XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) is an open data standard for financial reporting. XBRL can be viewed as a system of bar codes for financial statements.
It allows companies to use nationally and internationally common 'tags' to identify individual reporting concepts that exist in a corporate report. Information that is coded in this way can be instantly and accurately exchanged between systems.
XBRL offers major benefits at all stages of business reporting and analysis. The benefits are seen in automation, cost saving, faster, more reliable and more accurate handling of data, improved analysis and in better quality of information and decision-making. Because XBRL is extensible and flexible, it can be adapted to a wide variety of different requirements. All participants in the financial information supply chain can benefit, whether they are preparers, transmitters or users of business data.
While XBRL has been an accepted form of financial reporting in the developed world, especially the USA, for quite some time now, 2011 sees India too joining the league, pursuant to the mandate of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to that effect.
MCA (Ministry of Company Affairs) had lately issued notifications/circulars for compulsory filing of Balance Sheet & Profit & Loss Account with related schedules thereto in XBRL mode for Phase I class of Companies, namely:
Further one of the requirements of the Ministry, as contained in the Forms 23-AC XBRL and 23-ACA XBRL notified by it for uploading of XBRL mode financial statements, etc. is certification of these XBRL financial statements by, inter alia, chartered accountants.
These forms require the chartered accountant to certify that XBRL document(s) fairly present, in all material respects, the audited financial statements of the company, in accordance with the XBRL taxonomy as notified under Companies (Filing of documents and forms in Xtensible Business Reporting Language) Rules.