Header image by Mikael Bomkvist
Every year organizations, accountants and regulators keep up to date with local and international rules and laws regarding accounting and finance. In recent years, digitalization is rapidly growing, including electronic formats and reports. Therefore more European countries start to apply the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). While the world of financial services moves towards international standards and formats instead of localized ones, each country does this at its own pace. What can we expect from ESEF, and why is it convenient to use this electronic reporting format to prepare annual financial reports?
ESEF is assigned by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), an independent EU Authority. ESMA has one mission in mind: enhancing investor protection and promoting stable and orderly financial markets. Therefore, this EU Authority safeguards the stability of the EU’s financial system. This safeguarding includes the protection of investors while promoting stable and orderly financial markets. They mainly assess risks to investors and markets, contribute to a rulebook for EU financial markets, and promote supervisory convergence and directly supervising specific financial entities.
ESMA wishes to make reporting easier for issuers and facilitate accessibility, analysis and comparability of annual financial reports. The digitalization of annual financial statements in the EU is nothing new; in 2013, the Transparency Directive amended a requirement for electronic reporting formats. Only recently, ESEF became mandatory, with the following criteria:
- Issuers must prepare annual financial reports in XHMTL;
- Annual financial reports that contain IFRS consolidated financial statements must be labeled with XBRL ‘tags’;
- The XBRL ‘tags’ must be embedded in the XHTML documents with Inline XBRL technology;
- The taxonomy must provide the hierarchical structure used to classify financial information. This classification is essential for structured electronic reporting using XBRL as an extension of the IFRS taxonomy
- Mark-up disclosures using the taxonomy element must have the closest accounting meaning to the marked up disclosure;
- Primary financial statements must be marked up in detail, with the application of mark-ups for the whole sections of the Notes, otherwise called block tagging.
ESEF is more than just the digitalization of financial reports. To ensure your company publishes the annual financial statements correctly, constant attention to detail is in order. While ESEF is mandatory in the EU, the XBRL-format is still in the application process. Even with one format and one accounting standard, per country rules and annual reporting laws may differ. We at Global Connect Admin BV make sure we stay up-to-date with local changes, so if you have any questions, or wish assistance regarding ESEF, fiscal reporting and cross-border transactions, feel free to contact us anytime. We would love to help out.