iXBRL is a scary word right now, Linda Buchler, regional managing director at Ince, said at last week’s Finance Indaba Africa 2017, held at the Sandton Convention Centre. She went on to unpack what iXBRL means.
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XBRL is a barcode for financials, which holds data that is machine readable and can be explained cross currency and cross border. She said:
"It takes structured data and attaches a mapping taxonomy towards it, allowing people to share, analyse and add value."
When Ince attended the first XBRL international conference nine years ago, the US had already been mandated to start filing in XBRL the following year. While the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was the first major world exchange to adopt the XBRL report in 2004, it will only be in July 2018 that public interest companies must report in iXBRL.
The problem is that nobody can compare data, something which XBRL is doing. For the first time, regulators, investors and issuers will have a global standard where they can compare data across sectors and across currencies, and do analysis according to this, Linda explained.
Currently, the Companies and Intellectual and Property Commission (CIPC) is building its platform to accept all submissions, and will soon test their interfaces between CIPC and client companies before the live roll out.
"You'll soon see the benefit in the long run of why it's been implemented in SA at this point in time," remarked Linda.