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XBRL is gradually being adopted as the reporting and data standard for microfinance with MIX leading the way. By achieving one standard format for reporting data, MFIs can save a great deal of time. Currently multiple staff are required to summarize and generate the regular reports required by external bodies. If Mifos can support the generation of the required XBRL format reports, MFIs can streamline this process by creating one report which gets sent to the MIX which automatically sends unique reports back to funders, regulators, associations, etc.
Background and Business Need
MIX Commitment to XBRL
MFIs rely on back-office systems not only for internal reports, but to produce reports for investors, associations, regulators and other external stakeholders. Recent research by MIX suggests that, despite reliance on sophisticated MIS systems, preparation of these reports still requires significant time and manual effort. As an important first step in addressing this problem, MIX has adopted XBRL as a standard for modeling and transfer of microfinance data, and created a comprehensive XBRL taxonomy that captures financial and social data and combines international financial reporting standards and microfinance industry standards. We also work with the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) on disseminating XBRL content to other users, including impact investors, and thus we will have parallel development related to standards for XBRL data transfer. Collectively, these improvements can dramatically reduce the reporting burden for MFIs while increasing the quality and timeliness of data received by external stakeholders but only if software systems used in the microfinance industry support XML reports that comply with the MIX taxonomy. Our goal is to find ways to encourage software companies to support XML reports and, in particular, reports that comply with the MIX XBRL standard.
Proposed Pilot XBRL Program
We propose to conduct a pilot program with a select number of microfinance software vendors to adapt their software packages to produce a well-formed XBRL document that can be read directly into our database for publication on the MIX Market site. We anticipate this functionality will present different challenges for different vendors. Our goal is to learn about these challenges to better understand how to support vendors in this effort. We seek to work with software providers who are prepared to join with others in sharing their experience integrating XBRL reporting into their offering. We understand and respect the need to protect proprietary information, but we also believe that there is much to be gained by soliciting direct feedback from vendors moving down this path.
The industry is still in the early stages of XBRL adoption but many of the larger MFIs will be begin needing to generate reports in this format to report to the MIX, national associations, donors, regulatory agencies, and more.
- Generate necessary XML reports in Pentaho that can be mapped to proper XBRL taxonomy (see information captured by MIX)
- Create external client needed to map data to this taxonomy.
More details on project requirements to come. External client should do the following:
- Displays a list of concepts from the MIX taxonomy (there are about 30 of them, things like “total assets” or “loans overdue 30 days”).
- Allows end users to select items from their chart of accounts to map to the taxonomy concepts. (This step probably won’t be necessary if there is no integrated accounting with a chart of accounts).
- Allows end users to specific certain context details for a given report (the period covered by the report, the “as of” date for things like overdue loans etc.
- Exports the resulting report as an XBRL instance document that can be successfully parsed by the MIX system. (we’ll supply a reference implementation of the XML syntax. The MIX parser is from Rivet, details to be provided).
Previous Work on XBRL:
Discussion on XBRL on Mailing List regarding Mix Pilot Program for XBRL
Please link to any wiki pages, issues, mailing list discussions, similar projects, or external websites, articles that provide more background on the project or implementation of this feature.