Bulk XBRL data conversion without the pain
November 18, 2014 12:09 by Andrea Whitehouse
Rapid production of high quality XBRL filings has been promised for a long time but, until now, rarely delivered. As many financial institutions have discovered, creating fully compliant XBRL disclosures based on vast amounts of source data takes time and expense. CoreFiling’s Seahorse® now provides a new, simpler way to tackle the problem.
Our new approach avoids manual population of Excel templates. In particular, it will help organisations that have to extract large amounts of data from BI systems, data warehouses or other operational data stores. The solution is now also available in Seahorse, our well proven cloud-based XBRL conversion solution.
Streamlined XBRL conversion
Taking advantage of our unique option to use the CSV file format, Seahorse now handles the output from existing data stores to create fully validated XBRL reports. No matter which BI or data warehouse system you are using, Seahorse can help smooth the XBRL data conversion and validation process. Once the large amounts of information required for the individual disclosures are collated from within the internal data stores, they can also be processed using Seahorse.
Lowering the burden of large volumes of data
Tight deadlines, more frequent reporting and massively increased data volumes all add to the pressures you now face in order to maintain regulatory compliance. Any XBRL conversion system needs to be robust enough to handle the additional throughput, as speed and quality of service are paramount.
Seahorse uniquely converts data originating in a CSV file into the XBRL format. CSV is a widely used, universally supported, and extremely simple file format. So, by taking the source data and performing a little basic coding and mapping, or by using your favourite ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) tool, you can transform large amounts of reporting data into a CSV file very easily. Seahorse then takes the CSV output and provides seamless conversion into valid XBRL format, saving much time, effort and conversion cost. And, because it is built upon the stringent validation offered by True North®, you can rely on the production of quality filings.
Seahorse offers a welcome level of confidence that the XBRL conversion process will still perform well while lowering the burden of managing a much larger number of data points as required by your regulator.
Bulk data conversion with cloud-based benefits
This latest release complements Seahorse’s existing ability to convert Excel templates into XBRL documents, by now providing an automated way to turn the bulk data residing in your traditional financial data stores into fully validated XBRL disclosures, while still delivering the full benefits of a cloud-based solution.
With Seahorse to support you, there should be no fears about meeting your impending FINREP filing obligations.
Further XBRL-related musings from the UNCTAD/ISAR event
November 3, 2014 10:35 by Andrea Whitehouse
As already reported, my colleague Ian Hicks recently attended the UNCTAD/ISAR workshop in Geneva. Here’s some further insight into the XBRL-related themes developed during the meeting.
The Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR), serviced by UNCTAD, is the only intergovernmental working group devoted to corporate transparency and accounting issues. ISAR aims to improve the global comparability and reliability of corporate reports.
Sustainability reporting and XBRL
The main theme of the workshop was to understand how reporting of sustainable development actions will affect future corporate reporting. Sustainability reporting is increasingly demanded by investors, policy makers and the public. In some countries companies are already expected to account for the environmental impact of their business in their financial modelling and reporting.
Where businesses report against some form of structured framework (e.g. Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) there is significant potential to use XBRL in the creation of the reporting framework. By extension, this could also be used for data validation and downstream analysis.
Many of the benefits derived from well implemented XBRL projects mirror the objectives outlined for sustainability reporting:
– Data accuracy and reliability
– Digital platform: supporting both human- and machine-readable documents
– Downstream analysis
Many government and regulatory agencies are now collecting financial and statistical information in XBRL format, so the opportunity exists to re-use that data for sustainability reporting purposes.
Forecasting and comparability
Interestingly, however, whilst financial corporate reporting is predominantly backward-looking, sustainability reporting will force businesses to forecast. This may present opportunities for XBRL to compare what companies say about their sustainability behaviour with their reported financial outcomes a year or so downstream. For instance, Company A mentions in its sustainability reports: “we are a non-polluting company with a fully-inclusive HR strategy”. Yet in the following year’s financial report Company A discloses provisions for clean-up operations and pay-outs to employees as a result of discrimination cases. Clearly there are discrepancies, which would become even more obvious if data were compared electronically using XBRL.
