IFRS and electronic reporting
One of the main reasons for having general purpose financial reports prepared in accordance with IFRS is to facilitate cross-border investment.
Many international standards organisations exist to facilitate the transfer of ‘something’ across jurisdictional boundaries and borders—people, aircraft, boats, mail etc. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) facilitate the transfer of financial information in general purpose financial reports. These reports are intended to be available to investors, anywhere.
Securities regulators and stock exchanges appreciate the importance of access to general purpose reports, which is why financial reports for listed entities are required to be filed, sometimes in a specific format. Many jurisdictions have taken steps to improve access to general purpose financial reports through electronic depositories. In recent years many have also introduced requirements to tag data inside these reports to make smaller parts of the financial statement searchable and accessible, instead of simply having PDF versions on a website, to improve access to data and reduce search costs.
Structured electronic reporting of IFRS financial statements contributes to the mission statement of the IFRS Foundation in three main ways:
Assists transparency: increases accessibility of information for all market participants.
Assists accountability: structured electronic data supports market enforcement of IFRS by regulators.
Assists efficiency: accessible data may reduce costs to process IFRS information allowing users to focus on analysis.
To support the move towards structured electronic reporting, the IFRS Foundation produces the IFRS Taxonomy in XBRL.
To understand how IFRS statements are filed and made accessible, the IFRS Foundation is following up the work on the IFRS jurisdiction profiles with a research project to map current requirements for filing and the use of structured electronic filing around the world.