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What is XBRL?

2 minute read


eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL), is a language for the electronic communication of business and financial data worldwide.

Since 1 November 2007, The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

implemented a procedure of filing financial statements in XBRL format. Why was it implemented? It was to create an effective business communication environment between different entities and government authorities.

Using your accounting records, you can prepare your financial statements that consist of: comprehensive income/profit-and-loss, financial position (balance sheet), cash flow and equity changes.


Benefits of XBRL

XBRL offers cost savings, greater efficiency, and improved accuracy and to all those involved in supplying or using financial data. XBRL is being used in a number of countries and implementations of XBRL are growing fast all around the world.

XBRL offers benefits at all stages of business reporting and analysis. It saves costs, increases efficiency and accuracy when handling data. The XBRL language’s intent is to support all aspects of reporting in various countries and industries. It can be adjusted to meet particular business requirements.

Who needs to comply with XBRL filing?

All businesses in Singapore (unlimited or limited by shares) are required to file their financial statements in XBRL format. However, some companies are exempted from filing:

  • Companies limited by guarantee
  • Companies like commercial banks, merchant banks, registered insurers and finance companies that are regulated by MAS
  • Foreign companies and their local branches
  • Companies that are allowed by law to prepare accounts in accordance with accounting standards other than the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards or the International Financial Reporting Standards

Those companies listed above are required to submit their financial statements in PDF format to ACRA. Find out more here.

Preparing and filing XBRL financial statements

Below are some of the steps that you can follow when filing your financial statements in XBRL format with ACRA.

Preparing your company’s financial statements in XBRL format using BizFin

Step 1) You can download ACRA’s free BizFin preparation tool 

Step 2) Get the financial statements from your company’s annual general meeting (AGM). This will be referred to as the “source document” in the preparation tool. This can be in Microsoft Word or Excel format.

Step 3) Map the items in your financial statements to the tags within the ACRA Taxonomy. Remember to fulfil the minimum requirement list.

Step 4) When the above step has been completed, validate your XBRL financial statements. If you have any errors, it would then be highlighted, which you can then review.

Step 5) After all that is done, save the XBRL financial statements for submission in the BizFin portal.

Uploading your company’s XBRL financial statements to BizFin Portal

You then have to log into your BizFin portal with Corppass to validate and upload your XBRL financial statements. Remember to review any errors that might be highlighted.

Filing your company’s XBRL financial statements through Annual Return form in BizFile

To file your XBRL financial statements through Annual Return form via BizFile, click here for a step by step guide for companies with a FYE before 31 August 2018 and click here for companies with a FYE on or after 31 August 2018.

Let Sleek help you with the filing process

Business owners can focus on their business peacefully by outsourcing a professional accounting service provider who knows everything there is to know about XBRL filing and how it works.

At Sleek, our team of accountants can help file your XBRL financial reports on time and accurately. Contact us to begin today!


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