The conversion of reports in ‘native’ format, such as Word or Excel, into iXBRL involves matching the data in the accounts and tax computations with XBRL tags from the appropriate taxonomies using a software tool that presents the marked-up (or ‘tagged’) report(s) in an (X)HTML document.
Ideally - and in practice most of the time - such ‘data tagging’ should be straightforward, with an obvious one-to-one match between financial line items and tags in the report. However, there will be times when it is not obvious what the most appropriate match is, or that it becomes clear that no match can be found. This is due to the fact that company accounts and computations are varied and detailed. The UK taxonomies which define the available tags have to be large enough to provide tags for most items which typically appear in financial reports, but they are not exhaustive.
Therefore, although taxonomies and conversion software are designed to make manual tagging as easy as possible, it will inevitably involve time and effort, especially in the first instance.
After the first year, people will have a better understanding of taxonomies and the tagging process. As they move forward, the previous year’s tagging will form the basis of the next year so things will get easier and quicker.
The precise mechanisms of tagging and data entry will depend on the software chosen. For example, some existing software requires a tag to be dragged from a taxonomy list onto the appropriate line item in an Excel file. However, other software products may offer different features, such as the use of prepared templates.