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What is the difference between iXBRL and XBRL?

With the technical roll out of the XBRL programme by CIPC fast approaching on 1 July, 2018, there has been some confusion in the market place around the terminology which is sometimes used interchangeably. A common question we receive at Ince is

“What is the difference between iXBRL and XBRL?”

Thankfully, our resident expert on the matter Debbie Johnson, has answered the question below:

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XBRL is the global standard machine-readable language, created specifically for all forms of financial reporting. Based on the global financial reporting rules of the IFRS and GAAP accounting standards, it allows the free, computer-automated exchange of financial big data, throughout the global financial reporting world.

It can be referred to as  the “barcode” for all financial information, which allows for fast, automated, accurate and comparable analysis of all types of financial data worldwide. However, people generally cannot fluently read or easily understand XBRL language in its coded format so the next step in the evolution of XBRL was developed.

It is referred to as iXBRL which means “ Inline-XBRL”. This version of XBRL is human and machine readable. By combining XBRL with an HTML format, to form an XHTML format,  it can produce XBRL information in a readable report, able to be easily consumed by people.

So iXBRL is the best of both worlds, because as a more advanced output format of XBRL, it can be consumed by both computers and people.

Ince has welcomed the fact that our South African regulator CIPC has jumped straight to iXBRL reporting;  as the best output format for consumption and use of the XBRL financial reporting standard it has positioned South Africa in the forefront of global Standard Business Reporting.