Based on current filing cycles, most companies will likely file their financial statements in full XBRL only in 2014. To help companies make advance preparations, ACRA is releasing a beta version of the new BizFinx preparation tool. This will provide companies with sufficient time to familiarise themselves with the revised filing requirements and transit to full XBRL filing. The final version of the tool will be freely available to companies from mid Aug 2013 onwards.
Revised Filing Requirements
In drawing up the revised filing requirements, ACRA held focus group discussions with over 80 organisations involved in the financial reporting supply chain. This included government agencies, professional bodies, accounting firms and individual companies. A balanced approach was taken that took into account the varying needs of the diverse stakeholders. ACRA also sought feedback from over 600 participants at four public seminars in May and June 2012. The seminars were organised in collaboration with professional bodies including the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS), the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA) and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF).
Unlocking the Value of Business Data
XBRL filing allows for greater transparency as data can be sliced and diced almost immediately for analysis with software tools. This affords a far wider scope and complexity for business analytics than manual comparisons of financial statements. Companies can also tap on XBRL enabled data to enhance their business decision making process. With more companies filing in full XBRL, analysis of business data can be more efficiently generated and made available to the business community. Enhancing the availability and accessibility of such information also promotes greater transparency in the marketplace which is crucial for sustainable business growth. To enable companies to experience the business value of XBRL enabled data, ACRA will offer one time free data analysis usage for companies that file their financial statement in full XBRL.
New BizFinx Preparation Tool
The beta version of the BizFinx preparation tool was developed based on feedback gathered from preparers of financial statements. A key priority was to help reduce the filing burden for companies. Key features include giving companies the ability to prepare their financial statements offline. This gives companies more flexibility in the preparation and filing process. To reduce manual data entry time, the tool is equipped with an auto-tagging function that automatically maps financial information within the financial statement using a set of accounting term synonyms. There is also drag-and-drop functionality to populate the data fields.
Focus group sessions with over 70 participants were held early this year to test a prototype of the preparation tool. The participants came from corporate secretarial firms, companies and professional bodies such as SAICSA, ICPAS and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME). Earlier this year, ACRA also sought the public’s views to further improve the usability of the preparation tool. Taking reference from the feedback received, ACRA continues to make more user friendly enhancements to the tool. The final version of the preparation tool will be released in August 2013. (Refer to Annex B for more information of the preparation tool.)
Support for Companies Filing with ACRA
To further ease the transition for businesses to full XBRL filing, ACRA has worked with professional bodies to identify a range of resources and support for companies that will be available from July 2013 onwards:
(a) Roadshows and Training Sessions
A $1.8million training fund has been set up to help companies transit to full XBRL filing in October. ACRA will organise road shows and training sessions in collaboration with professional bodies such as SAICSA, ICPAS and the Singapore Business Federation. Companies can sign up for training seminars for a nominal fee and heavily-subsidised training courses on the revised filing requirements and new XBRL preparation tool. These courses will be available throughout the first year following the implementation of the revised filing requirements. The first training course will commence on 26 July.
(b) More time to file financial statements with ACRA
Non-listed companies will be given more time to file their financial statements in full XBRL. During the first year of implementation of the revised XBRL filing requirements, eligible companies which apply for 30 day extension of time to hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) can obtain an application fee waiver.
(c) Support Hotline
A dedicated support hotline will be available for companies and preparers of financial statements with issues and queries on XBRL filing.
(d) Free Data Analysis
ACRA will offer free one time usage of data analysis for companies each time they file their financial statements in full XBRL. The free data analysis will be made available at ACRA’s new one-stop financials filing portal, BizFin. The portal will commence operations when the revised filing requirements and filing in full XBRL take effect in October this year.