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Companies House commits to iXBRL language

30/01/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

Companies House has outlined a commitment to further developing the use of iXBRL reporting language in its digital systems.

Companies House website on laptop

It has indicated that it wants to work more with other government departments and industry experts to realise the potential of iXBRL, otherwise known as Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language.

An organisational blogpost by systems analyst Carl Palfrey – referring heavily to a conference presentation by director of finance Michelle Wall – said that Companies House aims to use the language as a key tool in its digital transformation.

“Our vision is to make sure our data is accurate and usable,” he said. “This would encourage confidence in the (Companies House) register, help increase investment, and through enhanced transparency, help tackle fraud.

“The mission to drive quality would be a multi-faceted endeavour, working with other government departments to prevent misuse of company data. We want to do more cross-checking of data with other relevant bodies to drive up quality, and to become a key player in providing quality iXBRL financial data.”

The organisation has run a pilot project with HM Revenue and Customs on how the language could be used to investigate anomalies between different datasets, which led to the identification of £14.6 million in fraud and error. According to Wall this could be expanded to around £100 million if the pilot was expanded.

The blog also highlighted that the European Securities and Markets Authority has mandated the use of iXBRL by companies listed on stock exchanges.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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