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Filing Financial Statements in XBRL: Does My Company Need To Do This?

Author Osome Content TeamOsome Content Team

7 min read
Better Business

Not all incorporated companies have to file financial statements. Not all need to file in the Full or Simple XBRL template. Find out if you have to

Filing Financial Statements in XBRL: Does My Company Need To Do This?

Every year, incorporated companies in Singapore would need to submit their financial statements with ACRA to ensure that the company’s information with ACRA is updated.

In 2020, ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) has come up with a new reporting format so that it’s easier for the government to analyse your data immediately. ACRA will now require for your financial statements to comply with the eXtensible Business Reporting Language filing system, or known as XBRL.

Not all incorporated companies have to file financial statements with ACRA. Those who do would need to file it according to a Full XBRL template, or a Simplified XBRL template and a PDF copy Financial statements. Read on to find out. If you need the help of an experienced accountant for the XBRL filing requirement drop us a chat.

Who needs to file, and who is exempted?

Not all companies need to file financial statements (FS) to ACRA.

You are exempted from auditing your financial statements if your company:

  • Has an annual revenue of S$10m or less
  • Has total assets of less than S$10m
  • Does not have more than 50 employees

If your company does not fulfill the above conditions, you need to file your financial statements to ACRA.

Other than filing your financial statements to ACRA, you are also required to submit key financial data in XBRL format and full set of signed copy of FS tabled at annual general meeting or circulated to members. Do remember to upload your XBRL file to BizFilex server before filing it as part of your annual return in BizFile.
But there are some companies that are exempted from XBRL filing. You may read on to find out more.

Do dormant companies need to file?

If your company is dormant, you don't have to file financial statements, but we recommend you to prepare them annually so that it's easier for you to prepare it for filing when your company becomes active again.

Though dormant companies are not required to submit financial statements, they are still required to follow the XBRL filing requirements. This will be part of voluntary filing. The XBRL requirements are as follows:

  • PDF copy of the FS authorised by directors;
  • XBRL FSH (General) template; or
  • FS in Full XBRL template

Then comes the next question.

Does my company have to file using the full or simplified XBRL template?

Type of companies incorporated in Singapore XBRL Filing Requirements
From 16 May 2020 to 31 December 2020 Starting from 1 January 2021

Small and non-publicly accountable companies

What’s that mean? We explain below.

File FS in Full XBRL template. File in Simplified XBRL format + PDF copy of Financial Statements authorised by your directors
  1. All other companies that require audit, and have corporate shareholders.
  2. Insolvent companies that are publicly accountable companies (i.e. trading in the Singapore public stock exchange market)
File FS in Full XBRL template. File FS in Full XBRL template.

What does a small company mean?

Your company is small when your revenue and total assets for the current financial year does not exceed $500,000 respectively.

What does a Non-publicly Accountable Company mean?

Your company belongs to this category if it is not:

  • In the process of issuing debt or equity instruments for trading in one.
  • Going to be trading in the Singapore stock exchange market anytime soon.
  • Going to be trading on an exchange market outside of Singapore
  • A financial institution including any of the below types:-
  • An entity that is part of the banking and payment systems
  • Licensed insurer
  • Capital market infrastructure provider
  • Capital markets intermediary
  • Licensed trade repository
  • Authorised and exempt benchmark administrator under the Securities and Futures Act trustee-Manager of listed registered business trust

In summary, if you are not a small and non-publicly accountable company, you would have to submit your financial statements according to a full XBRL format.

The difference between Full and Simplified XBRL Template

Full XBRL template

This captures information in primary statements.

Simplified XBRL template

This captures the complete information in the statements of financial performance and position.

What makes up a “full set” of financials?

Based on the financial year that’s just passed, or one that’s ending, you should include the following documents as part of the full set of financials that are submitted:

  • Statement of financial position: This covers assets, liabilities and company equity. It’s also referred to as a balance sheet.
  • Statement of profit or loss: This should cover comprehensive income, company financing costs, capital gains and losses as well as revenue.
  • Changes in equity: This statement includes things like transactions among shareholders or amends to classes of shares you’ve issued, as well as any amends to your company’s share capital, dividends declared and other things that affect equity.
  • Cash flow: This statement includes any cash (or cash equivalents) that flow in or out of the company as a result of any investing, operating or financing activities.
  • Financial notes or comparative information: Any additional information from auditors or directors that may serve as helpful and/or explanatory.

