RSM South Africa

XBRL and the filing of a company's annual financial statements

Section 33(1) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (the Companies Act) states that every company must file an annual return in the prescribed form, with the prescribed fee, and within the prescribed period after the anniversary of the date of its incorporation.

As of 1 July 2018, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”) will be implementing new requirements for the submission of annual returns. Companies which are required to file their annual financial statements with their annual return must now submit the annual financial statements in the Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) format, a web based computer language that is aimed at business reporting.

We have received a number of queries from our clients regarding XBRL which we have collated below as “frequently asked questions”:

Who needs to submit annual returns with the CIPC?

All companies (including external companies) and close corporations are required to file their annual returns with the CIPC on an annual basis, within the prescribed time period.

Which companies must submit their annual financial statements with the CIPC?

If a company is required to prepare audited annual financial statements in terms of the Companies Act, the company must file this document with the CIPC at the same time of filing its annual return.

What format must the company submit its annual financial statements with the CIPC?

Historically the CIPC accepted the latest approved annual financial statements in PDF format via email or uploaded to their website. As of 1 July 2018, however, the CIPC will be making XBRL submissions of annual financial statements mandatory for those companies required to file their annual financial statements with their annual return submissions.

What is XBRL?

XBRL is the abbreviation for Extensible Business Reporting Language, which is a web based computer language that is aimed at business reporting. The web based computer language allows account numbers to be tagged within XBRL format, using predefined descriptions. This standardised tagging improves analysis of financial information and leads to more comparable and reliable information.

The role of RSM

RSM has been actively involved in the pilot testing of XBRL reporting with one of CIPC’s recommended Software Service Providers who are members of the CIPCs Software Service Providers Panel.

This places RSM in a unique position to assist our clients in lodging their annual financial statements in XBRL format with their annual return.


Please feel free to contact our Corporate Statutory team for any information or assistance regarding XBRL. You can also find out more about our Corporate Statutory services here

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