Quality Assurance for Inline XBRL Accounts

How to use the SureFile Service

The core of the SureFile Accounts Service is the Subscriber Account Page. This page enables subscribers to upload iXBRL accounts files, see the results of latest and previous validation attempts, track their account status, manage secondary users and extend their subscription.

Subscribers are directed to their Account Page as soon as they log in. Click Subscriber Account Page Sample to see an example of this page.

Results of a validation attempt are shown on a separate Assurance Report Page. This states whether the filing is valid, gives information on any errors which have occurred and also provides warnings and advice on issues that will not cause a rejection of the accounts but which preparers may wish to fix. Error message information centres on the SureFile Accounts explanation of the error, supplemented by the technical message which may give further necessary details. The Assurance Report page gives UK users the option of also testing their (error-free) accounts anonymously via HMRC’s Test-in-Live service. Where the filing is valid (with respect to HMRC's filing requirements) a numeric and date assurance report is also included. This details any monetary, numeric, percentage, negation or date exceptions that we have detected by analysing the accounts.

The main functions of the Subscriber Account Page and Assurance Report Page are listed below. Use of the pages should be self-explanatory. Follow the links for more detailed descriptions.

Subscriber Account Page
  • Upload of files, including selection of industry sector.
  • History of results. This shows results in chronological order, enabling subscribers to view previous validation reports on company accounts they have tested. Results can be filtered for easy searching.
  • Purchase more submissions (either as more attempts or expanded entity coverage).
  • Switch charging option from per attempt to per entity, or vice versa.
  • Change password and email address.
  • Set up secondary users in an organisation. This may be useful for larger organisations with a number of staff involved in preparing accounts or with a large number of accounts to file. Secondary users will have their own login and User Account Page through which they can make filings. This page will have the same features as the main Subscriber Account Page, except that it will not include account management functions.
  • For more information on account managers and secondary users in larger organisations, See the Details...
Assurance Report Page
  • Normally available within a few seconds of uploading a test file.
  • Basic Pass / Fail information for each assurance category.
  • Error, warning and advice messages, giving Surefile’s explanation on how to find and fix the problem. Where possible, this includes a ‘location’ button which highlights the position of the error in the accounts.
  • Selection of the HMRC Test-in-Live option and results from Test-in-Live (UK users only)
  • Monetary, numeric, percentage, negated items and date exception tables for accounts that have passed filing validation.
  • Accounting rules for FRC Full IFRS, FRS101, FRS102, FRS105 and Charities for both UK and Ireland.
  • Print and download options for SureFile and HMRC results.

What SureFile doesn't do

SureFile Accounts provides a range of tests to help check the validity and tagging quality of iXBRL accounts. It has been developed by industry experts who have used their extensive XBRL knowledge and experience to create a reliable and helpful service.

It is important, however, that users recognise that there are practical limits to the testing of tagged accounts by software using business logic, however advanced the latter may be. Many tagging decisions rely ultimately on human assessment and judgement. Software testing cannot fully substitute for careful human review. Software testing, such as that provided by SureFile, may complement and support human review – but it is the responsibility of individuals preparing accounts or carrying out tagging to ensure the quality of their work.

SureFile assurance testing identifies some possible errors in tagged accounts – it is then up to human taggers to review the issues and take action to correct them. A number of the issues identified in the SureFile assurance report may represent real mistakes – others, however, will be no more than apparent anomalies which arise from the complexity of accounts and tagging.

SureFile testing also does not claim to identify all tagging or accounting errors which may exist in accounts. Some issues in accounts and tagging can only be identified by human checking. The SureFile tests are only likely to identify certain types of particular error. In exceptional circumstances, given the variation and complexity of accounts, even errors which we expect to identify may slip through undetected.

We accept no liability whatsoever if SureFile fails to identify any errors in the quality of tagging of iXBRL accounts.

We also do not accept any liability if SureFile indicates a possibility of an error where none exists. The point of the service is to provide information for further human investigation – not to provide absolute certainties on errors.

SureFile does not handle full corporation tax filings, including computations. It only covers accounts.

Because SureFile Accounts uses the same basic validation software, provided by Corefiling Ltd, which is employed by HMRC and Companies House, Surefile validation tests should always match those done by the government XBRL filing gateways.

However, SureFile Accounts and its owning company, Xmetric Ltd, cannot absolutely guarantee that validation results will always be the same and we accept no liability if there is any difference in validation results from SureFile and the government gateways.

To give users greater assurance, we offer subscribers the free-of-charge option of also running accounts anonymously via HMRC’s own Test-in-Live system. This will provide a confirmation message from HMRC’s own gateway that an accounts submission is valid.

Again, however, neither we nor HMRC can guarantee that validation results from testing will match those on a final filing and we accept no liability if any difference arises.

These disclaimers of liability are not intended as a generalised get-out clause required by a sub-standard service. On the contrary, SureFile Accounts uses top quality software from the government’s chief XBRL software provider and is run by key experts who have led the introduction of XBRL in the UK. However, there is always at least a remote chance of the unexpected happening. The following are the main reasons why validation from SureFile and / or the Test-in-Live service may differ from validation results when a CT submission is made via the government gateway:

  • If accounts are passed as valid in testing but minor alterations are later made to the accounts file before submission, these might in some circumstances cause validation problems.
  • HMRC or Companies House may make minor upgrades or fixes to their gateways or validation rules. We expect to follow and match those very quickly. However, it is possible that accounts may be tested by SureFile against one rule set and filed to HMRC some time later after a gateway upgrade.
  • Software or rule glitches may in very unusual circumstances cause inconsistencies in validation results. For an example, a recent HMRC gateway validation error led to submissions which should have been valid on the gateway being rejected. This has now been corrected by HMRC. In these circumstances, Surefile Accounts cannot guarantee that no discrepancies will occur. However, they should only arise in unusual circumstances.

This ‘ordinary language’ description explains the reasons behind the legal wording of our Terms & Conditions section.

Please note that SureFile Accounts does NOT provide validation service subscribers with advice on tagging or on fixing problems with iXBRL accounts, beyond the guidance provided in its validation reports (Its parent organisation, Xmetric Ltd, may provide XBRL consultancy to large subscribers under separate contracts, but this is not part of the basic validation service.)

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