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Can I convert Excel to IXBRL?

As a practice we only produce one set of accounts in Excel format so we are looking for a way of converting them into IXBRL without having to spend a fortune on software and without having to spend hours tagging everything ourselves. Some kind of Excel add on would be the perfect solution. I'm sure there must be other practices facing the same problem, so I would appreciate any recommendations you could pass on to us.

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Tagging tool

Hello simon1

You can indeed buy a "tagging tool", which can be used to convert files from Word or Excel into XBRL.

These are cheaper than a full software package, but as I udnerstand it are inevitably slightly more limited, and as a result some manual tagging is necessary.

Iris provide such a tagging tool and I'm sure all of the big software companies do, as there are undoubtedly numerous firms who still use Excel and Word for preparing accounts.

Alternatively, you could consider outsourcing the tagging function to a third party - which again is a solution offered by Iris - but this can be fairly costly. 

Hope this helps.

Best wishes

Paul 

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VT

You can use the VT add-in to produce an iXBRL file from any set of accounts or tax computation in any Excel workbook.

Views differ on how easy it is to self tag a set of accounts. If you have to select tags from the full list (called a taxonomy in the jargon) then it is not easy at all. However, VT includes a special tagging dialog in which all the tags for a small company are laid out in the form of a sample set of accounts. Hence it is very easy to find the tag you want (see screenshot). It is possible with experience to self tag a small set of accounts in 15 minutes. All the tagging data is saved in your own workbook (but is only accessible by the VT add-in).

Once your workbook is tagged you just have to click on the Generate iXBRL File button on the toolbar create by the add-in (see screenshot). VT will check your tagging and tell you if there are any problems. If there are critical problems it will not generate an iXBRL file. In theory, it is not possible to generate an iXBRL file using VT that will be rejected by HMRC, but things can go wrong further down the line.

See also: VT's tagging guide.

Most users of VT use the built-in templates which are pre-tagged.

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

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Iris OpeniXBRL

Following my namesake's mention, Iris's online solution is worth a look as it should automatically tag the majority of data.  From what I know you pay as you go, per client and other accountants I know add this to the fee.

http://accountancy-practice.iris.co.uk/iris-openapps/iris-openixbrl.aspx

 

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Similar query last month

It seems you are not alone, as Sir Digby Chicken Caesar asked the same thing last month.

Simon Hurst also tried his hand at the task using Excel and an iXBRL taxonomy a couple of years ago ago and concluded it was not worth trying it as a totally DIY exercise. Instead, he recommended looking at some of the tagging tools such as Seahorse and arkksolutions  (available at £25 a pop via TaxCalc).

Philip's approach at VT is very interesting. When I get a few moments to investigate iXBRL habits further, I will take a closer look

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Hi

Produce your normal set of accounts and then input the accounts into the HMRC CT online filing software, it's free, relatively straight forward and for one off, got to be quicker than trying to tag everything?

 

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HMRC software isn't always the answer

HMRC's software can only cope with very simple accounts.  In our office, we use Sage to produce the accounts for the vast majority of our clients.  We have a few clients with very complex requirements where Sage can't cope, so those accounts are prepared on a mixture of Excel and word.  One is a reasonably large local charity.  HMRC has them on the dormant company list, so we only need to submit a tax return every 5 years, and as far as I'm aware, they will accept pdf for them.  In any case, we have another 4 years before we need to worry about them again.  The others are large groups preparing consolidated accounts, and one them involves 48 different subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures prepared in 8 different currencies and the group accounts are in IFRS.  For them, an outsourced tagging service is really the only option.

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Excel to XBRL using VT

I have been using VT very successfully to generate my XBRL files.  I have set up a new page in my standard excel template and this page now holds all the information gathered from other pages, so that the directors' report, P&L, balance sheet and notes are all on the one page, which is solely for XBRL purposes.   I manually tagged all relevant cells and VT makes this extremely easy to do.  Once done, to generate an xbrl file, I click on 'Add-ins', 'VT XBRL', Generate XBRL file,  I then have to check the properties box which pops up, to put in a limited anount of cross check information such as company name, tax reference, start and end dates of accounts, then press a button to generate the file.  Job done.  I have set up a few cells to alert me if xbrl page has errors in it, for example if the balance sheet doesn't balance.  I don't do any further checks.  I have developed my excel template over the last ten years so regard it as being extremely comprehensive and sophisticated, so I have been reluctant to make changes to suit the demands of the Revenue.  VT works so unobtrusively, I cannot imagine any other solution working better.  I currently file my accounts, CT 600 & tax comps using the Revenue's filing software, until VT release their CT600 package which was scheduled for April 2012 and hopefully, still is!.

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query for George

George Pearce wrote:

I have been using VT very successfully to generate my XBRL files.  I have set up a new page in my standard excel template and this page now holds all the information gathered from other pages, so that the directors' report, P&L, balance sheet and notes are all on the one page, which is solely for XBRL purposes.   I manually tagged all relevant cells and VT makes this extremely easy to do.  Once done, to generate an xbrl file, I click on 'Add-ins', 'VT XBRL', Generate XBRL file,  I then have to check the properties box which pops up, to put in a limited anount of cross check information such as company name, tax reference, start and end dates of accounts, then press a button to generate the file.  Job done.  I have set up a few cells to alert me if xbrl page has errors in it, for example if the balance sheet doesn't balance.  I don't do any further checks.  I have developed my excel template over the last ten years so regard it as being extremely comprehensive and sophisticated, so I have been reluctant to make changes to suit the demands of the Revenue.  VT works so unobtrusively, I cannot imagine any other solution working better.  I currently file my accounts, CT 600 & tax comps using the Revenue's filing software, until VT release their CT600 package which was scheduled for April 2012 and hopefully, still is!.

I have also started using VT to produce my iXBRL files. I have also tried 2 other solutions this year, Sage and Iris.

However, the way I use VT is to import the final trial balance, which is fairly straightforward. The VT file is set up by typing in the dates, directors names, company number etc., a few adjustments to the disclosures, accounting policies etc, and the iXBRL file is then generated. The VT workbook is then ready for next year.

The import facility imports from a csv file, which can be created from an excel file.

I am thinking this way of doing things might be slightly quicker for you.

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TaxCalc

Hi simon1

Have you had a look at www.taxcalc.com for the TaxCalc ixbrl conversion service.

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iXBRL managed tagging

Hi Simon1. Sure you can. If you are open to managed tagging service, DataTracks (www.datatracks.co.uk) provides a service where you sign up as a user, add entities, pay, upload files and we convert your files to iXBRL. Its a simple, easy to use solution.

 

 

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Thanks Sandeep, Could you let me know how much it would cost to convert 5 pages of excel acccounts please.

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No change in your workflow is required

 

No change in your workflow is required Go to:  www.pdf2ixbrl.co.uk    they will do the job for you.  For a small fee, they will convert your Excel or PDf files into iXBRL within days. All processing for UK accounts customers is carried out in the UK.

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XBRLConverter.com

Hi Simon,

Try www.xbrlconverter.com - they convert Excel, Word and PDF files into XBRL and iXBRL format for submission to HMRC. The perfect solution for this type of issue.

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