Users and vendors grapple with iXBRL
The great iXBRL deadline passed without too much fuss on 1 April, but posts on AccountingWEB in the past few weeks have highlighted a series of false starts, software glitches and failed CT600 filings - as well as some encouraging successes.
After witnessing a colleague spend four days struggling with iXBRL in Sage Accounts Production, AccountingWEB member DMGbus commented, “There is no such thing as trouble-free software with iXBRL at present - there seems to be a steep learning curve. Where at all possible my view is try to use HMRC's product (hopefully clients fall into the narrow band of being ‘simple enough’).”
From the experiences reported on AccountingWEB, some of those relying on their software providers are finding that the iXBRL experience isn’t quite the “pushbutton” exercise they witnessed at software demos. Here are some recent examples of successful and not so successful iXBRL filing:
- Trying to complete the HMRC online accounts template drove Nigelburge “mad”, but he discovered that attaching a VT iXBRL file was “so simple - and it works!!”
- “We are submitting using Absolute, have very few problems with it,” reported Gerawson.
- Richard Breckman submitted the firm’s first CT return and accounts using Forbes without issues.
IRIS, in particular, has been particularly aggressive in marketing its software as a “safe haven” for Sage users frustrated with iXBRL delays. But the feedback from AccountingWEB’s IRIS tax/practice discussion group indicated that perhaps the company might have been flirting with the “glasshouse” syndrome.
As the following examples demonstrate, it has not all been plain sailing for users of integrated tax and accounts systems:
- Even before efiling became mandatory, IRIS users Heywood Shepherd and JeremyNewman reported that test filings using IRIS failed.
- The IRIS 10.5 release that included iXBRL output from the accounts production also caused problems.
- CCH user Kathywilson “can only say it is riddled with problems.”
- TaxCalc user aadil got a warning from their CT software that the dates on the accounts and tax return period were not the same.
Not all the iXBRL problems will be down to software bugs. As more returns and accounts are filed, anomalies and unforeseen circumstances will crop up. Under HMRC’s newly branded Managing the Transition policy, returns should not be rejected for esoteric flaws in accounting treatments, nor will agents be fined if errors are discovered in the tagging itself. However, issues on both sides of the both sides of the efiling fence will need to be resolved during the transition period, including some of the following points raised by AccountingWEB members:
This article is merely an overview of recent developments - so feel free to add your experiences and thoughts below, or join our iXBRL discussion group if you would like to take part in more detailed examinations of the underlying issues.