With xbrl at full swing in corporates and in Chartered Accountant’s offices, many people are wondering how, what, why….of xbrl!

One of the options is to buy a tool which will convert your pdf into xbrl and render it to the MCA. How to buy a tool…or rather what to look for in a tool? If you do not go through a drill you may end up buying a ‘cheap’ tool and wonder how to live with that! Here are some tips….obviously not exhaustive…

1. Does it do xbrl tagging properly…sounds obvious, well, well…do your checking please!

2. Does it have the latest taxonomies(y) that you need: If there are some changes will the technical team support making those changes is a nice question to ask….

3. Does it validate well and does it have its own validator at your end?

4. Is it a learning software – and help in subsequent tagging?

5. Does it collect data seamlessly without much effort? Or do you need to first do a change of format and then load the data or can it take it directly from your pdf or your accounting package?

6. Does it do Automatic rounding off – or will all that throw up validating errors?

7. Can it take data from various sources and does it give you various rendering options?

8. How good is the audit trail and will the tool provide a viewer for the CA to certify the document before it is filed?

9. How good is the work flow visibility?

10. How is the Inline output?

11. Does it do automatic tagging -even for the current year, or how quick can you auto teach?

12. How easy is it to operate – right from loading the taxonomy, tagging, etc.


13. How much of understanding of taxonomies does the team building the tool have?

13. How big is the team working on XBRL related projects? Obviously bigger the better!

14. With how many regulators in the world does the company have had interactions and learning?

15. How prepared is the company for IFRS integration, change in taxonomy, etc.?

16. How good is the training support – not just on the software, but also to be able to talk about taxonomy, use of xbrl at the general ledger level, etc.

17. Does the team have the capability to integrate systems checks, legal and compliance checks, etc – which you may want as an additional feature?

there could be more…only after you have exhausted all this should you come to price….

Those who do not have features, will talk price! If all I have is a hammer the world looks like a nail, does it not?

CAUTION: If somebody is telling you there is no need to know anything about XBRL, you can just buy a software – and it will automatically convert everything into xbrl, ask him to take a walk. A real long walk. You have to understand what is xbrl, what is tagging, have very good basic accounting knowledge to convert a document from pdf to xbrl. This is like a ULIP misselling!

Caveat: I think you should attend a 2 day training program to be able to appreciate XBRL and talk to vendors! Obviously as a trainer I am looking for business for the whole fraternity!

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  1. “CAUTION: If somebody is telling you there is no need to know anything about XBRL, you can just buy a software – and it will automatically convert everything into xbrl, ask him to take a walk.”…..i swear this is pathetic…how can vendors say so…i wonder are such vendors some “Chinese cheap vendors”….”XBRL” is like “Income Tax Act” and “Instance Document” is like ITR-1/2/3/4…Only once you have understood income tax related concepts/sections from The Act, only then can you advice yourself/others on income tax related issues and file their returns…Not any Tom, Dick and Harry can do Income Tax Consultancy or Investment Consultancy…similarly Not any Tom, Dick and Harry can do XBRL…and those who think can do can only talk of things such as “There is no need to know anything about XBRL, Just buy my (read:stupid) software and comply with the mandate”

  2. take the same concept further Rahul – even if you have bought a IT package paying a lot of money, it will not tell you that your daughter’s income has to be added to your income.

    If you ask for TRAINING the software vendor will train you on HOW TO USE THE SOFTWARE not on clubbing, non resident status, etc.!!

    In xbrl when people buy…i am sure they will need help on tagging, the process, WHICH IS ACTUALLY which may not be available online,,

  3. I agree…there is lot more to XBRL than just one MCA mandate….One has to learn XBRL beyond MCA mandate or any regulatory mandate for that matter to understand what all magical things it can do for you.

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