Some government agencies are already mandating sustainability reporting, for example the UK’s Carbon Disclosure; South Africa’s sustainability reports for companies listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange; France’s Grenelle II law requiring investors and fund managers to disclose environmental, social and governance criteria. Big 4 accountancy firms are now offering sustainability and integrated reporting advice and support. Consequently, opportunities exist to provide products to support the creation, validation, analysis and downstream audit of financial and non-financial reports.
The XBRL market challenge
The challenge to the XBRL market is to provide products and services that support the decision-making processes of investors and regulators.
The investor community will be asking:
– Does this company create long term value?
– Is this company ahead of, level with, or behind its competitors in creating and sustaining long term value?
Regulators will be asking:
– Is this a company that meets its environmental commitments both locally and internationally?
– How closely does its financial reporting correspond to its sustainability commitments?
The opportunity to collect, validate, compare and analyse source data as part of the sustainability agenda will help to answer their fundamental questions. XBRL is the obvious enabling technology as the sustainability programme gathers momentum.
Will XBRL help UNCTAD fulfil plans to adopt corporate reporting as part of the sustainability development agenda?
October 16, 2014 10:52 by Andrea Whitehouse
My colleague Ian Hicks was in Geneva this week speaking at the ISAR (International Standards of Accounting and Reporting) workshop during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum. The workshop debated current challenges in corporate reporting and how these might be addressed in the context of enterprise economic activities, as well as areas such as corporate social responsibility, environment protection, and corporate governance.
During a session highlighting major trends and initiatives in corporate reporting models, Ian, in his capacity as Chair of the XBRL Inc. Best Practices Board (BPB), offered his perspective on how XBRL supports corporate financial and non-financial reporting and how this might benefit the monitoring and analysis of sustainable development as part of the UNCTAD agenda.
The conference brought together leading experts from, amongst others, the world of accountancy and reporting, policy making, regulatory affairs, and academia, as well as investors and report preparers. Representatives came from as far afield as Nigeria and Australia to debate the issues around corporate reporting and how to ensure that fair and useful information is gathered and made available.
Under Ian’s direction the BPB has recently published a Taxonomy Architecture Guide as part of XII’s community outreach and its remit to collect, compile and develop implementation guidance material. This practical experience informed Ian’s remarks during the workshop.
In planning to adopt corporate reporting as part of the sustainability development agenda, UNCTAD might do worse than consider implementing XBRL to help with transparency and global comparability of information.
Not just a COTS product company… CoreFiling offer integration expertise to assist the wider XBRL community
July 28, 2014 10:57 by Andrea Whitehouse
CoreFiling are well known as producers of excellent COTS software products for regulatory markets around the world, helping both filers and regulators to take full advantage of XBRL technology.
What is less well known perhaps is that the company has an excellent knowledge of enterprise platforms and the necessary componentry when it comes to the integration of XBRL technology into the wider organisational infrastructure, particularly other vendors’ Analytical, Business Intelligence, Data Integration or B2B Process Integration platforms. This gives CoreFiling a distinct advantage as we are able to offer:
- in-depth expertise and advice to customers and partners in the understanding of how to undertake complex integration projects
- SOA style integration into existing infrastructure
This expertise is particularly relevant today, as XBRL resources are scarce, yet XBRL is being mandated in more and more situations around the world, with mandates such as CRD IV and Solvency II taking centre stage in Europe.
We believe our expertise will appeal to organisations and partners who are struggling to find the best, most knowledgeable company to handle the thorny issue of integration, and we are always happy to discuss how we can help you to achieve a successful integration project.
CoreFiling have delivered highly successful XBRL projects with major regulators such as HMRC and Companies House in the UK, The Australian Tax Office and the Federal Accounting Standards Board in the USA. In the UK, since the start of the HMRC iXBRL mandate, there have been over 3.4 million filings – all validated using CoreFiling tools – the world’s largest XBRL project.
