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Preparing financial reports in ESEF

From 1 January 2020, issuers of securities must file and publish their annual reports digitally. This must be done in accordance with the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF).

ESEF: a brief explanation provided by the ESMA

ESEF Reporting Manual

With the ESEF Reporting Manual, the ESMA offers guidance on how to generate Inline XBRL instance documents, in accordance with the ESEF Delegated Regulation. It is important that issuers and their advisers familiarise themselves with its contents before preparing ESEF reports.

The European Commission answers frequently asked questions about ESEF in this document.

Preparing reports in accordance with ESEF requirements and taxonomy

You must mark up your primary financial statements with XBRL tags in a process known as tagging and using the ESEF taxonomy (https://www.esma.europa.eu/esef-taxonomy-2019). The taxonomy contains detailed definitions of the tags. You should select the tag in the taxonomy that best describes what the number in the statement represents.

The ESEF taxonomy is based on the IFRS taxonomy issued by the IFRS Foundation and includes several extension elements added by the ESMA. This taxonomy has been integrated into the RTS and is updated annually. Issuers may also add their own extension elements to the taxonomy if they will enhance the user's understanding of the document. However, in accordance with a number of set rules, any such extension elements must be anchored in the ESEF taxonomy.

You should use block tags to tag notes to the financial statements. This means entire paragraphs will be tagged and the figures and tables included in the paragraphs will not be tagged separately.

Test software using conformance suites

The ESMA has published its conformance suites to assist with the implementation of reporting in accordance with the ESEF format. The test suites provide software suppliers with excellent tools for establishing whether their software meets the technical requirements set out in the Regulatory Technical Standards on ESEF or RTS.

ESMA answers FAQs

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