Thoughts on the XBRL Conference in Orlando

Under the banner headline Better Data for Better Decisions, a host of people interested in the issues around XBRL gathered recently in Orlando for the latest conference organised by XBRL International Inc. This post picks up on the main themes of the conference and the way in which it helps CoreFiling and other organisations deliver successful reporting programs.

One of the major conference themes was the way in which XBRL is now being refocused from a pure technology issue into real-world application of the technology. CoreFiling remain at the forefront of this drive for change, supporting the efforts of XII where we chair the Best Practices Board, and providing business focused tools, for example metadata-driven taxonomy management solutions such as the True North® DPM [Data Point Methodology].

This theme was picked up again during the Regulatory Implementation Workshop, which also focused on best practice, and featured insightful advice and guidance from regulators with first-hand experience of implementing XBRL, exploring topics such as Stakeholder Management, Building a Business Case, Data Quality and Taxonomy Management, Taxonomy Metadata and Taxonomy Change Management. CoreFiling’s close involvement in this workshop (providing the session moderator, facilitators and a panellist) is yet another illustration of how the company seeks to work closely with regulators, to understand their real-world issues and, in the process, to make sure that this insight informs the development of our solutions. Above all, our aim is to ensure that XBRL is used effectively so that users derive real business value.

Another session focused on iXBRL, the format devised by CoreFiling, and which continues to move from strength to strength. Success stories from HMRC and the FSA in Japan showed just what is possible when reports are created in iXBRL with the joint benefit of being human-readable and able to be consumed by computer systems.

Open data is a current hot topic, particularly now that the US President has signed into law the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) in an attempt to streamline and bring clarity to the interactions between governments and their citizens. While there is still much debate about how this will be achieved, there is a broad body of opinion that XBRL provides the only realistic option as a standard that will open up data to a wider audience.

In the UK we have already seen a very good example of this now that Companies House has created a daily XBRL feed. CoreFiling have also been active in this area, funding a research and development project to explore the potential of Open Data access to the iXBRL data. The results are now freely available, demonstrating how XBRL company data can easily be made accessible to the general public. Learn more.

Continuing along a related theme, aspects of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) were explored, including the role of public policy and the steps needed to achieve data harmonisation. Two of the highest profile SBR programs to date, Australia and the Netherlands, were well represented. CoreFiling are pleased to have provided XBRL technology to both.

Above all, the XII conference offered a chance to meet existing and potential clients and others interested in understanding more about XBRL and the market-leading software CoreFiling offer. And, this doesn’t have to mean embarking on an enormous project from scratch, as CoreFiling offer COTS (commercial-of-the-shelf) solutions to most of the common issues encountered by both regulators and filers. This means that clients can focus on their business requirements rather than deep technical considerations in their use of XBRL. One example of this is the processing of large instance documents, a key consideration as banks and insurance companies start to get to grips with the changing reporting requirements brought in by CRD IV and Solvency II directives. The products CoreFiling offer in this market, and beyond, not only provide a COTS solution for large instance processing, but also solve another thorny problem: how to render XBRL into human-readable form so that reports can be reviewed easily prior to sign off.

All in all, a highly successful and engaging conference.

CoreFiling at the SID4GOV 4th Supplier Engagement Conference – 2nd June 2014

On 2nd June CoreFiling was proud to participate in the 4th Supplier Engagement Conference, supported by the Cabinet Office and several other HM Government departments, illustrating the Government’s continuing commitment to the SME agenda.

The Government’s stated target is that 25% of all direct and indirect central government spend should be with SMEs by 2015. The aim of the conference was to explain to the audience, consisting of around 300 representatives from the SME community and government departments, the progress achieved in engaging and conducting business with the SME community.

The Rt. Hon. Francis Maude, MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, delivered the conference Keynote Address – ‘The Importance of SMEs to Government’. He focused on the advantages offered by SMEs, who make up 99.9% of UK businesses and provide economic stimulus as well as developing innovative products, and acknowledged that the days when Government dealt with only a small number of larger vendors are long gone. His key message was that working with SMEs promotes better value for taxpayers’ money and provides an engine for economic growth. He stressed the importance of IT companies and as an example, he cited the G-Cloud initiative, part of the new digital agenda, which has seen some £175M worth of Government contracts let under this umbrella.