More details about CoreFiling’s in depth understanding of the XBRL technologies can be found on the XBRL credentials page on our website.
Open data becomes a reality
July 18, 2014 17:48 by Andrea Whitehouse
Open Data is a current hot topic. The UK government is committed to using digitisation to deliver more efficient public services. This week Companies House has announced that it will make its entire digital data available, free of charge, starting second quarter next year. In doing so, the UK will become the first country to create a truly open register of business information. See the press release.
Companies House has already said that once the service goes live, the public will have free access to the digital records of over 3 million companies.
Since December 2013 Companies House has made newly received filings available online for free download. CoreFiling have packaged these up to provide a free search and query service with access to over 2 million iXBRL company accounts.
Access the CoreFiling service.
SEC filers – avoid forgotten calculation relationships and other XBRL report pitfalls
July 14, 2014 12:29 by Andrea Whitehouse
There has been an interesting turn of events in the SEC’s stance on XBRL filings. Since the start of the SEC’s phased mandatory filing programme back in 2009, there had been little to compel filers to care very much about the quality of the XBRL documents they have been submitting.
Today, things are changing.
It was revealed last week that the SEC has been sending written warnings to CFO’s about poor quality data. Letters refer to a flouting of existing rules and expressly urge filers to “take the necessary steps to ensure that [they] are including all required calculation relationships”.
This is a distinct hardening of the SEC’s attitude towards delinquent filers. Enforcement of data quality standards is overdue and will be welcomed by investors and analysts.
So, where does this leave filers? How can they make sure they have included all those calculation relationships and complied with the SEC’s rules?
CoreFiling’s Magnify® is still the most powerful data quality tool on the market. It provides an easy, checklist-driven way to take a closer look at XBRL filings. Significantly for SEC filers, Magnify lets you check areas of your documents typically prone to error, such as calculations. With any inconsistencies clearly highlighted, you can see at a glance which calculations are being applied to the report, enabling you to verify that all possible calculations have been included.
The SEC letter encourages filers to review the EDGAR Filer Manual rule regarding calculations. Magnify incorporates all the EFM rules so you can check for full compliance; it automatically highlights any discrepancies, and lets you delve into the detail so that you can take any remedial action; it also supports the XBRL US Consistency Suite, and the Consistency Checks form an integral part of Magnify’s document review process, so you really can do an in depth quality review.
So, companies that don’t want to be caught out by the SEC’s tougher stance on XBRL filings should take a look at how Magnify can help you avoid the pitfalls and achieve quality filings.
Thoughts on the XBRL Conference in Orlando
June 25, 2014 10:50 by Andrea Whitehouse
Under the banner headline Better Data for Better Decisions, a host of people interested in the issues around XBRL gathered recently in Orlando for the latest conference organised by XBRL International Inc. This post picks up on the main themes of the conference and the way in which it helps CoreFiling and other organisations deliver successful reporting programs.
One of the major conference themes was the way in which XBRL is now being refocused from a pure technology issue into real-world application of the technology. CoreFiling remain at the forefront of this drive for change, supporting the efforts of XII where we chair the Best Practices Board, and providing business focused tools, for example metadata-driven taxonomy management solutions such as the True North® DPM [Data Point Methodology].
This theme was picked up again during the Regulatory Implementation Workshop, which also focused on best practice, and featured insightful advice and guidance from regulators with first-hand experience of implementing XBRL, exploring topics such as Stakeholder Management, Building a Business Case, Data Quality and Taxonomy Management, Taxonomy Metadata and Taxonomy Change Management. CoreFiling’s close involvement in this workshop (providing the session moderator, facilitators and a panellist) is yet another illustration of how the company seeks to work closely with regulators, to understand their real-world issues and, in the process, to make sure that this insight informs the development of our solutions. Above all, our aim is to ensure that XBRL is used effectively so that users derive real business value.
Another session focused on iXBRL, the format devised by CoreFiling, and which continues to move from strength to strength. Success stories from HMRC and the FSA in Japan showed just what is possible when reports are created in iXBRL with the joint benefit of being human-readable and able to be consumed by computer systems.
