4. July 2017

ESMA launches field test of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)

On 28 June 2017, ESMA called for participation in a field test of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF).The field tests will consist of transforming annual financial reports by issuers to Inline XBRL instance documents, according to ESMA’s draft ESEF specifications.
ESMA is seeking participation from:
  • issuers on European regulated markets from all industries preparing IFRS consolidated financial statements; and
  • software vendors.
Applications are welcome by 14 July 2017. Several workshops will be held from the end of July until the end of August 2017. ESMA will provide interested issuers with a list of possible dates. At least one representative of the participating issuer will be expected to attend the introductory webinar, the 2-days workshop in ESMA’s premises and the feedback webinar.
From the ASCG’s point of view, this is a very compact way of addressing the challenges of implementing an ESEF from a company perspective. We therefore support the call and would welcome to have a large number of German companies being involved in the field test to ensure an appropriate representation of our constituency.
ESMA will then evaluate the field test as well as develop the further technical details, in order to finally submit the proposal for a technical regulatory standard for ESEF to the European Commission by the beginning of 2018.
According to the amendments to the Transparency Directive 2004/109/EC brought about by Directive 2013/50/EU, all annual financial reports shall be prepared in a single electronic reporting format beginning 1 January 2020. The same document charges ESMA to develop draft regulatory technical standards to specify the electronic reporting format, with due reference to current and future technological options, and submit those draft regulatory technical standards to the European Commission.
Before the adoption of the draft regulatory technical standards, ESMA shall carry out an adequate assessment of possible electronic reporting formats and conduct appropriate field tests.
ESMA had previously published consultation paper 2015/ESMA/1463 in September 2015. The ASCG commented on this (we reported). In December 2016, ESMA issued a Feedback Statement summarising the feedback and findings from the consultation