When handling accounting matters for your company, there are various financial reporting standards you should be aware of. For instance, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is the standard for financial reporting software and equipment.
XBRL provides business users with a descriptive way to organize, store, search and retrieve information from financial statements. Businesses are also required to meet specific standards in order to report data generated through XBRL.
Read this guide to learn 12 things about XBRL filing Singapore employers should know.
What Is The XBRL Filing Singapore Companies Are Expected To Carry Out?
The eXtensible Business Reporting Language, better known as XBRL, is used for global electronic business and financial data communication.
The language of XBRL filing Singapore companies are required to use comes from the family of “XML” languages and is evolving into a common language for online and intra-business information exchange.
An international non-profit consortium of more than 500 businesses, organizations, and governmental bodies manages XBRL. It is an open standard software that has no license fees.
Numerous countries are already using XBRL, and its implementation continues to spread quickly worldwide.
Companies Who Are Required to Prepare XBRL Financial Statements
According to ACRA’s filing regulations, all Singapore-incorporated companies must submit financial statements (FS), including dormant ones.
However, ACRA also ruled that sole proprietorships, limited liability partnerships, or limited partnerships are exempt from FS filing Singapore companies are required to submit. Some companies are required to provide complete XBRL financial statements.
Others are only required to submit simplified XBRL Financial Statements plus a complete set of signed financial statements in PDF. The following are the types of companies that need to file XBRL financial statements:
XBRL Filing Singapore: Updated Requirements From 1 May 2021
Financial statements are to be filed in XBRL format, and the extent of the filing requirements depends on the company’s nature and size, as follows:
Solvent exempt private companies (EPCs) incorporated in Singapore
Not required to file their financial statements. If the company chooses to voluntarily file, their filing requirements are as follows:
If the company chooses to use the XBRL filing format, the extent of the filing requirements is based on the same criteria as the first group.
Companies incorporated in Singapore and regulated by the Monetary Authority in Singapore (MAS) in the banking, finance and insurance industries
Financial statements are to be filed together with a PDF copy of the financial statement which is authorized by company directors and in either template:
Only required to file a PDF copy of the financial statement which is authorized by company directors.
(Filing in XBRL format is not mandatory)
Companies Who Are Exempted From XBRL Filing Singapore
The companies who submit their financial statements in XBRL format can request exemptions from specific business regulations.
For example, a company may request an exemption to remove the requirement for comparative periods in their financial statements if they can provide sufficient justification.
Applications for exemptions are reviewed case-to-case basis with no required service fee. Companies can request exemptions by filling out the exemption request form and sending it to ACRA, attaching the XBRL file and the company’s signed AGM financial statements.
Depending on the nature of each case, processing could take anywhere from 3 to 7 business days.
If the findings of the validation show that the noted errors are “possible” or it displays “granted exemption/not applicable,” then the company may continue by uploading the XBRL file to the BizFinx server.
XBRL Filing Singapore: ACRA’s Revisions
As part of its attempts to make the reporting of financial statements more efficient, ACRA changed the required data elements and XBRL filing requirements for businesses.
Following are the updated filing requirements and data items’ effective implementation dates for companies filing XBRL financial statements:
- On or after 1 May 2021 – The companies must implement the updated number of data elements and revised filing requirements.
- From 16 May 2020 – 30 April 2021 – The companies may voluntarily implement the updated filing requirements and data items.
XBRL Filing Singapore: Filing Format & Templates
To comply with the revised XBRL Filing Singapore requirements, companies can use one of four templates, depending on their business:
- Full XBRL – This template now only contains roughly 210 data elements, a reduction of 50% from its original number. It will record data from selected notes to FS and primary statements.
- Simplified XBRL – This template includes roughly 120 data elements and replaces XBRL FSH (General). It will record all data from the financial performance and position statements.
- XBRL FSH (Banks) – This template has minor modifications. Approximately 80 data elements make up this template.
- XBRL FSH (Insurance) – This template has minor modifications. About 80 data elements comprise this template.
Benefits Of XBRL Filing Singapore
The XBRL filing Singapore companies are expected to submit provides significant benefits in analyzing and transmitting corporate information. Specifically, XBRL delivers cost savings, increased efficiency, and improved accuracy and dependability to all entities accessing financial data.
1. Better Transparency
Transparency is one of XBRL’s primary benefits since data can be quickly sliced and diced for software-based analysis. Compared to a manual comparison of financial statements, XBRL offers business analytics a far wider breadth and a greater level of complexity.
2. New Source of Data Analysis
Additionally, businesses will have access to a new source of data analysis that can be used to understand financial data, create benchmarks, compare competitors and industries, and suggest strategies to boost operational efficiency and the bottom line.
Analysis of company data may be produced and made accessible to the business community more efficiently if more organizations file in full XBRL filing format.
