2022 Guide to XBRL Filing in Singapore

financial statement in xbrl format
Since 2014, companies in Singapore have been mandated to follow financial report filing requirements and file their financial statements in XBRL format. The XBRL filing requirements depend on the type of company, its size and business activity. In this article we provide information about the requirements and procedure for filing financial statements of Singapore companies in XBRL format and cover the following topics:

What Is XBRL Filing?

eXtensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL, is an extensible markup language-based format for submitting financial statements under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This format is used all over the world, as it allows for processing large volumes of quantitative indicators and helps simplify financial reporting by creating a commonly accepted standard format.

Benefits of Filing in XBRL Format

XBRL makes it easier for Singapore companies to prepare financial statements, and makes it possible for regulators to process and analyze this information quickly. The system, based on the XBRL reporting standard, has many advantages, such as:

  • Ability to automate report generation;
  • Faster,accurate, and reliable handling of data;
  • Improved analysis of business information;
  • Ability to collect and analyze accounting information for large data sets;
  • More efficient and cost-effective regulatory procedure, etc.

Who Needs to File Financial Statements in XBRL Format?

All incorporated companies in Singapore are obliged to file financial statements with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (ACRA) as one of the annual filing requirements, except some that are specifically exempted. Public and private companies file a full set of financial statements in XBRL format. Companies limited by guarantee and foreign companies and their branches file key financial data in XBRL format and a full set of signed PDF copies of the financial statements are provided at annual general meetings and/or circulated to members. In contrast, sole proprietorships and partnerships are not required to submit financial statements with ACRA at all.

Who Is Exempt from XBRL Filing Requirements?

The following types of entities are exempted from XBRL filing in Singapore:

  • Merchant and commercial banks;
  • Finance companies that are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS);
  • Licensed insurers;
  • Solvent exempt private companies (solvent EPCs);
  • Companies that use accounting standards other than Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS), SFRS for Small Entities, and IFRS.

The aforementioned businesses may file their financial statements in PDF format. Banks, finance companies, and insurers are also obliged to submit Financial Statements Highlights (FSH) in XBRL format.

Note that insolvent EPCs file a full set of financial statements using the following options:

  1. In full XBRL format;
  2. In PDF format together with a simplified XBRL template.

XBRL Filing Requirements and Standards in Singapore

The XBRL format is open-source and free to use. Currently, ACRA provides guidelines for how line items in financial statements relate to particular elements of XBRL's taxonomy and for how XBRL financial statements are validated.

Types of XBRL Filing Formats

There are four types of XBRL filing formats, which differ depending on the size of the company and its activities:
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Revised XBRL Filing Requirements in Singapore: What Is the difference?

To streamline the filing of financial statements (FS), ACRA has revised certain data elements and the filing requirements in XBRL format for companies as prescribed below:

Companies that file financial statements

XBRL filing requirements before amendments

Revised XBRL filing requirements

Insolvent EPCs
  • XBRL FSH, along with PDF copies of FS, or
  • Full XBRL format

Smaller and non publicly accountable insolvent companies:

  • Simplified XBRL format, together with PDF copies of FS;

All other insolvent companies:

  • Full XBRL format.
Solvent EPCs (voluntarily)
  • XBRL FSH, or
  • PDF copies of FS, or
  • Full XBRL format
  • PDF copies of FS, or
  • XBRL format
Companies that use accounting standards other than SFRS and IFRS
  • XBRL FSH, along with PDF copies of FS
  • Only PDF copies of FS
Other companies (not mentioned above)
  • Full XBRL format

Smaller and non publicly accountable companies:

  • Simplified XBRL format, together with PDF copies of FS;

All other companies:

  • Full XBRL format.
There are no changes in filing requirements for companies limited by guarantee, foreign companies with Singapore branches, and businesses regulated by MAS.

What Information Must Be in Financial Statements Filed in XBRL Format?

To comply with XBRL filing requirements, companies must provide the necessary data in XBRL format, including:

  • Auditors’ reports and selected data in the directors’ statement;
  • Statement of financial position, income statement and statement of cash flow;
  • Notes on revenue, provisions, share capital, related parties, employee benefits, etc.
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Preparing Your Company’s XBRL Financial Statements

Singapore companies are able to prepare financial statements in XBRL format in two key ways and submit them as part of annual return filing. The three possible methods are:

  1. Use the BizFinx preparation tool and file XBRL FS with the annual return via the BizFinx portal. The detailed steps are stated below; or
  2. Apply accounting software that can prepare and put forward annual returns with simplified XBRL FS to ACRA.
  3. Your Corporate Services Provider can prepare and file the XBRL statements on your behalf.

At CorporateServices.com, we can assist you with company registration in Singapore and subsequently support your company with preparation and submission of financial statements in XBRL format. If you already have an incorporated company in Singapore, we would be pleased to become your new corporate services provider and file your XBRL statements.

What is BizFinx?

BizFinx is an application program that helps companies prepare and upload their XBRL FS to a portal. There are two tools to assist in this task, both free to use and easily downloaded on the ACRA website: the BizFinx preparation tool, and the BizFinx multi-upload tool, which allows for uploading data after it has been prepared without logging into the portal.

Steps to File Financial Statements in XBRL in Singapore

To file financial statements in XBRL format in Singapore, companies must complete the following six steps:

#1

Download the BizFinx preparation tool on the ACRA website for free.

#2

Bring up the company’s financial statements as “a source document” in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel formats, as tabled at the annual general meeting.

#3

Enter all financial information in the template with relevant xbrl tags. If the information requested is not mentioned at the annual general meeting, just leave the data field blank.

#4

Check and rectify the mistakes highlighted, if any. Afterward, validate your XBRL financial statements offline.

#5

Upload and verify XBRL financial statements directly from BizFinx. They will be valid for up to 14 days. Simply press the “Acknowledge and Upload” button for uploading financial statements. Upon successful upload, you will see a message, “Your XBRL file has been successfully uploaded,” as described in the guidelines. Note that if the XBRL financial statements are uploaded incorrectly, you will be able to delete them and upload the correct ones. For detailed instructions, please refer to this website.

#6

Log in to BizFile and submit the annual return with uploaded XBRL financial statements.

When Is the XBRL Filing Deadline?

Companies in Singapore must prepare their financial statements in XBRL after the financial year ends. The XBRL filing due date for listed companies is within five months of the end of the financial year; seven months for non-listed companies. ACRA can impose a penalty if a company fails to file XBRL financial statements in a timely manner or if the presentation is out of date.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing Financial Statements in XBRL

To ensure that your financial statement filing will be smooth and prompt, please avoid the following common mistakes:

How Can We Help?

The easiest way to avoid errors in financial reporting is to use the services of a trusted corporate services provider. When you subscribe to company secretary service with CorporateServices.com, we will assist you with filing financial statements in XBRL format as part of our service. XBRL filing with ACRA is rolled into the price of our service packages. We provide you with reliability and quality assurance. Become one of the thousands of clients that utilize our services.
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