What is XBRL?
eXtensible Business Reporting Language or XBRL is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data worldwide. XBRL is open-source software that enables the organization and management of financial data for research and analysis. It also facilitates the communication of financial information online and among businesses with significant accuracy and reliability.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA) has adopted XBRL as part of its overall strategy to streamline financial reporting and to enable the flow of financial information into the international business community, and thus promoting a pro-enterprise environment, according to our Singapore tax consultation experts.
XBRL Filing Singapore Requirements
As of 1 November 2007, all Singapore incorporated companies, which are unlimited or limited by shares, must submit financial statements in XBRL format. Others that are allowed to continue to file financial statements in PDF format are as follows:
- Companies limited by guarantee will be able to continue filing financial statements in PDF format as tabled at the Annual General Meeting (AGM);
- Companies that are commercial banks, merchant banks, registered insurers and finance institutions as stated in the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Financial Institutions Directory;
- All companies that are permitted by law to prepare in accordance with accounting standards other than Singapore or International Financial Reporting Standards.
Filing Financial Statements in XBRL
There are two options available in preparing financial statements in XBRL.
- Option A – Full XBRL
- Option B – Partial XBRL
Option A – Full XBRL
A company filing its Annual Return (AR) can prepare the financial statements in full XBRL if the company uses FS Manager to prepare the full set of financial statements for tabling at the Annual General Meeting (AGM); or FS Manager is used to prepare a full set of financial statements identical in content to the full set of financial statements tabled at the AGM.
Option B – Partial XBRL
A company filing its Annual Return can prepare the financial statements using Option B. It must, however, attach a PDF copy of its full set of financial statements as tabled at the AGM. In the case of a private company which has dispensed with holding an AGM, it shall be a copy of its full set of financial statements sent to the shareholders of the company. With Option B, a company must file a minimum of Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Comprehensive Income and information denoted by a red asterisk in FS Manager. If the company presents all items of income and expense in two statements, both Statement of Comprehensive Income and Income Statement must also be filed.
A snapshot of XBRL filing requirements
|Statements for Financial Periods Beginning On or After 1 January 2009||Option A |
|Option B |
|Statement by Directors|
|Independent Auditors’ Report||*|
|Statement of Comprehensive Income (and Income Statement, if the company has presented all items of income and expense in two statements)|
|Statement of Financial Position|
|Statement of Changes in Equity|
|Statement of Cash Flows|
|All Notes to the Financial Statements|
|Mandatory information denoted by a red asterisk in FS Manager|
* Applicable for companies not exempted from audit requirement.
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