Collaboration, Iteration: Keys to the Shift From Paper to Data

Posted on October 4, 2019 by Editor

At a conference organised by the European Commission (EC) and Deloitte this week, experts discussed the next steps for digital reporting for EU companies.

Europe does not currently have an equivalent to Japan’s EDINET or the US’s EDGAR system – a central repository of public company disclosures. That makes discovering and comparing corporate performance across the EU’s member states significantly harder, and slower than it should be. A consortium of companies have worked for the EC to experiment with a blockchain based index for filing – the European Financial Transparency Gateway or “EFTG”. The EFTG pilot seems to be a promising way to use new technology to permit co-operation between independent regulators to provide a “virtual” data discovery and distribution system.

With the new ESEF mandate about to kick in, and with resultant Inline XBRL data starting to flow from the beginning of 2021, Europe needs to work out how best to push the EFTG into production, or create an alternative. At Wednesday’s conference this issue was discussed, together with questions about governance, access and (naturally) funding.

XBRL International CEO John Turner gave a speech describing the ongoing importance of fundamental data and the need to support financial transparency with strong, public discovery mechanisms. His speech described the way that ESEF can be harnessed to improve trust and simplify investment and lending over time as part of the EU’s Capital Markets Union. (Mind you — the same holds true right around the world).

In the subsequent panel, a high profile set of speakers debated what the future of reporting should look like, with the need for digital corporate reports covering not just traditional financial disclosures but also a range of ESG measures a key focus. The panel also agreed that these kinds of reforms need continuous attention from policy makers (not just set and forget) and an iterative process of improvement and change management. Find out more about the EFTG at the pilot eftg.eu web site here. John’s slides are here.

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