Well over 3,000 ESEF filings at filings.xbrl.org! Where are they coming from, and how can we improve access?
Have you visited filings.xbrl.org recently – and are you finding it a useful resource? As filing season continues, we are still adding significant numbers of European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) reports to the site each week. As we go to press it contains over 3,400 filings in the digital, Inline XBRL-based ESEF format, now in use for financial reporting across Europe. Currently, there is no official, central repository for ESEF filings, which are collected and published in each country by national bodies (Officially Appointed Mechanisms, or OAMs). As an interim measure, filings.xbrl.org offers a one-stop shop to help make ESEF filings as easy as possible to access, explore and analyse. They can be browsed online using an XBRL viewer, downloaded in their original format, or grabbed as xBRL-JSON data.
filings.xbrl.org cannot provide a completely comprehensive listing of all ESEF reports, but we aim to include as many as we possibly can. So far this year, we have added over 2,500 filings – joining a smaller number collected during the 2021 reporting season from voluntary ESEF filers or from the four countries that did not opt to delay the mandate due to Covid-19. One feature you may not have noticed at first glance is the About page. Alongside a whole lot of other useful information, this includes a list of Sources for each country, which tells you exactly where we are getting all these filings.
Only a handful of countries have an API for their filing index, allowing us (or anyone else) to reliably and efficiently automate the retrieval of new filings. The vast majority of countries have required us to use either less-reliable web scraping techniques or manual efforts, and some OAMs even have measures in place to actively hamper the automated discovery and download of filings. It is also worth noting that a small number of OAMs do not appear to provide any index of filings, making it almost impossible to search for or download these, even manually.
Digital reporting means a paradigm shift in thinking as well as in processes, and this shift is still underway. It is important to understand that automated data retrieval is not an optional extra – or even a threat – but an essential aspect of ensuring that digital data is used and useful. We encourage OAMs to consider how they can facilitate access to ESEF data, in particular through the provision of an API.
We expect to see many more ESEF filings rolling in over the coming weeks and months – so keep checking filings.xbrl.org! We hope you are finding it a useful resource, and we would love to know what you have been doing with it.