Public Company Filing in Europe
The Eurofiling/XBRL Europe meeting in Warsaw last week provided updates from ESMA, the European Securities Markets Authority about ESEF. What is ESEF? The European Single Electronic Format – aka – Inline XBRL. The shift towards digital reporting for public companies across Europe is underway. ESEF kicks in for Annual Financial Reports prepared under IFRS for periods starting on or after 1 January 2020. In practice that means that filings will be provided from April 2021. Expect to see national securities regulators provide options for voluntary filings prior to that time. In Europe these filings occur at a national level, with public companies obliged to make their disclosures to OAMs (the clumsily named “Officially Appointed Mechanisms”). These are often national stock exchanges, frequently the securities regulator itself, and in some cases a trusted third party. While the majority of the framework is now understood, there remain a number of areas of uncertainty while the final regulations (the “RTS”) make their way through the European Commission and Parliament. ESMA told the meeting last week that the recent US filings in XBRL of dual listed firms (so-called “Foreign Private Issuers”) would be examined, in part with a view to minimising or avoiding the need for rework for these corporates.
It is important to note that the ESEF framework is planned in such a way as to minimise the level of work for companies, initially obliging the face financials to be marked up, followed, from 2022, with “block tagging” of notes to the accounts. More finely grained tagging of notes will, at least initially, be voluntary. We will post a link to the slides as soon as the are available.