Financial Reporting: Commission adopts explanatory note on the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)

The European Commission has today adopted an explanatory note on how the new European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) will work for listed companies in the European Union. From 2021 onwards, all listed companies in the EU will be able to use the ESEF – a new, single electronic document – when publishing their annual financial reports. The aim of ESEF is to make it easier for listed companies to meet transparency requirements and ultimately to enhance transparency on EU capital markets. More transparency will ensure that investors get better information and are able to make more informed decisions about their investments. This, in turn, leads to more money flowing into EU capital markets, helping companies recover, grow and create new jobs. Following requests from stakeholders, today’s note clarifies how to apply certain provisions of EU law in the context of the ESEF, including the audit of ESEF-compliant annual financial statements, the use of an electronic signature, as well as issuers’ responsibilities and liabilities. The text of today’s note, as well as a Q&A on the ESEF are available online.