XBRL: the power of algorithmic contracts, ESEF tools & sample report

ESEF is still the topic du jour, but something educational first …

1 The power of algorithmic financial contracts

The ACTUS Financial Research Foundation has published an open source algorithmic standard for financial contracts. The ACTUS contracts are the key generic building blocks of finance because they define the cashflow-patterns of all major banking instruments, which are the starting point for all analytics about the contracts. This perspective makes it possible to go beyond conventional point-in-time valuations by projecting future cashflows in a flexible and highly consistent way to enable a whole range of important analyses.

The focus of this column is structured data with its use cases in finance. One important such use case is unified financial analysis, an application of which is discussed by Willi Brammertz, lead author of the  eponymous book. 

2 ESEF tools widely available

XBRL International has conducted a survey of XBRL Certified Software™ vendors that offer report creation solutions for ESEF. ESEF is the European Single Electronic Format, a new requirement for public companies in the EEA and UK. In the UK ESEF is part of the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules sourcebook. All public issuers that report in accordance with IFRS in their consolidated annual accounts must report in Inline XBRL for reporting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2020. In practical terms this means that some 5500 companies will need to produce Inline XBRL formatted reports no later than April 2021.

With ESEF entering the realm of practice, good tools are essential as practitioners evaluate and implement their reporting channels. The XBRL Certified Software status is certainly a helpful criterion in that respect. 

3 ESEF sample report – “one small step for Europe”

Leading by example, this week the Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF) published its annual report in Inline XBRL format. But GLEIF went further than that. The report has also been published on the ESMA website as an example ESEF report. The report conforms to the requirements set out in the ESEF Regulation and the guidance in the ESEF Reporting Manual.

Leading by example is always the best way to demonstrate leadership, not just in technology. This sample report is interesting in that it integrates the standardised Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) as well as the issuing entity’s digital signature. 



Christian Dreyer CFA is well known in Swiss Fintech circles as an expert in XBRL and financial reporting for investors.

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