European single electronic format

The European Single Electronic Format is the electronic reporting format in which issuers on EU regulated markets shall prepare their annual financial reports from 1 January 2020.

In 2013 the Transparency Directive (TD), which sets rules on harmonisation of transparency requirements of issuers, was amended to include a requirement for issuers to prepare their annual financial reports in a single electronic reporting format.

ESMA’s policy objectives for ESEF

The electronic reporting should:
be easier

for issuers compared to the current practices

facilitate accessibility

to investors

improve analysis

for investors and competent authorities

facilitate comparability

of annual financial reports

take into account the specific characteristics

for banks, financial intermediaries and insurance companies

The Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on ESEF


All annual financial reports shall be prepared in XHMTL format which can be opened with standard web browsers.


Where the annual financial report contains IFRS consolidated financial statements, these shall be labelled with XBRL ‘tags’ which makes the labelled disclosures structured and machine-readable.


The XBRL ‘tags’ shall be embedded in the XHTML document using the Inline XBRL technology which allows to encapsulate the XBRL tags in the XHTML document within a single document set.


The IFRS consolidated primary financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, etc.) shall be marked up in detail, whereas the notes to these financial statements need to be marked up by applying mark-ups for whole sections of the notes (block tagging).


The taxonomy to be used is the ESEF Taxonomy (IFRS taxonomy plus some additions).



EXtensible Business Reporting Language. Specification set by XBRL International. XBRL is computer readable.


EXtensible HyperText Markup Language. XHTML is humane readable.

iXBRL (Inline XBRL)

Human readable and computer readable (XHTML+XBRL tags).


Pre-defined list of electronic tags, labels, descriptions, and definitions.

Zebra’s approach

For the last 10 years Zebra has regularly conducted extensive research in the field of digital reporting to better understand market requirements and to advance its technologies.

At the start of 2019, Zebra was first to introduceв a proprietary technology that provides synchronised publication of reports in three formats: PDF, online and ESEF (iXBRL).

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