Year two tagging – how fast can you go?

We again return to the subject of year two tagging.    We’ve talked in the past about how Seahorse can re-apply the tagging decisions already selected and confirmed in previous years’ tables and text.  The issue today is speed of tagging –  making the process as fast and painless as possible.

Seahorse has extended the ‘roll-forward’ process still further to make tagging even faster.

Both comments and footnotes can now be carried forward and reapplied in a similar way, simplifying the task further.  Comments are transferred without the need for any user input, and footnotes can be confirmed in the same way as other tags.

Accelerating the process still further, there’s now an automatic confirmation option.  So, where there are exact matches between table rows and columns in both previous and current documents, Seahorse can reapply the tags automatically without the need for manual intervention.

Just in case you were wondering, discretionary use of this facility is available, so you still retain full control over whether or not to deploy automatic confirmation of identical data.  However, we think that many users are likely to opt for this extra time saving measure.

How long will it take to tag your year two accounts?

Did you file early to avoid the April 2011 iXBRL filing deadline?

Perhaps you successfully circumvented the original HMRC iXBRL filing mandate by submitting last year’s Corporation Tax returns early to avoid the April deadline.  If so, converting your accounts documents to iXBRL must now be on the agenda.  What are the options? Well, if you’ve a number of accounts that you are already producing in Word or Excel, why change your process?  Take a look at the advantages of Seahorse.

First of all, there’s help in choosing the appropriate iXBRL tags. Seahorse automatically tags the tables in your Word or Excel document and proposes the most appropriate tag to use.  Its intelligent tagging engine harnesses the accumulated learning from all the filings put through the Seahorse system, so its suggestions continue to become more and more refined over time.  There’s no need to trawl through the underlying taxonomy to find the tag you need.

If you have a number of accounts to tag within the same group company you can re-use your initial tagging decisions to swiftly create iXBRL documents for additional sets of accounts.

And if you have a formal review and sign-off process for your accounts, Seahorse lets you easily create a spreadsheet that automatically captures all the tagging decisions made and allows comments to be inserted, for example to explain why particular concepts have not been tagged.

Finally, Seahorse is provided over the internet, so you can use it straight from your browser, avoiding the expense of new infrastructure or purchasing a full-blown accounts preparation package and, because the whole process remains under your control, you don’t have to risk sending your data to third parties.

Seahorse remains one of the very few solutions to have experienced no problems passing the HMRC gateway first time.  Why? Because not only does it incorporate validation against the Joint Filing Common Validation Checks imposed by HMRC and Companies House, but the underlying XBRL and iXBRL is fully verified during the Seahorse conversion process.

Seahorse takes away the pain of iXBRL conversion of Word and Excel accounts.

What could be simpler?

Seahorse travels the world – next stop Denmark

The momentum around iXBRL continues to accelerate.  Denmark is the latest country to mandate iXBRL as the platform for financial reporting.  Adopting a phased approach starting in June 2012, the official register for Danish companies, the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency (DCCA), will require all companies to file in iXBRL format.

The good news for Danish companies is that Seahorse offers full support for the new Danish GAAP taxonomies and caters for a number of requirements specific to the Danish market, including full verification of both XBRL and iXBRL against DCCA validation rules.

Seahorse takes up the Indian XBRL challenge

The move towards XBRL as the standard technology for regulatory filing continues to gather momentum, India being the latest country to issue a mandate. The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) now requires all listed companies and certain unlisted companies to file their balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the year ended 31st March 2011 in XBRL format.

The key to XBRL filing is the ability to produce XBRL instance documents as efficiently as possible. Following the success of our Seahorse accounts tagging solution in the UK market, we are updating the solution for Indian companies. Seahorse already supports the Indian taxonomy and we are currently adding a series of relevant validation rules to ensure MCA compliance.

