete. However, keep in mind that this process is only applicable to financial statements that have yet to be filed. You’ll be able to identify this by looking at the Status column of the table. This should state Uploaded and not Filed.
To Correct an Error in the XBRL Financial Statement
If you’ve realized that you’ve made an error in filing your company’s past XBRL filings, there are two different methods that you can use to rectify this. For any typographical or clerical errors, you can file a Notice of Error (NOE) with ACRA to correct these. Notice of Errors should be filed as soon as possible as companies can be charged with legal consequences if these errors are believed to have been made to mislead the authorities.
For Notice of Errors in Annual Returns filed before January 3, 2016, the company will be required to include a PDF copy of the AGM financial statements in this submission. For Notice of Errors in Annual Returns filed on or after January 3, 2016, the company will be required to prepare and submit the amended financial statement in ACRA’s BizFinx portal.
Alternatively, you can also file a Court Order to render your previously filed Annual Return void and re-file a new one.
When is the XBRL Filing Due?
Financial statements in XBRL format have to be prepared and filed after the financial year ends. From this time period, listed companies will have five months to submit their statements, while non-listed companies will have seven months. Not meeting this deadline can warrant penalties to be imposed by ACRA.
Common XBRL Filing Mistakes to Avoid
Certain mistakes need to be avoided when filing your financial statements in the XBRL format. Here are some of the most common ones.
Annual General Meeting Statements Don’t Match XBRL Statements
The contents of your Annual General Meeting (AGM) financial statements must be legible and identical to the contents of the text block under Disclosure of the complete set of financial statements. You can insert the complete set of statements by double-clicking on the text block cell. This will open a text editor where you can paste the full set of financial statements from the imported source document file.
XBRL Statements Don’t Match with Annual General Meeting Statements
Both XBRL and AGM statements and data must match. It’s worth noting that the most common errors occur in the following areas:
- Rounding of numbers
- Currency indicators
- Presentation format
- Incomplete net cash flows
- Earnings Per Share (EPS) are not in dollars per share format
- Types of accounting standards
- Profit and loss from discontinued operations
- Disclosing SGD 0 in the preceding year when consolidated financial statements are being prepared for the first time, with no presentation of the group's previous year's financial data in the annual general meeting's financial reports.
Incomplete XBRL Filing Data
Companies must accomplish all the templates specified in the minimum requirement list. Fields can only be left blank if it doesn’t apply to your company, with the most common incomplete fields being Property, plant and equipment, Trade and other receivables, Share capital, Employee benefits expense, and Name of parent entity group
Incorrect Taxonomy Mapping
Companies are encouraged to adopt the best-fit principle when matching items to the relevant taxonomy. Unique items that don’t align with other concepts in the taxonomy can be matched to Others.
Leave it to WealthBridge!
As much as it has streamlined the process of filing financial statements, the XBRL format may still seem like a very intimidating and confusing form to fill out on your own, but WealthBridge is here to make things easier for you.
WealthBridge offers a wide range of corporate services, including accounting services, that can simplify the entire process for you. With years of experience dealing with a wide range of companies across different industries, WealthBridge’s team of accounting professionals is ready to help you out.