June 30, 2020 Annual Reports

Your digital annual report and ESEF

By Helena Wennergren

Most companies in Europe will now need to make sure their 2020 annual report is compliant with ESEF, but what does this mean in practical terms? Should all the effort reserved for next year's annual report be spent on that?

In a webinar held on June 23rd, our annual reports specialist Johan Sixtensson discussed why companies should work on making their annual reports digital first. "How come? Don't we need to focus on getting our report ESEF-proof first?" you might think. Not quite – we've done our research on this!

Whenever we help companies with their annual reports, we want to make sure that they can both get their message across to important stakeholders and that they are compliant. This year, we realised that a lot of focus might shift towards the new formal requirements of ESEF instead of the company's message, so we decided to look into this and lend a helping hand.

What the ESMA’s ESEF is all about - and how to solve it

For a quick refresher, the ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) has defined a new directive which will help make reporting easier for issuers and facilitate the accessibility, analysis, and comparability of annual financial reports - this is ESEF (European Single Electronic Format). It will come into effect for companies whose financial year starts after the 1st of January 2020, which means that this new directive will apply to most companies' 2020 annual reports.

We have been looking around for possible solutions to this requirement and our research has led us to the Danish company ParsePort, which has 8 years of experience with converting annual reports into XBRL and now provides an efficient solution to meet the ESMA’s requirements. Their tool easily converts your Excel document or PDF into the iXBRL file that is required. You can actually already start preparing for next year's ESEF reporting by tagging your latest annual report and using that as a template for your upcoming project.

By using this solution, your annual report will meet all the ESEF requirements and you will still have time left over to spend on making your annual report as great as it can possibly be.

See the recording from our webinar to learn more about their solution (in Swedish). And here are the presentations too: 

Why your next annual report should be digital

The annual report is one of the greatest communication tools a company has, but it doesn’t always reach its full potential. A PDF that uses the same design as when it was first created for print simply doesn't do it any more, especially not when so many people mainly use screens and electronic devices to read it.

The annual report should be used to get attention, tell a story, and create that "wow" factor - without the accountants going bananas. With a digital annual report, we believe that you can better meet the needs of your readers (by studying their behaviour through analytics) and reinforce your own message (by being able to use videos, animations, and other media formats that your regular PDF cannot manage).

The process matters too

Going digital first for an annual report means that you can use the same methods used when building a website – asking real people to test your work and comparing different versions for a clearer and more impactful message. You can also follow up post-launch to check what sections were the most read or the pages where readers spend the most time. This helps you to improve your annual report for next year.

If you want to know more and don't speak Swedish - learn more about how we can help you with your corporate report here or get in touch with us directly. 


Are you ready? We are

Regardless if you are ready or not, we are. We help you get ready and drive your communication into the future.

Let's meet

Johan Sixtensson

Client Director


+46 76 109 05 42

James Handslip

Managing Director (UK)


+44 (0)20 8089 1583

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