Businesses ready themselves for e-reporting

Link: Electronic reporting will hurt SMEs

From 1 April 2005, insurers and mortgage brokers will be required to submit their annual reports electronically to financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency.

All 32,000 companies covered by the FSA will have to file reports electronically by 2007.

These businesses will be given the option to file their reports via the FSA’s secure web site or via its Integrated Regulatory Return (IRR) system, which exchanges data using the extensible business reporting language (XBRL) standard.

‘Electronic reporting will improve efficiency for everyone involved. Firms already hold much of the information in their own systems, making the reports easy to automate,’ said an FSA spokesman.

But some firms have expressed fears over the security of the IRR system, and its ability to cope with a large number of users.

A report by the FSA, outlining feedback they received from the industry noted: ‘Some respondents outlined concerns over poor performance of systems, for instance the inability to submit returns during peak periods.

‘A clear concern raised by many respondents was that of security of the information to be submitted.’

The FSA was working closely with software experts to ensure that its systems would be robust enough to deal effectively with commercially sensitive data.

The FSA expects to publish its authentication and messaging plans shortly.

IT industry group, Intellect, has committed to work with the FSA to promote adoption of the XBRL, ensuring that back office systems will be compliant.

‘There is a critical need to establish a common understanding of the XBRL technical standards amongst the ISV community. Intellect is dedicated to working with the FSA and the SSAP to ensure this happens,’ said Chris Wood, chairman of Intellect’s financial services group, in a statement.

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