Open data is a current hot topic, particularly now that the US President has signed into law the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) in an attempt to streamline and bring clarity to the interactions between governments and their citizens. While there is still much debate about how this will be achieved, there is a broad body of opinion that XBRL provides the only realistic option as a standard that will open up data to a wider audience.
In the UK we have already seen a very good example of this now that Companies House has created a daily XBRL feed. CoreFiling have also been active in this area, funding a research and development project to explore the potential of Open Data access to the iXBRL data. The results are now freely available, demonstrating how XBRL company data can easily be made accessible to the general public. Learn more.
Continuing along a related theme, aspects of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) were explored, including the role of public policy and the steps needed to achieve data harmonisation. Two of the highest profile SBR programs to date, Australia and the Netherlands, were well represented. CoreFiling are pleased to have provided XBRL technology to both.
Above all, the XII conference offered a chance to meet existing and potential clients and others interested in understanding more about XBRL and the market-leading software CoreFiling offer. And, this doesn’t have to mean embarking on an enormous project from scratch, as CoreFiling offer COTS (commercial-of-the-shelf) solutions to most of the common issues encountered by both regulators and filers. This means that clients can focus on their business requirements rather than deep technical considerations in their use of XBRL. One example of this is the processing of large instance documents, a key consideration as banks and insurance companies start to get to grips with the changing reporting requirements brought in by CRD IV and Solvency II directives. The products CoreFiling offer in this market, and beyond, not only provide a COTS solution for large instance processing, but also solve another thorny problem: how to render XBRL into human-readable form so that reports can be reviewed easily prior to sign off.
All in all, a highly successful and engaging conference.
CoreFiling at the SID4GOV 4th Supplier Engagement Conference – 2nd June 2014
June 11, 2014 14:30 by Andrea Whitehouse
On 2nd June CoreFiling was proud to participate in the 4th Supplier Engagement Conference, supported by the Cabinet Office and several other HM Government departments, illustrating the Government’s continuing commitment to the SME agenda.
The Government’s stated target is that 25% of all direct and indirect central government spend should be with SMEs by 2015. The aim of the conference was to explain to the audience, consisting of around 300 representatives from the SME community and government departments, the progress achieved in engaging and conducting business with the SME community.
The Rt. Hon. Francis Maude, MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, delivered the conference Keynote Address – ‘The Importance of SMEs to Government’. He focused on the advantages offered by SMEs, who make up 99.9% of UK businesses and provide economic stimulus as well as developing innovative products, and acknowledged that the days when Government dealt with only a small number of larger vendors are long gone. His key message was that working with SMEs promotes better value for taxpayers’ money and provides an engine for economic growth. He stressed the importance of IT companies and as an example, he cited the G-Cloud initiative, part of the new digital agenda, which has seen some £175M worth of Government contracts let under this umbrella.
In turn, SID4GOV (Supplier Information Database for Government) marks a new initiative to help match Government requirements against SME capabilities, while removing many of the previous business obstacles. For example, in the past suppliers had to complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) that would almost always automatically exclude SMEs from the tender process, as there was an expectation that suppliers should be able to handle all aspects of the project. SME capability is now fully explained on SID4GOV, making it easier for prime contractors to include SMEs as part of wider bids.
The Conference also debated the fact that some SMEs prefer to engage directly with Government departments rather than the larger vendor prime contractors. SCC and HMRC Aspire (Cap Gemini) both offered a perspective on this.
