Sarah Offord
Chartered Management Accountant
Midas Accountancy
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iXBRL Do It Yourself

iXBRL Do It Yourself

I'm sure I have seen on Any Answers before someone boasting that they had set up iXBRL tagging themselves and I wondered if this was possible and not to taxing to do. I only ask because I have my own spreadsheets set up for converting TB into Accounts and I wanted to convert them to create iXBRL rather than relying on my spreadsheets then converting them to VT or whatever.

I'm fairly computer literate and real Whizz with Excel, but definately not a software developer/programmer.

Many thanks in advance



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10th Oct 2011 12:58

Yes, it is possible but ...

... not without the skills of a developer / programmer.

Hugely complicated and would take you a long time to do.

Thanks (1)
10th Oct 2011 13:34

You can self tag any Excel workbook with VT

Most of our users use the pre-tagged templates in VT, but it possible to use VT to directly tag any set of accounts or tax computation in your own Excel spreadsheet.

One user has reported that he tagged a simple set of accounts in 15 minutes, although it would typically take longer. It is pretty foolproof and reasonably simple. VT will warn you before generating an iXBRL file about any inconsistencies in the tagging or if any mandatory tags are missing. VT is designed so that in all circumstances it will only generate a valid iXBRL file. Hence you should never get any submission error messages from HMRC re the tagging in the accounts or computations.

For more info and to download a 60 day trial, see

Please note that whilst you can generate an iXBRL file in the trial version, you need to buy a license key to generate a fully valid file.

In theory you could write an iXBRL file in a text editor such as notepad, but it is a practical impossibility even if you have mastered the obtuse technical specifications (which I personally cursed for several months).

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

Thanks (1)
By GaryMc
10th Oct 2011 15:42
Thanks (2)
11th Oct 2011 08:55

Thanks Gary

You beat me to it!

We try and "tag" iXBRL content to appear on our dedicated iXBRL page. I can't promise that it will include the Any Answers examples Sir Digby remembers, but if we find them, we'll make sure to include them too to ensure we present a fully rounded picture of the challenge.

Thanks (1)
11th Oct 2011 20:47

Thanks all

I'll take that as a resounding no and get on with my life!

Thanks to all for the feedback!


Thanks (0)
13th Oct 2011 11:44

self tagging

Definite no! Just trawling through the list of tags is a fairly lengthy task. Much more cost efficient to have software help you/do it for you.


Neil Douglas

Eureka Software

Thanks (1)
to Lilac1
13th Oct 2011 13:51

Self tagging can be easy

It is only difficult if you have to trawl through the entire list of 5,000 odd tags sub-analysed by umpteen different dimensions.

VT's Set Tag (Easy) dialog just contains the relatively small number of tags required for a small unaudited company.

Philip Hodgson
VT Software

Thanks (1)
13th Oct 2011 17:07

Why not just use VT?!

All I have done this year is press a button and it has worked every single time ... apart from looking at the tagged file out of curiosity (once) I have needed no interest in what it is doing. Most people have enough problems keeping up to date with tax let alone starting a new career in software development just to save a couple of hundred quid.

Thanks (1)
13th Oct 2011 20:49

Probably not

If you are comfortable with coding web pages by hand using a text editor, not something like Dreamweaver or Frontpage (use the view source option in your browser to see what this one looks like), then you will be able to learn the xbrl taxonomy and do your accounts in the same way.

My opinion personally is that even if you are a keen web developer, life is too short to learn how to do hand coded xbrl for one set of accounts per year.

Thanks (1)
14th Oct 2011 09:25

ixbrl with excel

I use easy tag with excel from VT which takes about 15 minutes to set up, then it is done for good and can be used on subsequent accounts. I now also use it for the tax computation. I think it is far faster than any accounts package. I can make adjustments in the tb which then adjust the accounts, detailed p&l, tax comp and tax provision. press the button to replace the ixbrl accounts, which can be checked thru the VT viewer and then attach to the HMRC corp tax file, and job done.

Thanks (1)