XBRL South Africa was officially launched on Monday, the JSE said in a statement.
XBRL is an electronic standard for publishing business reporting data that is being adopted around the world. It has been developed by XBRL International, Inc, a global consortium of accounting societies, financial institutions, technology companies and other financial industry constituents working together since 1998.
XBRL provides royalty-free, XML-based standards for tagging financial information to enable automated production and retrieval of financial and other business information.
According to the statement, XBRL creates fast, efficient, reliable and cheap financial information. The data does not need to be interpreted.
XBRL-aware applications enable analysts and investors to track specific data points from company disclosures and electronically integrate them into spreadsheets and other modelling tools. This cuts the amount of time it takes to locate the required data, eliminates re-keying of data into modelling tools and speeds integration of data into analytical models.
XBRL provides a globally-accepted standard to augment existing business reporting channels. It can improve the process by which South African and global entities transfer information to investors, thereby enabling better transparency and accessibility to financial and other business information.
Founding members driving the adoption of XBRL in South Africa include Saica, JSE Limited, the Financial services Board, the South African Reserve Bank, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Absa, FirstRand, eX-IT Software, MWeb McGregor BFA, Alexander Forbes and CQS.
South African companies can become a part of XBRL SA by subscribing to it as members.
"By becoming a member of XBRL SA, an organisation will participate in the development of XBRL in South Africa and acquire a significant lead in developing and implementing XBRL within a company," said Freda Evans, Chief Financial Officer of the JSE.
The JSE was the first stock exchange globally, to make its annual financial results available using the IFRS XBRL standard. For some time, pension funds administered by Alexander Forbes have used XBRL for their reporting to the FSB, the statement said.
Said Graham Terry, vice president of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) and acting chairman of the SA XBRL steering committee: "Large international organisations like 3M, General Motors and Microsoft use XBRL to file to the SEC. In the Netherlands, their government believes that about EUR350million for the private sector will be saved in administration burden through the speed and efficiency of using XBRL for financial reporting. The reality is that using this standard will, very soon, not be an option. I urge corporate and financial business decision makers to positively consider becoming members of XBRL SA."