Ian Hicks, CoreFiling’s Director of Professional Service, took part in a joint presentation with Dave Henderson, SME Champion – Commercial Directorate, HMRC, and Adele Every, SME & Innovation Champion, HMRC Account, Capgemini. Entitled ‘Working in Partnership: HMRC, Capgemini and the SME community’, this session explored how HMRC has worked with Capgemini to build a supplier base from amongst the SME community in order to bring on board innovative solutions, and profiled CoreFiling as an example of successfully working together. Adele explained some of the success factors when dealing with SMEs, pointing to the need to engage with SMEs early in the bid process, helping them to recognise the long cycle times and being honest if the proposed SME innovation does not fit well within the confines of the project. Of particular interest was the need to provide SME-friendly terms, such as prompt payment, to ensure a sound relationship. Ian provided the real-life example of how CoreFiling has worked very effectively with HMRC and Capgemini, pointing out that it can be frustrating when decisions are delayed, but that ultimately a successful project can lead to a sound basis for ongoing business. In CoreFiling’s case, it led to additional projects in other sectors. Ian pointed out that Capgemini engaged with CoreFiling at an early stage in the projects and employed a ‘light touch’, which really helped promote a successful relationship.
A Home Office representative, John Fernau, offered his department’s perspective on ‘Delivering against the SME Aspiration’. He explained that some of the Government’s SME engagement targets can be challenging, particularly since the majority of the projects within his department are large-scale and only substantial suppliers are in a position to prime those projects; the challenge is persuading large vendors to work together with SME’s.
The conclusion was that the Government continues to be committed to the SME agenda, because there are distinct benefits to be derived: better value for taxpayers’ money through reduced Government spending. As SMEs prosper they create wealth and jobs, so reducing unemployment and fostering growth in the economy, thus resulting in a win-win relationship.
48 COREP validations – how will you know if your disclosures fail the test?
June 10, 2014 10:59 by Andrea Whitehouse
Recently the FCA/PRA announced a significant change to its COREP reporting requirements [http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/crd-iv-validations-for-q1-reporting]. There are a number of known errors in the EBA taxonomy and consequently the UK regulator had previously indicated that it would be treating all validations as ‘warnings’ that would not result in failed submissions.
However, upon further investigation the FCA has now issued a revised notice asserting that it will be checking a total of 48 validations (relating to COREP Own Funds and Leverage, Large Exposures, LCR and NSFR) in disclosures issued to meet the impending 30th June remittance deadline. Outside the 48 validations highlighted above it will continue to ignore the other incorrect EBA validations and treat them merely as warnings for GABRIEL submission purposes.
This means that filers must be vigilant and their XBRL production systems must be able to cater for this new set of important validation rules. But, how do you know whether your XBRL documents will pass the test?
There’s one sure way to find out – by using Magnify®, our XBRL document review product. The new validations have now been incorporated into Magnify, so it’s easy to check your submissions against the new rules. If there’s a problem, Magnify will highlight the error so that you can take remedial action. The even better news is that Magnify also lets you understand what is actually contained within the XBRL document you’re about to submit; it renders the document in a human-readable format, so you don’t have to struggle with the impenetrable XBRL. So, when senior executives need to sign off the completed reports, Magnify shows clearly what is being reported.
In short, Magnify can save you time and effort – and offers peace of mind that your disclosures will not be rejected
Time is running out for submission of the first COREP filings in XBRL
May 30, 2014 10:23 by Andrea Whitehouse
It’s been a hectic week, with lots of enquiries about our Seahorse® XBRL conversion solution for COREP filings. It’s true that some callers have been under the misguided impression that the first filings need to be made by the end of May, but it’s obvious there are still lots of financial institutions out there that have still not settled on a suitable reporting solution to handle their first regulatory filings under the new CRD IV regime.
The deadline for submission of the first reports in XBRL was, in fact, moved back to the 30th June, but it’s still not long if you’ve not settled upon a solution.
If you’re still looking for a simple, cost-effective solution to the compliance issue, then do take a look at Seahorse. With its simple to understand workflow, Internet browser-based interface and highly secure environment, Seahorse provides an easy-to-use way of converting your COREP reports from an Excel spreadsheet into the XBRL document needed for filing. As a cloud-based application, several users can work simultaneously on individual report tables, creating further efficiencies and considerable time saving in the XBRL report production process.
The good thing, too, is that Seahorse is underpinned by the same stringent XBRL validation that is being used by the FCA/PRA in the UK for the receipt of filings into GABRIEL.
Take a look at the Seahorse video to see how quick and simple it can be to convert your data.