What is the difference between ESEF and iXBRL?

iXBRL or inline xbrl is simply a common technical specification which is used by many authorities  including HMRC and the Irish revenue but it is also used in Denmark, Singapore and South Africa.  The difference between all these jurisdictions lies in the rules and standards they specifically mandate.  ESEF also uses iXBRL, but the rules and provisions are specified by ESMA, the European Securities and Markets Authority .

Each regulatory authority specify their own taxonomy – a dictionary of terms which are tagged against relevant items in financial accounts.  ESEF work on the IFRS accounting standard taxonomy and is filed by the client, in the UK for example, through the FCA Electronic Submission System.   HMRC and the Irish Revenue have their own portals or gateways.

There is one specific area to highlight, in which the ESEF mandate has matured the tagging process and this is to do with extending the taxonomy.  With normal iXBRl, if there is a line item which doesn’t have a tag associated with it, we simply skip that item and do nothing with it.  With ESEF, we have to create a new tag to reflect that particular item in the accounts.

For example.  In the profit and loss section we can see the line item “Development management losses”. By searching the ESEF taxonomy we know there isn’t a prescribed tag matching this.  With this in mind, we need to create an extension.  To do this we copy and paste the name of the line item to create the new tag name and apply the basic properties of instant /duration, in this case duration as it is a profit and loss item, and as a debit as it is an expense item. The next step is to anchor it to the relevant wider tag of, ” Operating Expense”. By doing this, we have successfully created the extension and this extension can now be used as a normal tag.

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