XBRL around the world

While there has been increased focus on XBRL within the United States over recent months, in part due to the SEC’s recent announcement that iXBRL will be used by operating companies and mutual funds going forward, it’s also worth taking a step back to see just how prevalent XBRL is across the globe.

Admittedly, certain parts of the world have not taken to XBRL as quickly as others, but it’s equally true that many more countries and institutions lean towards the advances in data presentation and information sharing that XBRL reporting can offer.

So here is a small selection of the global institutions that have adopted XBRL, although there are more out there as XBRL’s use continues to grow.

North America

In North America, one of the most well-known XBRL users is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, although there are other North American bodies that use XBRL.

For example, the Canadian Securities Administrators have a voluntary XBRL filing programme in place for those who wish to file their financial statements using the reporting language. But XBRL still cannot replace PDF filing in the case of financial statements that need to be filed under the Canadian securities legislation.

South America

Many organisations across South America have also warmed to XBRL reporting options. Brazil, for instance, has Project SICONFI, which has resulted in the development of SICONFI taxonomy by the Brazilian National Treasury. The data collected under this project is used by Brazilian government entities to build a picture of the economic performance of Brazil as a whole.

Aside from Brazil, XBRL is in use in places such as Peru, where the Superintendencia del Mercado de Valores (SMV) has had mandatory XBRL filing for listed companies since 2012, as well as countries such as Panama, where the Superintendencia de Bancos de Panama also makes use of XBRL data.


Certain countries in Asia, like Japan, are strong advocates for the reporting standard and have welcomed XBRL with open arms. The Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) requires XBRL reporting for thousands of publicly listed companies, as well as investment funds. In addition, the Bank of Japan also has a voluntary XBRL reporting programme in place.

Other countries in Asia that have introduced XBRL reporting include South Korea, where the Korean Financial Supervisory Commission requires publicly listed companies to file their financial statements under XBRL, and Singapore, where the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) requires companies to file financial statements using XBRL.

South Africa is actually a leader in XBRL adoption for regulatory filings in Africa. Here’s a breakdown of XBRL in South Africa:

Mandate by CIPC: The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) mandated the use of Inline XBRL (iXBRL) for qualifying entities filing annual financial statements (AFS) since July 1st, 2018.

Benefits: CIPC promotes iXBRL for its advantages in:

Efficiency: Electronic filing with iXBRL streamlines the process compared to traditional methods.
Accuracy: Standardized tagging reduces errors in financial data.
Transparency: iXBRL filings allow for easier analysis of company financials.

The CIPC has a dedicated XBRL Programme page outlining the regulations, filing requirements, and updates: https://www.cipc.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Facts-about-Annual-Financial-Statements.pdf
XBRL International also recognizes South Africa’s early adoption of iXBRL: https://www.xbrl.org/xbrl-in-south-africa-an-update/
Overall, XBRL plays a significant role in ensuring efficient and accurate financial reporting for businesses in South Africa.


XBRL adoption is also going strong across Europe. From HMRC and Companies House in the UK and the German Ministry of Finance, to Spain’s Ministry of Economic, National Accounting and Auditing Institute, and the European Banking Authority, there’s no shortage of institutions that have recognised the benefits that XBRL reporting can bring.

How to Implement XBRL

Implementing XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) for financial reporting is akin to stepping up your compliance game. At its core, XBRL is a markup language that elevates financial data into an interactive, electronic format, making it easier for users to analyze and compare. The journey usually starts by choosing the right XBRL software solution or service that fits your compliance needs, such as our iXBRL tagging service. Subsequently, you’ll map your financial statements to taxonomy, which is essentially the dictionary of XBRL tags. This is a critical step; think of it as aligning your financial lexicon with the global or local regulatory standards. Once that’s done, you validate the document to ensure all data points are accurate and properly tagged. After a test run and possible revisions, the XBRL files are then ready for submission to the relevant authorities. Think of XBRL as not just a compliance requisite but a pathway to make your financial data more consumable and comparable.

Given the increasing prevalence of XBRL reporting and other regulatory measures, it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends and changes. DataTracks specialises in regulatory filing and compliance reporting, as well as iXBRL reporting. For more information about our services, visit our website or reach out to us at enquiry@datatracks.co.uk.

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