Katya Paris, the newly-appointed Commercial Specialist at leading local tech company Eunoia is, at the end of this month launching its new product – a compliance tool aiming to simplify the demands introduced by the coming-into-effect of European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) requirements for listed companies in European Union regulated markets.

She sits down with WhosWho.mt to discuss the product, the new regulations it aims to assist with, and how it can do so.

First, she introduces herself: “My background is in International Sales and Marketing, and during my career, I have gained experience working in setting up and overseeing international sales drives, objectives and initiatives targeting B2C and B2B customers.”

Her new role involves developing global marketing strategies, identifying business opportunities, planning, and executing trade events.

The launch of the CFOUR Comply product is a key focal point of her next three months in the position, along with building brand awareness and international collaborations while promoting Eunoia’s fintech solutions, including CFOUR financial consolidation tool, on the local market.

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Discussing the new product, Ms Paris described it as a “cloud-based solution intended for issuers on EU, EEA and UK regulated markets to help them comply with ESEF requirements.”

This is contextualised against the backdrop of the European Securities and Markets Authorities (ESMA)’s issuing of the ESEF standard “which requires all issuers on EU regulated markets to prepare and file annual consolidated financial reports in Inline XBRL (iXBRL) format.

“This is a report in XHTML format with special XBRL tags embedded into it to make it machine readable,” explained Ms Paris.

The requirement aims to “simplify reporting for issuers and make it easier to analyse, compare, and access annual financial reports.”

The rules were supposed to come into effect at the start of 2020, but due to the difficulties brought about by COVID, on both issuers and auditors, the ESEF requirements were postponed in most countries in Europe, including Malta, by one year till 2021.

This means that all annual financial reports beginning on or after 1st January 2021 must be submitted in XBRL format to comply with the ESEF mandate.

By its very nature, the new rule places increased pressure on reporting businesses' resources, in order to be compliant with the demands.

The regulation brings about a number of specific challenges, including those related to the education and training of staff as financial statements in XBRL format requires specific competencies.

Additionally, issuers might have difficulty understanding the extent of the requirements and have trouble identifying appropriate and reputable suppliers.

This is where CFOUR Comply comes in.

“CFOUR Comply provides a collaborative environment where issuers can upload their annual financial reports in PDF format and convert these to XHTML and use the interface to tag these reports with XBRL tags based on the taxonomy of their choice,” explains Ms Paris.

“The tagged report is validated through the CFOUR Comply interface and an XBRL package is generated to be filed to the regulatory body as well as an iXBRL report that can be placed on the company’s website.”

To do so, it offers three different packages:

  • XHTML only: For companies that need to be ESEF compliant but without having IFRS consolidated statements to tag, can use this solution to convert annual reports without getting into the tagging process.
  • Self-managed: With this solution, listed companies will have full access to a Comply subscription and manage the tagging process while benefitting from all the key features Comply offers.
  • Fully outsourced: Eunoia also offers outsourcing services where its clients can leverage its expertise in XBRL to tag an annual report and provide a complete ESEF compliant submission.

Explaining how it works, Ms Paris says: “CFOUR Comply is a cloud solution intended for issuers to help them comply with ESEF requirements by providing a collaborative environment where annual financial reports in PDF format are converted XHTML and can be tagged with XBRL. The tagged report is validated through the CFOUR Comply interface and an XBRL package is generated and ready to be filed to the regulatory body.

“CFOUR Comply is easy to set up and use and has minimal impact on the workflow and it comes with a lot of features that help issuers comply with ESEF requirements to generate valid XBRL filings."

The product has a number of useful features, Ms Paris explains:

  • Accurate conversion of annual reports in PDF format to XHTML preserving all the graphics and fonts being used and ensuring consistency in conversion.
  • An interface to tag the annual reports with XBRL tags from the ESEF taxonomy.
  • Ability to use a custom taxonomy for tagging.
  • Support for extending the taxonomy to cater for entity specific disclosures.
  • Uploading a new version of the annual report in PDF format whilst keeping previous tags.
  • Version control for all changes done to a submission and ability to revert to an older version.
  • Validation of the report tagged with XBRL to ensure ESEF compliance based on the taxonomy ruleset.
  • Add permissions for auditors to review the tags and add comments to request changes.
  • Creation on the inline XBRL report.
  • Generation of the XBRL reporting package.
  • Option to integrate with CFOUR.
  • SSO (single sign-on) with Office 365 and G-Suite.

The product will be officially launched on 29th October, with an event attended by the target audience of CFOs and compliance specialists of local listed companies, financial experts, and representatives of the corresponding authorities.

"During the event we will not only present our solution but the main focus will be on the ESEF mandate requirements, the challenges it brings and how companies should address them," says Ms Paris.

For this purpose, Eunoia will be having a panel discussion with representatives of the local competent authorities and financial experts related to this subject.

Interested readers can learn more about the product and its launch here.

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