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IFRS Foundation’s “Preparer's Guide” to XBRL Taxonomy A Must Read

Lou Rohman, Vice President, XBRL Services, Merrill Corporation | January 15, 2018

For financial statements ending on or after December 15, 2017, SEC registrants that prepare financials in accordance with IFRS must submit those financials in a tagged eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) format. To make this transition easier, the IFRS Foundation recently released Using the IFRS Taxonomy - A Preparer's Guide (read the press release).

Download the full guide here (PDF).     

As an active member of the IFRS Foundation’s IFRS Taxonomy Consultative Group, I have read this guide several times prior to its release. Without question, it is a “must read” for any company submitting XBRL to the SEC for the first time in 2018. 

Written For Preparers’ Use  

The guide is part of a larger set of documents aimed at aiding adoption of the IFRS Taxonomy around the world by regulators, preparers and users of financial information. It is written to help preparers, even those relatively new to XBRL (but with some introductory knowledge), better understand the content of the IFRS Taxonomy and more appropriately and consistently tag disclosures within IFRS financial statements. 

IFRS Taxonomy Taking On Bigger Role Globally

Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), said in guide’s release, “Regulators are increasingly starting to mandate the use of IFRS Taxonomy. This guide helps companies understand the Taxonomy.”

This is consistent with his recent speech to the Brazilian Accounting Pronouncements Committee in which he outlined the IASB’s “Better Communications” initiative, of which IFRS Taxonomy plays a major role. So, it is imperative that those who are responsible for preparing company financial statements are fully prepared for the shift to a tagged, digital format for filings, internationally and in the U.S. 

Already In Use At Merrill

If your company is using Merrill's XBRL services, be confident that Merrill fully understands the material within this guide and is already properly applying the guidance to XBRL financials. We are very familiar with the guide. However, just because a company is using Merrill’s expertise doesn't mean the person responsible for the XBRL at the company shouldn't read the guide. It will provide a good knowledge base for anyone involved in IFRS XBRL.

How To Stay Up To Date

You can also register for email updates on changes and news relating to the IFRS Taxonomy by clicking on the ‘Follow’ button at the top of the IFRS Taxonomy webpage.

For SEC registrants, it’s key to ensure that the XBRL-tagged financial statements communicate the same information as the traditional paper-based financial statements. Get your XBRL done the right way by putting all the items in play - follow the IFRS Taxonomy updates, read the new Preparer’s Guide and, as many companies do, work with Merrill as appropriate to receive expert help with the IFRS Taxonomy, the SEC rules and the XBRL requirements.

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