ESEF (European Single Electronic Format) is a new electronic reporting format for listed companies on regulated markets, aiming to harmonise issuers’ reporting obligations. Use of the format will be mandatory for annual reports for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2021.
Amendments to the Securities Trading Act concerning periodic reporting for issuers on regulated markets were approved by the King in Council on 30 April 2021 (Legislative enactment (2020-2021) Act No. 26). The Act entered into force on 1 July 2021. Among other things, the Act amends Section 5-5 subsection (8) first sentence of the Securities Trading Act, stating that the ministry may by regulations adopt rules on the format of annual reports.
The Ministry of Finance has delegated competence to implement Commission Delegated Regulations (level 2 regulations) included in, or expected to be included in Annex IX to the EEA Agreement, cf. delegation decision to Finanstilsynet of 31 October 2019. Upon entry into force, Finanstilsynet will establish regulations on the electronic reporting format. The regulations apply to annual reports containing financial statements for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2021.
The regulations will apply to issuers on regulated markets with Norway as their home state who are required to prepare annual reports pursuant to Chapter 5 of the Securities Trading Act. This mainly includes issuers listed on Oslo Børs and Euronext Expand.
The new electronic reporting format requires the entire annual report to be prepared in XHTML format (‘Extensible Hypertext Markup Language’). This requirement applies to all the above-mentioned issuers regardless of accounting language.
Consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) must also be marked up in accordance with the applicable ESEF taxonomy. For consolidated financial statements for the 2021 financial year, the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement and statement of changes in equity must be marked up. For consolidated financial statements as from the 2022 financial year, the notes must also be marked up.
The taxonomy is published by ESMA and is updated annually. One of its objectives is to reflect new and changes in IFRS standards or improvements in the general content or technology of the IFRS taxonomy. Finanstilsynet expects issuers to use the most updated version of the taxonomy.
The purpose of ESEF is to harmonise issuers’ reporting obligations and to facilitate accessibility, analysis and comparability of annual financial statements.
For more information, see the topic page about ESEF on ESMA’s website. ESEF was also on the agenda at Finanstilsynet's seminar for listed companies in 2018.
- Topic page: The European Single Electronic Format
- Finanstilsynet's seminar for listed companies (information about ESEF is in English)
The company's auditor shall verify that the financial statements are marked up in accordance with ESEF as part of its audit. Reference is made to the Q&A from the European Commission, as well as guidelines published by the CEAOB.
- Q&A on the RTS on European Single Electronic Format (ESEF)
- CEAOB guidelines on the auditors' involvement on financial statements in European Single Electronic Format
The annual reports shall still be stored in the officially appointed mechanism (OAM) at Oslo Børs.