Do you really want to play iXBRL tag?
Outsourcer Vipul Sheth sets out some controversial views about the impact of iXBRL on accountants and their clients in a conversation with Mark Lee.
As the deadline for filing accounts with iXBRL tags approaches more and more accountants are making the time to find out what will be the real impact on their practices and clients.
There are also decisions to be made about what type of solution is most appropriate for the practice or business. The main options seem to be:
- To use an accounts package that can produce an iXBRL file once accounts are completed; or
- To continue producing accounts in a non-standard format, such as Word or Excel and arrange for these documents to be Tagged using one of a range of tagging tools that are entering the market.
During a recent conversation, Vipul Sheth of accountancy outsourcer AdvanceTrack asked, “How can tagging accounts be the right solution for every company?”
He continued: “I don’t understand how professionals or corporates can take organised information, turn it into unorganised information in Word or Excel and then, due to the iXBRL filing requirements turn this same data back into organised information. Isn’t this madness?”
Digita managing director Jerry Rihll shares a similar view. Last week he told AccountingWEB.co.uk that once customers start looking at the long-term costs and benefits of tagging, most are opting for integrated accounts production/CT applications.
When people consider the processes and changes they have to make, they realise that mark-up is an expensive route operationally especially if you have to manually tag up sets of accounts for large numbers of companies or subsidiaries, Rihll argued.
Large and small businesses use accounting systems that are highly structured and then turn this data into a word document. Sheth and Rihll suggest it makes more sense if this highly structured information is retained in a highly structured format. Such an approach also reduces the potential for transposition errors as data is copied from one system into another.
Outsourcing companies like AdvanceTrack invariably use one or more of the leading accounting software solutions and can cater for firms preparing accounts with Sage, Digita, Iris, CCH, Caseware and other programs. At the point where the in-house accounts department are ready to prepare the accounts and iXBRL files in-house, they can be handed a complete accounts software file with all prior year data already populated.
Over to you. What solutions are you pursuing to address the iXBRL issue?
Mark Lee is Chairman of the Tax Advice Network and consultant practice editor for AccountingWEB. He writes a regular blog for ambitious professionals.