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Forbes files iXBRL accounts at Companies House

28th Sep 2010
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Tax and accounting software house Forbes Computer this month claimed to be the first UK organisation to file a set of iXBRL abbreviated accounts with Companies House.

As the developer of an accounts production system, Forbes did a similar thing in 2005, when it was the first company to file XBRL-based accounts. The latest online filing takes advantage of a new Companies House mechanism that has been put in place to parallel the iXBRL accounts filings that are being used by HMRC for accounts accompanying Corporation Tax returns.

Although Forbes only files abbreviated accounts with Companies House, managing director David Forbes pointed out that with the new filing mechanism in place, the way is open for companies to file full accounts.

“XBRL is quite restricted because you needed a style sheet to get the figures to display properly. [Because it includes a built-in style sheet] iXBRL can do anything, so once [Companies House] has it in place, there’s no underlying technical hurdle to stop them accepting any kind of accounts,” Forbes  explained.

“It’s just like sending them a Word document or PDF; once they can accept the format, you can send them anything. Now it’s just a policy thing holding back full company accounts.”

Forbes has also filed a full set of accounts with HMRC alongside its Corporation Tax return – still a slightly different filing system from the one at Companies House.

While acknowledging that rival developers have a harder task in hand to adapt older accounts production systems to output the new iXBRL format accounts for both HMRC and Companies House, Forbes wondered why nobody else has yet used the iXBRL mechanism for statutory accounts.

With Self Assessment season looming, developers who will not have iXBRL-compatible accounts production products ready until November-December will increase the pressure on firms to ensure they are compliant with the CT600 filing requirements before April’s mandatory deadline, Forbes said.

Those users without a way to convert accounts to iXBRL will also not be able to file CT600s until HMRC resolves the issue with mixed PDF/iXBRL files in October, he added.

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