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ESMA updates the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) Reporting Manual

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial markets regulator and supervisor, has published its annual update of the Reporting Manual on the European Single Electronic Format.

The purpose of the ESEF Reporting Manual is to promote a harmonised and consistent approach for the preparation of annual financial reports in the format specified in the Regulatory Technical Standard (RTS) on ESEF. It provides guidance on common issues that may be encountered when creating ESEF documents and explains how to address/resolve them.

The updated ESEF Reporting Manual provides technical improvements, such as:

  • clarifying the formats of images embedded in the xHTML document,
  • updating Data Type Registry references,
  • clarifying ESMA’s position on the application of Calculations 1.1 specification in the context of ESEF, and
  • fixing previously identified errors.

ESMA provides additional clarifications on how the elements included in the 2023 IFRS Taxonomy update can be used on a voluntary basis by using the extension mechanism.  This follows ESMA’s decision to postpone to 2024 the amendment of the ESEF RTS in order to formally incorporate the 2023 IFRS Taxonomy update.

In addition, following the first year of implementation of the block-tagging requirements, the updated Manual provides further guidance on ESMA’s expectation on the implementation of the block-tagging requirements and on the expected level of readability of the information extracted from a block tag.

Issuers are expected to follow the guidance provided in the updated ESEF Reporting Manual when preparing their 2023 annual financial reports. Software firms are also expected to follow the updated ESEF Reporting Manual guidance when developing software used for the preparation of annual financial reports in Inline XBRL.

IAASA monitors the level of compliance by issuers with elements of the ESEF requirements as part of its accounting enforcement activities.

The updated ESEF Reporting Manual is available here.