We wrote an article in the online edition raamatupidaja.ee of “Äripäev” about the opportunity to submit an annual report in just 27 minutes. Happy reading!
Submitting an annual report in the time it takes to have a coffee break!
There are probably a lot of accountants and entrepreneurs doing overtime work in June due to preparing annual reports. However, it’s possible to submit the report in the time it takes to have a coffee break. But even the most diligent accountant is unable to perform miracles when the obstacle is the inadequately configured XBRL section in the accounting software.
Since 2010 when it became possible to submit annual reports in the XBRL-format, people have been talking about how this makes the accountant’s job quicker and easier. Indeed it does, but the prerequisite for that is time-consuming and comprehensively thought-out configuration of the software that XBRL requires.
The principle may seem simple – it has to be possible to calculate the information required for the annual reports by the computer using accounting accounts, and because it doesn’t matter for the computer how many numbers it has to calculate, the task of the accountant is to describe the reports. And this is exactly where the implementation process is lacking. In the majority of cases, the software hasn’t been implemented in advance in any way, and the accountant will have to take care of describing the reports. This, however, is fairly complicated, and such tasks are often “temporarily” set aside. Temporary things tend to become permanent, so there are still accountants today that consider preparing annual reports to be a time-consuming manual labour and entering hundreds of numbers from the printout on the new form.
But what if the accountant didn’t have to carry out all the preparatory work for adopting the XBRL themselves? What if the accounting software came already preconfigured it could be implemented pretty much straight away?
Let’s take our AccountStudio accounting software as an example. AccountStudio uses an extensive (used daily) chart of accounts and reports described for it: balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and notes belonging to the annual reports. Because implementation to this extent has, so to say, been done for the new customer (and it’s also already included in the price), the accountant will not have to spend any more time on it. If required, the accountant can also request report forms adapted to the accountant.
If all these preparations were done by the supplier of the accounting software, we could say that it is entirely possible for the accountant to prepare the annual report during a coffee break as mentioned in the introduction. Let’s look at a test measuring time expenditure that I took when using the AccountStudio software. I used an actual operating small-scale company for the test.
- I generated an annual report in AccountStudio. Before doing so, I selected the basic reports and notes and chose the accounting policies. It took me less than 9 minutes (8:47) to save (including) the XBRL file. To specify, I selected 4 basic reports, 20 notes and 20 different options for accounting policies.
- I opened the Company Registration Portal and uploaded the generated XBRL file. Some time was spent on selecting report forms in the reporting environment (although the selection has already been made in the XBRL file, the Company Registration Portal requires you to select them again), checking the data, numbering the notes and entering the EMTAK code; I adjusted the title page and prepared a management report, then generated the final PDF-file and entered the date of completing the report. All these activities up to signing the report took 15 minutes (14:34).
- I took a coffee break while the report was being calculated.
- Signing and filling in the profit distribution/covering of loss proposal and submitting the report took another few minutes.
Altogether just 27 minutes! In the course thereof, at least 160 numerical indicators and about a dozen text indicators were submitted.
But this result was possible only because the entire XBRL configuration had already been established in AccountStudio. If you start using AccountStudio, I can promise that your submission of annual reports will also take significantly less time than before.