Differences between XBRL and iXBRL in regulatory reporting

As businesses continue to grow, so does the complexity of their regulatory reporting requirements. Companies must provide accurate and timely reports to regulatory bodies to comply with regulations and maintain transparency with their stakeholders. To streamline this process, several technologies have been developed to make reporting easier and more efficient. Two of the most commonly used technologies are XBRL and iXBRL.


What is XBRL?

XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an XML-based language used to create and exchange financial information between organisations. It was introduced in 1998 and has since been widely adopted by financial regulators worldwide. XBRL uses tags to identify each piece of financial data, which then allows it to be machine-readable, making it easier to analyse and compare data across different organisations.

XBRL allows users to define their own tags and identify data elements, which makes it very flexible. It also allows for the creation of complex reports that can be customized to meet specific needs. It is commonly used by the European Banking Association (EBA) & European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) for banking and insurance regulatory reporting.


What is iXBRL?

iXBRL (Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an extension of XBRL. It allows for the embedding of XBRL tags directly into HTML documents. This makes it possible to create reports that combine both human-readable text and machine-readable data. It’s designed to improve the accessibility and usability of financial information by making it easier for users to view and analyse data.

iXBRL is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, where it is used for filing financial statements with regulatory bodies. The recent implementation of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) involves reporting annual financial statements for all listed companies using iXBRL alongside an extension taxonomy (a taxonomy containing specific company created XBRL tags and relationships).


Differences between XBRL and iXBRL

The main difference between the two formats is that XBRL is a separate file format that’s used to encode financial data. iXBRL is an extension of XBRL that allows for the embedding of XBRL tags into HTML documents. In other words, iXBRL is a combination of XBRL and HTML.

Another key difference is the level of human readability. XBRL files are designed primarily for machine readability, which means they can be difficult for humans to read and understand. iXBRL, on the other hand, combines machine-readable data with human-readable text, making it easier for users to understand the data.

While XBRL is widely used in many countries around the world, iXBRL is primarily used in Europe, where it has been adopted by regulatory bodies for financial reporting.


Implications for regulatory reporting

The use of XBRL and iXBRL has several implications for regulatory reporting. Technology can improve the accuracy and consistency of financial reporting by providing a standardized method for encoding financial data. This can help to reduce errors and increase transparency in the reporting process.

iXBRL can improve the accessibility and usability of financial information by making it easier for users to view and analyse data. This can be particularly useful for stakeholders who may not be familiar with financial reporting terminology or who may not have access to specialised financial reporting software.

The Authority Suite has supported XBRL and iXBRL reporting frameworks for many years.

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iXBRL enabled report writer for reporting:

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XBRL Reporting Software for reporting:

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XML Reporting Software for reporting:

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