Assurance Report Page - Guidance


Click on Assurance Report Page to see an annotated sample of this page, including a full numeric and date assurance report with some sample accounting rule warnings.


The Assurance Report shows whether an iXBRL accounts file would have failed or passed submission to HMRC or the Irish Revenue as part of a Corporation Tax (CT) return, and to Companies House's Statutory Accounts filing service. In addition, further assurance tests are applied to gauge the quality of the accounts. It identifies the entity and various details of the test filing concerned, including the number of the attempt. Click on the attempt number to see the iXBRL accounts submitted.


An Assurance Report comprises up to eight distinct sections:

  • Live Companies House data (optional) - If the accounts refer to a registered UK company with a valid Company Registration Number (CRN) then a panel is displayed showing live information about the company returned at the time the accounts were uploaded to SureFile, for comparison with content extracted from the accounts themselves.
  • SureFile tagging quality rating - This is a score (out of five) that indicates the quality of tagging. It is based on a number of factors, including the tagging coverage, the number of tagged items, the number of accounting rules applied and the number of accounting rule failures. It is intended for guidance only.
  • Filing Validation (UK and Ireland) - This indicates whether the document itself will pass or fail submission to HMRC or the Irish Revenue as part of a CT Return. If a pass is indicated, then the colour of the pass "badge" will indicate the level of residual issues (amber for warnings, blue for advisory messages or green for no issues).
  • HMRC Test-in-Live (UK only) - You can select the Test-in-Live option whenever a document is valid for filing to HMRC (it may still contain issues which will prevent filing to Companies House or features which do not follow best practice). See the Test-in-Live page for more information on this option.
  • Companies House Filing Validation (UK only) - This indicates whether the document itself will, in addition, pass or fail submission to Companies House, assuming that HMRC Filing Validation also shows a "pass" - accounts that fail HMRC Filing Validation will not be acceptable to Companies Hosue either. If a pass is indicated, then the colour of the pass "badge" will indicate the level of residual issues (amber for warnings, blue for advisory messages or green for no issues).
  • Numeric and Date Assurance (UK and Ireland) - This provides a comprehensive analysis of all the tagged numeric and date items in the document, with any exceptions (warnings or errors) suitably highlighted. If a pass is indicated, then the colour of the pass "badge" will indicate the level of residual issues (amber for warnings or green for no issues). This section is present in the report only if no 'fatal' filing validation errors were detected in the document. There are seven tables:
    • A summary table containing standard monetary, numeric and percentage settings for the Accounts, and information about the currency, period(s) covered and duration.
    • A monetary exceptions table that lists all monetary items that don't have standard scale or decimal settings for the Accounts, or a decimals setting that would result in a loss of precision.
    • A currency exceptions table that lists any monetary items expressed in a currency other than the main currency for the Accounts.
    • A numeric exceptions table that lists any non-monetary items that don't have standard scale or decimal settings for the Accounts, or a decimals setting that would result in a loss of precision.
    • A percentage exceptions table that lists any percentage items that don't have standard scale or decimal settings for the Accounts, or a decimals setting that would result in a loss of precision. It also identifies any items where the scaled value is not a decimal fraction.
    • A negated items table that lists all negated items in the Accounts and highlights those which are not normally expected to be reported as negative.
    • A date usage and inconsistencies table that lists all the dates used in the Accounts along with any inconsistencies or errors detected.
  • Accounting Rules (UK and Ireland) - The accounting rules include "existence" checks to ensure consistency between different accounting entries, whether text or numeric, and "aggregation" checks to highlight calculation inconsistencies within sections of the accounts, which may indicate tagging or accounting errors. The aggregation tests include checks on 'dimension tagging' which can be difficult to review manually. The rules cover GAAP and IFRS accounts for both the UK and Ireland, and FRC EU-adopted IFRS, FRS101 and FRS102 accounts for both UK and Ireland.
  • Annotations - An optional section comprising free-text annotations added by the submitter. These are "stamped" with the date & time, subscriber id and attempt number. There is no limit to the number or size of annotations, and existing annotations are inherited by subsequent attempts for the same entity/period combination. Annotations are added using the 'Add Annotation' button at the bottom of the page which reveals a scrollable/resizeable text entry field. Once an annotation is saved to the Report it cannot be edited or deleted.

Within each section consistent colour-coding is used to indicate errors, warnings, advice or, conversely, no issues:


ERROR messages


For the filing validation sections of the report, an error, as far as SureFile Accounts is concerned, is an issue that will prevent the accounts being accepted by HMRC's or the Irish Revenue's CT online service as part of a CT Return or by Companies House's Statutory Accounts filing service.


Error messages show the SureFile explanation of the error, with guidance on where a problem may have originated and how it can be fixed. Where possible, a 'location' button with the message points to the specific position in the accounts file where the error has occurred. (This is not possible with some technical problems in the underlying file, which are not related to a specific location in the human-readable accounts file.)


The 'technical detail' section under each error message provides further technical explanation, including, in some cases, the specific tags concerned. Click on the 'View technical detail' check box to see this information. (Technical detail is available for errors which are more technically complex to identify and report. It is not available for all errors.)


SureFile Accounts service distinguishes between Ordinary and Fatal errors. Both will prevent filing to HMRC, the Irish Revenue and Companies House. Fatal errors are particularly fundamental ones which may prevent full validation of the document. Correcting them may allow the document to validate. However, the document may still fail because of other errors which were previously not detected because of the fatal ones. Clearly, resolving those other errors will then allow validation. The error message will make clear if a fatal error has occurred.


When we detect multiple but different fatal errors at the same location in the accounts, we suppress the second and subsequent messages since all the messages are very likely to be caused by the same underlying factor.


When we detect three or more identical errors at a sequence of consecutive locations in the accounts, we suppress the second and subsequent messages to avoid distracting repetition. An advisory item warns of the suppressed messages. You can expand this item to see all the messages, which also appear in printouts.


WARNING messages


Most warnings relate to unusual issues which will themselves not prevent submission to HMRC, the Irish Revenue or Companies House, but which may indicate a hidden problem and should be investigated.


ADVICE messages


Advice messages highlight issues which either: (a) represent a deviation from best practice, (b) may increase the chance of the accounts triggering tax risk rules, (c) may cause a problem in future filings and / or (d) are a condition of which the preparer should be aware. A number of warnings relate to deviations from the HMRC or Irish Revenue Inline XBRL Style Guides and/or the Companies House Technical Interface Specification for the Statutory Accounts filing service. Others may, for example, relate to the use of old technical reference links which may become outdated. A few are just for information.


PASS No Issues


Where a section contains no error, warning or advisory messages this happy state of affairs is indicated by a pass "badge".


A Print as PDF button exists to turn the entire contents of the Assurance Report into a downloadable PDF file suitable for saving locally or printing.