While the world watches Britain’s cliffhanger Brexit drama unfold, you were possibly holed up in your office; buried in numbers, fighting hard to meet your Annual Financial Report (AFR) filing deadlines. After weeks of painstaking effort, it’s done at last. You can stretch those limbs and finally catch some sun. With summer making an appearance, you can finally enjoy a well-deserved breather in terms of iXBRL reporting.

But this respite can also be used to plan for the upcoming ESMA Mandate. It is important that your compliance team starts planning for the mandate early as it impacts your company’s ability to file on time and share results with investors and other stakeholders. You may read our blog- The ESMA Mandate: Your Guide To A Smooth Filing. 

What do we mean by iXBRL Reporting and ESMA Mandate?

ixbrl reporting - Unboxing ESMA ESEF iXBRL Mandate

The need for iXBRL Reporting

During the first decade of the 21st century, XBRL was conceptualized to standardize business and financial reporting. The primary objective was to make data machine-readable which was achieved by using XML technology. Overtime, the benefits of XBRL data were so huge that it has now become a global phenomenon. The USA was one of the earliest countries who adopted XBRL. In-fact they already had filings in HTML format and introduced XBRL reporting in addition to HTML reporting. Due to the dual nature of an XBRL report consisting of the XBRL and HTML previewer, only one part of the report (the HTML end) was only human readable.

With inline XBRL, filers need no longer work on two separate formats – XBRL and HTML for their iXBRL Reporting. It is XBRL with a presentation layer over it. With iXBRL, the machine readable information becomes human-readable. It presents the user with an e-document which completely resembles the source document or the document before ‘XBRLization’.

ixbrl reporting - Unboxing ESMA ESEF iXBRL Mandate

What is an iXBRL document?

iXBRL Reporting is simply a computer-processable, and viewable document which is n’t very different from a PDF, except that it is viewed in a browser. An iXBRL report is a well-formatted HTML file with the XBRL information embedded beneath. It has a display layer attached to the XBRL document which makes it easily readable by the human eye. In short, it is a win-win situation.

iXBRL works well for unstructured information where it is difficult to use a fixed format. The most common examples are financial statements prepared by individual companies. These statements are based on accounting principles,so while the overall framework is standard, entities have the flexibility to present the information as they desire. With iXBRL, the reported information is viewed from the original source at the front-end.

ixbrl reporting - Unboxing ESMA ESEF iXBRL Mandate

How can you benefit by using iXBRL Reporting

iXBRL helps companies with preparing and reviewing a ‘smart-interactive document’ from where both authors and reviewers of the document see both the AFR and the tagging embedded with the disclosures. iXBRL is also useful for investors, market analysts for whom data now gets easy accessible and quick comparisons and analysis can be done.

iXBRL Reporting for the ESMA Mandate

ixbrl reporting - Unboxing ESMA ESEF iXBRL Mandate

What does the ESMA Mandate Mean for Filing Companies?

The ESMA Mandate clearly states that companies are only required to file in iXBRL and cannot file in PDF. Just for an instance “If a Company has a period end date of 31st December, they will need to comply with the mandate for the Annual report of 31st December 2020 and therefore their first filing will be in 2021.” This will give the market enough time to respond with tools for preparation and analysis of data and also allow companies and other stakeholders to evaluate its usefulness.

What companies will now need is a product that provides a collaborative and seamless iXBRL Filing experience with a single source output. A product like IRIS CARBON®.

IRIS CARBON®, a cloud based disclosure management platform has passed the ESEF Field test and is already iXBRL compliance for the ESMA Mandate. We have been working with iXBRL Reporting companies since April 2011 when Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) mandated iXBRL Reporting for all entities in the UK.

How can IRIS CARBON® help you with  iXBRL Reporting?


IRIS CARBON® is a global leader in compliance reporting. With the experience of having worked in over 22 countries with over 300+ XBRL professionals, IRIS is committed to high quality data and has delivered solutions and services around XBRL/iXBRL as a standard.