3. Corporate Compliance and Financial Profile (CCFP)
The Corporate Compliance and Financial Profile (CCFP), a report created by ACRA, offers a comprehensive and rapid review of a company’s compliance status, financial profile, and basic profile data. Businesses can use such XBRL-enabled data to improve company decision-making.
Many other countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and states closer to home, like Japan, China, and India, have adopted XBRL financial reporting.
XBRL filing is also gaining significant interest among stock exchanges and regulators globally to maximize the value of contributed business and financial information.
What Is The XBRL Filing Singapore Format For Your Financial Statements?
Companies have the option to use the BizFinx Preparation Tool (or prep tool) to create their XBRL financial statements offline.
As long as it meets the requirements of XBRL filing Singapore companies must comply with, businesses may utilize any third-party software solutions appropriate for making XBRL financial statements.
There are two main ways to prepare a company’s XBRL financial statements and submit them with the annual return:
- Using the BizFinx preparation tool to create XBRL financial statements and submitting the annual return via the BizFile+ platform
- Using accounting software capable of efficiently preparing and filing annual returns to ACRA
Companies can also hire a corporate service provider to assist them with preparing XBRL financial statements.
XBRL Filing Singapore: What Is BizFinx Preparation Tool?
The BizFinx Preparation Tool is a software provided by ACRA to make it easier for businesses to create XBRL financial statements that adhere to the standards of XBRL filing Singapore companies must comply with. Companies can download this tool offline for free on the ACRA website.
XBRL Filing Singapore: How to Prepare Singapore XBRL File Using BizFinx Preparation Tool
Here are the steps in preparing XBRL Financial Statements via the BizFinx Preparation Tool.
- First, download the free BizFinx preparation tool from ACRA.
- Obtain the financial statements presented at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM FS). The Preparation Tool refers to this as the “source document” and it is shown in either M Word or MS Excel formats.
- Complete the templates in the prep tool by filling out the scoping questions. Match the line items in your financial statements to the appropriate tags in the ACRA Taxonomy. Fill out each tab in the template. Only leave the data fields empty if the AGM FS does not include the needed information.
- Once finished, offline validate your XBRL FS. Review and fix any highlighted mistakes you find.
- Directly from the BizFinx Preparation Tool, validate and upload your XBRL FS. The XBRL FS will upload once you click the “Acknowledge and Upload” button, at which point the notification that the XBRL file has been uploaded will appear.
- Go to BizFile+ to file the annual return along with the proper XBRL FS uploaded.
Note: The BizFinx server will save uploaded XBRL FS for up to 14 days. Refer to Retrieving XBRL files previously lodged with ACRA for instructions on removing the XBRL FS from the BizFinx server if submitted incorrectly.
XBRL Filing Singapore: How To Upload XBRL Financial Statements
Companies must prepare their XBRL financial statements before uploading them to the BizFinx server and filing them under the Annual Return transaction on the BizFile+ portal. Companies can use the following methods to upload their XBRL financial statements:
- Using the BizFinx preparation tool’s “verify and upload” feature
- Using the BizFinx multi-upload tool
- Using a third-party program
The Financial Information in the XBRL portion of the AGM and Financial Details page will display details of the submitted file after the XBRL FS has been uploaded.
XBRL Filing Singapore: What Is BizFinx Multi-Upload Tool?
The BizFinx multi-upload tool, which ACRA introduced in May 2019, enables a company to upload one or more XBRL FS to the BizFinx server. Specifically, users can validate and upload up to 5 XBRL.zip files at once.
Companies should note that the upload size per XBRL.zip file is capped at 1MB. Additionally, XBRL files cannot be prepared using the BizFinx multi-upload tool. You need to use additional application programs, such as the BizFinx Preparation Tool, to prepare an XBRL file.
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XBRL Filing Singapore - Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The filing of XBRL financial statements is obligatory for all businesses, including dormant companies. Singapore requires limited and unlimited public and private firms to provide complete XBRL financial statements.
Meanwhile, local branches of foreign companies, as well as companies limited by guarantee (CLG), are permitted to submit their financial statements in PDF format.
XBRL refers to eXtensible Business Reporting Language which is used for global electronic business and financial data communication where data items are given identification tags so that computer software can process them quickly and efficiently.
Companies must review and complete the data elements based on the financial statements distributed to members or laid before the Annual General Meeting. Only leave the data fields empty if the AGM FS does not include the needed information.
ACRA does not specify who should submit or prepare the XBRL financial statements.
Still, it is crucial to remember that failure to comply with the Companies Act 1967 constitutes non-compliance and that it is the directors’ and companies’ duty to make every effort to ensure top quality of their filings with the Registrar.
If the financial statements of a company ends on or after 30 April of the year 2007, the company must submit its financial statements in XBRL. Meanwhile, financial statements with a fiscal year-end date before 30 April of the year 2007 must be submitted in PDF format.
No. Only locally incorporated corporations limited by shares or unlimited companies must file financial statements in XBRL format.