Reviewing iXBRL Filings II

My previous blog post talked about review sheets in Seahorse™. However, even if you’re not using Seahorse, you can still check the quality of your iXBRL documents prior to filing. Why is this important? Because even though HMRC has indicated they will not penalise filers who make best endeavours to comply with the mandate, their guidelines also state that incorrect or missing tags may in certain circumstances prompt further risk assessment and follow-up.

Enter Magnify™, our desktop document review tool. Magnify uses a checklist approach to guide you step by step through an assessment of your iXBRL document. Wherever possible it performs automated tests, verifying calculations and highlighting any discrepancies and errors. No matter whether you produce your iXBRL in-house, use the output from an accounts production package or outsource the whole process to a third party, Magnify gives you that extra peace of mind knowing that you’re submitting quality documents that will pass the HMRC gateway without issue.

Reviewing iXBRL Filings

So, you’ve finished tagging your iXBRL accounts, but what happens if others need to review them off-line prior to sign-off?  Till now that hasn’t always been easy if senior management doesn’t have access to your tagging service.  With Seahorse, it’s a problem solved.

Seahorse lets you export an Excel spreadsheet detailing every line item in your iXBRL document, showing the line item description, who tagged it, the concept label, the confidence level of the chosen tag, the suggestion ranking and whether the tag belongs within the Minimum Tagging Set.  It’s particularly useful for reviewing the consistency of your work and providing an explicit audit log for your filers.

iXBRL Filing Just Got Faster

iXBRL has been a reality since April, but post-mandate it’s clear that companies are still struggling to cope with HMRC’s requirement for iXBRL filing.  During a series of recent iXBRL webinars we questioned delegates about their filing plans.  Many had filed early to avoid the issue – for this year at least – and others had outsourced the problem, but a significant percentage claim little understanding of iXBRL and remain ill-prepared to meet the new filing obligations.  Most expressed concern about the amount of additional time they would need to spend on the conversion process.

Mindful of this prevalent view, we have been constantly evolving our Seahorse tagging tool to cut the conversion time.

From the beginning Seahorse included a unique autotagging facility, suggesting tags for each concept in the financial tables and letting you then review and confirm the appropriate tag.  This process has always been quicker than traditional ‘drag and drop’ methods, but the new Bulk Review facility in the latest Seahorse release has made it even faster.  No longer do you have to review suggestions line by line, you now have the option to confirm all ‘high confidence’ items – or even all items in the table.  Three clicks are all you need.  Seahorse also now interprets simple column headers containing only a year (e.g. ‘2011’) and expands these to the correct reporting period, saving you even more time.

To speed up the process still further, Seahorse now immediately alerts you if a tag you are about to create has already been used elsewhere to report a different number.

Are you prepared for iXBRL?

HMRC iXBRL Solutions Fair, Chelsea

HMRC organised a highly successful iXBRL Solutions event at the Chelsea Football Stadium on June 30th. With a wide array of vendor exhibits, there was a solution for everyone. The interest in Seahorse was phenomenal. We appreciated the attendees’ obvious interest, as well as the air of conviviality and general willingness to squeeze in among the throngs who gathered all day long to look at our demo and talk about how Seahorse converts accounts from Word or Excel into iXBRL. Those who made themselves known to us ranged from sole practitioners to enormous accounting firms and FTSE companies. It was also great to see people who had introduced themselves at previous events returning to have another look and chat about the finer details. The demand for Seahorse is clear!

SpiderMonkey… unveiled

So, lots of people have been wondering about what we have been up to over the last few months. It’s true. We’ve been pre-occupied. But now we are beginning to take the wraps off. SpiderMonkey! It’s here!

Based on Eclipse, SpiderMonkey offers a phenomenal new experience for taxonomy builders everywhere. It provides a user interface that offers all the power of XBRL, but in a user-friendly way. SpiderMonkey is based on True North, so you can be completely confident about the output. As one of our early testers says "The UI reflects a complete understanding of the XBRL spec – not some approximation to it". But that’s what you expected from us.

Now in Beta… (the program is pretty full up, but if you can convince me that you’ll really work it, you know what you are talking about, and will file bugs and enhancement requests, we might squeeze you in). In general, you can Sign Up to get it on general release.