How to prepare and manage XBRL financial statements

Once you have successfully prepared and filed financial statements in XBRL format based on similar filing requirements in the first year, it gets easier to prepare the financial statements in XBRL format in subsequent years.  

There are 3 ways to prepare your financial statements using XBRL:

1. Use the BizFinx preparation tool and file your annual return through the BizFile+ portal. We list the steps for this below.


2. Use accounting software that can seamlessly prepare and file your annual return (with Simplified XBRL FS) to ACRA.

3. If you want a trusted accountant with the ability to help you when you get overwhelmed, reach out to us to help prepare your XBRL Financial Statements.

Preparing your company’s financial statements in XBRL format using BizFinx

Step 1: Download ACRA's free BizFin x preparation tool here.

Step 2: Retrieve the financial statements tabled at your company’s annual general meeting (AGM FS). This is referred to as the “source document” in the preparation tool, which can be in either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel formats.

Step 3: Map the line items in your financial statements to the relevant tags within the ACRA Taxonomy. Complete all tabs in the template. Leave the data fields blank only if the information requested is not disclosed in the AGM FS.

Step 4: When completed, validate your XBRL FS offline. Review and correct the errors highlighted, if any.

Step 5: Validate and upload your XBRL FS directly from BizFinx preparation tool.

After you’ve completed the above steps, do remember to click on the “Acknowledge and Upload” button to upload the XBRL financial statements. You will be notified with a message “Your XBRL file has been successfully uploaded” once the upload has been successful.

However, do bear in mind that uploaded XBRL financial statements will only be available in BizFinx server for up to 14 days. There might be cases where you have spotted an error in your company’s past XBRL filings. Don’t worry. You may either file a Notice of Error (NOE) with ACRA to rectify the errors, or file a Court Order to delete the filed annual return and re-file a new annual return.

You may refer to “Retrieving XBRL files previously lodged with ACRA” to find out how to delete the XBRL financial statements from BizFinx server.

Osome SG Biz File

What’s the minimum requirement when filing a full set of XBRL financial statements?

Along with outlining how you should prepare your XBRL financial statements, ACRA has also established a minimum requirement list — described as “a set of elements within the ACRA Taxonomy” — that you’ll need to meet to streamline the process.

So whether you’re an existing local business owner or an entrepreneur who wants to set up a company, it’s important that you understand what these entail.

There are two parts to the minimum requirement list:

  1. Text Block Element for submitting your full set of financial statements (matching those presented at your Annual General Meeting (AGM). This report will be available to the public in a PDF format and will be attached to your AR extracts.
  2. Details Information Elements: This is where you’d submit more detailed information about specific sections of you FS (including independent auditors’ report or a statement on your company’s financial position).

Who is responsible for XBRL filing?

Preparing financial statements in XBRL format means having a firm grasp of the concepts outlined by the Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS) and SFRS for Small Entities. Though ACRA does not indicate who is responsible for XBRL filing, company directors are ultimately the ones who are responsible for the accurate and correct submission of their financial statements in XBRL format. However, if the company director fails to ensure the accuracy of the XBRL filing, it would signify non-compliance with the Companies Act, Cap. 50. For this reason, it’s very important that they double-check any information being filed by their company before they authorise its submission to ACRA.

Compliance is paramount, but the filing process can be tedious and put a lot of pressure on a company’s internal resources. A lot of businesses can save a great deal of time and money by outsourcing their XBRL filing needs and have a third-party help them prepare their financial statements in line with compliance standards.

When do I need to start filing according to the new XBRL template?

Your company is required to do so after 1 January 2021. However, from 16 May 2020 to 31 December 2020, you can voluntarily prepare your annual returns using the XBRL templates.

A recap of what documents to file for your annual return

  • Audited financial statements: When you’re submitting your Annual Return with ACRA, you’ll also need to attach your company’s audited financial statements.
  • Annual Return date: This is usually based on one of the two; the date you last filed your Annual Return, or a year following the official incorporation of your company.
  • Deadline: Whether you are filing your Annual Return or you are getting the assistance of a third-party, make sure to get it done no more than 28 days after its due.

Worried about XBRL? Leave it to us.

These compliances and filing requirements from ACRA may seem hard to track and oh-so-intimidating, however, with Osome, you can leave the job to us to focus on your business. Our accountants have years of experience and are certified under ISCA. We can also assist with accounting for e-commerce companies.

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