Concerns about UK companies
introducing XBRL tagging to UK GAAP financial statements for just
one year, before converting to IFRS for SMEs and implementing XBRL
all over again, have been voiced during the Accounting Standards
Board’s (ASB) consultation on the future of UK GAAP.

All UK companies must tag financial statements
using XBRL beginning in 2011 for tax purposes. At the same time,
the ASB has proposed to replace UK GAAP with IFRS for SMEs for
reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2012.

Stakeholders have reacted to the mismatch in
timeframes in different ways.

Deloitte UK said companies should have the
option of adopting IFRS for SMEs now, which would mean they would
avoid implementing XBRL for UK GAAP. Other stakeholders suggested
delaying the adoption of IFRS for SMEs to allow companies to come
to grips with XBRL first.

However, XBRL Standards Board chairman John
Turner told The Accountant that moving from one XBRL taxonomy to
another will not be difficult.

He said comparing a UK GAAP taxonomy with an
IFRS for SMEs taxonomy would be like comparing two dictionaries
that use the same language.

“You can think of it as one is the medical
dictionary, one is the legal dictionary, but they are both in
English,” Turner explained. “It is true that if you shift from UK
GAAP to IFSR for SMEs then the tags, that is the words that you use
for expressing performance, do need to change. That said, there is
a huge commonality between UK GAAP and IFRS.

“It is a straight forward process to provide,
in effect, a mapping table – to say if you were using cash under UK
GAAP, you are going to use cash under IFRS and software will be
able to implement that in a very automated manner.”