PS: Did you hear us say "three way merge"??? Yup. It does that too!

EarningsDirect makes its debut

From today, interactive data suddenly became an important part of doing business. Today we launched EarningsDirect with Business Wire. This is a world first — an entirely new communications tool for investor relations and finance professionals. It allows companies’ all-important earnings data to be communicated to the media, market data services, analysts and investors in a format that can be instantly, accurately and unambiguously used in analysis and investment models.

Financial data first gets disseminated as an earnings release, in text format. This generally occurs two or three weeks before regulatory filings, like 10Q statements, are lodged with the regulators. A very few key numbers get punched into financial news stories and active investor models within a matter of 10 – 20 minutes of the earnings release being made available. And any number of market data services either key the information in at off-shore facilities in India or Eastern Europe or parse the information out of the text and into databases using fairly sophisticated software over the next hours and days. Naturally, and much to the horror of a lot of the accountants and controllers who sweat over the production of financial statements, in the process of all this manual wrangling, the data gets drastically summarised. Inevitably, mistakes creep in.

EarningsDirect changes all that. Selected information within the earnings release are disseminated simultaneously in XBRL format, which means that the information can be used without rekeying, re-parsing or manual manipulation of any sort. News stories can gulp down EBITDA, changes in revenue, earnings growth, SG&A improvements or the effect of a merger, instantly. Analysts’ models can absorb the base data that they need to calculate hundreds of ratios instantly. The really great thing about this new way of communicating, is that we can’t begin to work out all the ways that the market will use all this instant, accurate data!

Ok, great — how does it get turned into this magic format? It’s a pretty simple process. Business Wire clients download a Microsoft Excel template, fill it in and upload it to our software running on the Business Wire servers.

Clients get back a special Intelligent Financial Statement™, or IFS. An IFS is a special PDF file containing a range of CoreFiling proprietary technologies. It looks like a set of financials – tables setting out familiar information like a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow. But if you hover your mouse over a number in the document, TagTips™ tell you how the information has been marked up, or tagged, in XBRL. The data document itself is embedded right inside the PDF, accessible at a click of a button from within Adobe Acrobat Reader. As a result, the controller or CFO can gain complete confidence about the manner in which the information is being communicated to the market.

Once approved, this document – the Intelligent Financial Statement™, as well as the XBRL in its raw form, is disseminated, with the earnings release, simultaneously, to global capital markets by the Business Wire NX system, ready to be used.

It’s like corn on the cob. It’s better to eat it fresh, within seconds of it being picked, than the kind that’s washed in chemicals, cut down to a uniform size to fit into uniform packaging and then refrigerated or frozen and shipped over a period of days or weeks from somewhere you have trouble finding on the map. Both are recognizably corn. But the mass produced kind is missing quite a bit of its goodness and never tastes quite the same.

Won’t this just be a sub-set of the information in the earnings release, I hear you ask? It depends. There are three levels to the EarningsDirect service. Level 1 is a simple template, containing around 90 concepts, critical to almost every company. It’s free for the next two quarters of earnings. Business Wire client? Talk to your AE about EarningsDirect Level 1. Level 2 involves more detailed data, specific to certain sectors, ensuring comparability and accuracy for larger, as well as more specialized businesses. But Level 3 is a completely customised template. CoreFiling specialists create it to meet the communications objectives of each company. Clients can use the same template each quarter. Again, all the client needs to do is fill in the spreadsheet. So EarningsDirect is easy to use. Easy to understand. And makes sure that financial performance messages get across accurately, unambiguously and (did we mention?) instantly!

Lastly, some people will be wondering how analysts and media organisations can consume this data. Hint – some of them already can. For the others, it’s a simple exercise that provide a rich new seam of crucial investment information. Don’t know how? Talk to us, or (if you must) the other XBRL vendors. We can all help.

EarningsDirect. It’s powerful reporting made simple by CoreFiling. And Business Wire!