In turn, SID4GOV (Supplier Information Database for Government) marks a new initiative to help match Government requirements against SME capabilities, while removing many of the previous business obstacles. For example, in the past suppliers had to complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) that would almost always automatically exclude SMEs from the tender process, as there was an expectation that suppliers should be able to handle all aspects of the project. SME capability is now fully explained on SID4GOV, making it easier for prime contractors to include SMEs as part of wider bids.

The Conference also debated the fact that some SMEs prefer to engage directly with Government departments rather than the larger vendor prime contractors. SCC and HMRC Aspire (Cap Gemini) both offered a perspective on this.

Ian Hicks, CoreFiling’s Director of Professional Service, took part in a joint presentation with Dave Henderson, SME Champion – Commercial Directorate, HMRC, and Adele Every, SME & Innovation Champion, HMRC Account, Capgemini. Entitled ‘Working in Partnership: HMRC, Capgemini and the SME community’, this session explored how HMRC has worked with Capgemini to build a supplier base from amongst the SME community in order to bring on board innovative solutions, and profiled CoreFiling as an example of successfully working together. Adele explained some of the success factors when dealing with SMEs, pointing to the need to engage with SMEs early in the bid process, helping them to recognise the long cycle times and being honest if the proposed SME innovation does not fit well within the confines of the project. Of particular interest was the need to provide SME-friendly terms, such as prompt payment, to ensure a sound relationship. Ian provided the real-life example of how CoreFiling has worked very effectively with HMRC and Capgemini, pointing out that it can be frustrating when decisions are delayed, but that ultimately a successful project can lead to a sound basis for ongoing business. In CoreFiling’s case, it led to additional projects in other sectors. Ian pointed out that Capgemini engaged with CoreFiling at an early stage in the projects and employed a ‘light touch’, which really helped promote a successful relationship.

A Home Office representative, John Fernau, offered his department’s perspective on ‘Delivering against the SME Aspiration’. He explained that some of the Government’s SME engagement targets can be challenging, particularly since the majority of the projects within his department are large-scale and only substantial suppliers are in a position to prime those projects; the challenge is persuading large vendors to work together with SME’s.

The conclusion was that the Government continues to be committed to the SME agenda, because there are distinct benefits to be derived: better value for taxpayers’ money through reduced Government spending. As SMEs prosper they create wealth and jobs, so reducing unemployment and fostering growth in the economy, thus resulting in a win-win relationship.

48 COREP validations – how will you know if your disclosures fail the test?

Recently the FCA/PRA announced a significant change to its COREP reporting requirements [http://www.fca.org.uk/your-fca/documents/crd-iv-validations-for-q1-reporting]. There are a number of known errors in the EBA taxonomy and consequently the UK regulator had previously indicated that it would be treating all validations as ‘warnings’ that would not result in failed submissions.

However, upon further investigation the FCA has now issued a revised notice asserting that it will be checking a total of 48 validations (relating to COREP Own Funds and Leverage, Large Exposures, LCR and NSFR) in disclosures issued to meet the impending 30th June remittance deadline. Outside the 48 validations highlighted above it will continue to ignore the other incorrect EBA validations and treat them merely as warnings for GABRIEL submission purposes.

This means that filers must be vigilant and their XBRL production systems must be able to cater for this new set of important validation rules. But, how do you know whether your XBRL documents will pass the test?

There’s one sure way to find out – by using Magnify®, our XBRL document review product. The new validations have now been incorporated into Magnify, so it’s easy to check your submissions against the new rules. If there’s a problem, Magnify will highlight the error so that you can take remedial action. The even better news is that Magnify also lets you understand what is actually contained within the XBRL document you’re about to submit; it renders the document in a human-readable format, so you don’t have to struggle with the impenetrable XBRL. So, when senior executives need to sign off the completed reports, Magnify shows clearly what is being reported.

In short, Magnify can save you time and effort – and offers peace of mind that your disclosures will not be rejected