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Financial communication using "eXtensible Business Reporting Language" (XBRL) opens up new possibilities for companies to reduce their costs and increase their effectiveness at the same time. Since 2012, there has been an obligation to prepare an electronic tax balance sheet "e-balance sheet", which uses XBRL.

XBRL is a standard for the creation, dissemination and evaluation of financial information, developed by national XBRL organisations. The XBRL standard identifies accounting content in a manner comparable to barcodes on labels, so that the information in accounting documents has a clearly traceable data structure.

Financial communication using XBRL allows automated data processing along the entire electronic transmission path. XBRL makes use of so-called taxonomies, which can be described in simplified terms as a kind of lexicon of all possible allocations of data within an accounting standard (IFRS, HGB, tax law).

Cost reduction through XBRL

XBRL also offers the decisive advantage of cost reduction for accountants. By preparing data in one format, different output reports can be generated: for example, for cost-effective publication in the electronic Federal Gazette or for forwarding to credit institutions or business partners.

In addition to using electronic validation routines to ensure the completeness and accuracy of data, companies can avoid manual reconciliation activities or time-consuming account and data allocations by using XBRL. This frees up resources and ensures much faster data preparation.

Within the group, XBRL can take over the function of a standard account and analysis framework, which can make the costly standardisation of IT structures unnecessary. XBRL data of consolidated companies can be transferred directly into the consolidation tool of the parent company or evaluated by the investment controlling without filling in reporting packages.

Advantages also with regard to external company analysis

XBRL also has clear advantages for external recipients of information such as analysts, banks or rating agencies that process a very large number of financial statements from different accountants: All incoming data always have an identical logical structure and can be transferred to the respective evaluation systems without further manual preparation.

There is broad international support for the spread of XBRL. In the USA, XBRL has been the mandatory standard for SEC filings in the EDGAR database system since June 2009. Foreign private issuers have had to disclose their IFRS financial statements in XBRL format since 15 June 2011.

Our service offering

KPMG supports you throughout the entire XBRL implementation:

  • XBRL basic training as well as targeted training for your employees.
  • Conceptual design of the XBRL process including optimisation of existing processes
  • Advice on taxonomy selection and support for taxonomy enhancements
  • Implementation of a quality assurance system with the use of validation routines
  • Audit procedures with regard to XBRL files, assessment of established controls as well as IT security
  • Preparation of XBRL documents

KPMG's experts advise and support you in the provision of audit or compilation services independently and on their own responsibility. We prepare our work in accordance with relevant national and international professional standards.