Rachael Singh, Accountancy Age, Tuesday 29 June 2010 at 09:19:00

Accountants need to do more to prepare for the switch to iXBRL and helpclients understand the format for submissions

Accountancy firms are not geared up to tackle the switchover to the newonline filing system to be brought in by HMRC next year.

A survey conducted by CCH, the accountancy technology business, foundaccountants are still undecided on how they will convert data into the newformat to file corporation tax returns.

HMRC mandated from 1 April 2011 all corporation tax filing must be in a newcomputer tagging language known as iXBRL (in-line eXtensible Business ReportingLanguage), which is hoped to make comparing financial information easier.

Less than one in ten (8%) of accountants surveyed have decided how they willconvert accounts to iXBRL format before filing at HMRC.

David Routley, technical product manager, CCH, said: ?What the CCH researchhas shown is that accountants are still not geared up for the move to compulsorye-filing next year.

"Two critical areas, converting data into iXBRL format which can be timeconsuming, and a lack of clear formalised relationship agreements, will meanthat they could be faced with unplanned additional costs and a resource drainnext year."

More than 30% of accountants submit corporation tax returns for clients frominformation produced by third parties. However, 52% of third party informationis currently submitted in paper format and 48% in pdf, the least iXBRL friendlyformats.

Routley added: ?Accountants will need to spell out to clients and third partieswho will be responsible for ensuring the tagging of data, otherwise they will beleft with a much larger volume of work than they expected."

Further reading:

HMRCdeadline fears for software firms

Onlinefilers turning to HMRC?s own software

ICASsurvey finds accountants not prepared for iXBRL