ESEF: first assessment of adoption

As The ESEF format is about to blow out its first birthday candle, it is now possible to draw up an initial assessment of adoption in France. According to the French Markets Authority (FMA), French companies have done a good effort overall, in terms of compliance with this new format which was implemented on January 1, 2022. But improvements have nevertheless been noticed.

“On September 30, 2022, 98% of eligible issuers have successfully published their annual financial report in ESEF format,” claims the FMA. It also specifies that no delay was observed (in comparison with other years), thus demonstrating that the companies had anticipated the arrival of the new format. Only 15% of them made a corrective deposit to remedy errors. Among these, the FMA has identified 3 main categories.

For some companies, they had provided a PDF format instead of an XHTML. Traditional tools and old habits probably have their share of responsibility in this case. For others, tagging was more complicated to implement. The AMF noticed primary statements that had not been marked out for published consolidated accounts. Finally, the last most common error was in the .zip file. A few contained an XHTML file with an executable code, and sometimes, with non-compliant files. In addition, a few document typology errors were noticed: the FMA took the opportunity to share a reminder.

The French authority also shares recommendations regarding tagging. It invites companies to better capitalize on the advantages of XHTML, particularly by using tags to define titles or sections of the document, as well as in tables and their contents. Since the ESEF format was designed to facilitate the reading of financial reports, it would be a shame not to take benefit from it. The exercise should be taken a little more seriously for the 2022 reports, all the notes and annexes of which must be marked out.

For the United Kingdom, the FRC (Financial Reporting Council) has shared a guide for the UKSEF taxonomy, in order to provide assistance 2022 financial reports.