3 Different Ways to Handle Your ESEF Mapping

There are many different ways to handle your ESEF Mapping, and there are benefits to them all, so, which should you choose? In this article we outline the three most common ways ESEF products will let you handle mapping and explain the benefits to each of them.

When you talk to representatives from the different ESEF solution providers, you will notice that there are several different ways you can choose to handle the mapping. Each ESEF solution provider will spend an enormous amount of time convincing you, that their way is the best way.

With different providers pulling you in different directions, the information they provide you with won’t help you answer the most basic question, “What is the best way to handle the mapping process?”

We’re here to give you the short answer: It really depends on your company. Just like people companies aren’t identical, which means that different companies will require different solutions. We know this answer won’t help you much, which is why we’ve composed this article.

After reading this article you will be able to differentiate between the different types of solutions and weigh the pros and cons of each, so you can find out, which type of mapping process fits your company best.

What You Need to Become ESEF Compliant

Before we get to the different ESEF solution types, let’s take a look at what you need, in order to become ESEF compliant.

What you need is an iXBRL file. An iXBRL file is the key to compliance, and luckily you only need two things to create your iXBRL file.

First you need a tool which will allow you to convert your current annual report into the iXBRL format and second you will need to take care of the mapping and/or tagging. Mapping and tagging are basically the same thing, vendors just name them differently. At ParsePort we call it mapping.

The ESEF solution provider you choose will (hopefully) provide you with a functioning conversion tool, which means all you need to worry about now is the mapping.

Some vendors will tell you, that you need to take full control of the mapping process, and use their tool to do it yourself, while other vendors tell you that you need to trust the experts and let them handle everything, which then brings us back to our initial question, which solution is best for you?

The Three Ways of Handling Your ESEF Mapping

There are three different ways to handle the mapping. You can either have the ESEF solution provider handle everything related to both mapping and conversion; you can handle mapping and conversion in collaboration with your chosen provider; or you can do everything yourself, which means all you need is access to the software.

The easiest way to think of the different solutions, is to think of it like travelling with a plane. Your chosen ESEF conversion tool is the plane and compliant mapping is your destination. If you think of it like this, ESEF compliance is not unlike going on vacation. However, your destination is not Paris, Vienna, or Rome, but a correctly mapped annual report.

You Can Be the Passenger

If we stick with the plane metaphor, letting your ESEF solution provider handle everything related to mapping and conversion, is like being the passenger on a commercial jet.

The upside to this approach is that it takes minimal effort on your part. You just need to book a ticket and board the plane at the correct time. The pilot and crew will then take care of everything else.

One downside to this approach is that you won’t be in control of the mapping. Everything is handled by your solution provider, so you will have to trust them to do their job in accordance with your wishes.

Another downside to this approach is that the conversion isn’t going to be as quick as with other solution types. Your provider might be able to do it very quickly, but there’s always going to be a delay between the point in time when you hand your annual financial report over to your ESEF provider and the moment you have a finished, tagged and fully compliant ESEF report in your hands.


This effectively means that your submission deadline is moved up. With the right ESEF solution provider it might take as little as 5 days to map and convert your files, but you will still need to have your financial statement and annual report finished earlier. Especially if you want to be able to review the ESEF files before you submit them.

You Can Be the Co-Pilot

Some solution providers will offer to handle mapping and conversion in collaboration with you. This effectively lets you fly co-pilot to an experienced ESEF professional.

The upside of this approach is that you can tell your provider, exactly how you want your mapping carried out, while you don’t have to concern yourself with the technical aspects of process.

Assuming you’ve chosen a decent ESEF provider this solution has very few downsides. It lets you take control of the process, while your solution provider acts as a safety net. This ensures that you won’t experience any technical difficulties.

Sticking with the airplane metaphor the only real downside is, that you don’t get to pilot the plane yourself, which means you can’t brag about it to your friends.

You Can Be the Pilot

The last way to handle your ESEF mapping, is to do everything yourself. Your provider grants you access to a set of tools, and teaches you how to use them, and you handle everything else. This is much like renting a plane and flying to your destination on your own.

The upside to this approach is that you will be in complete control. You will be the one who decides exactly how everything is mapped.

This, however, also becomes the downside. Sticking with the metaphor you will be flying solo after take-off. This means, that you are also fully responsible for mapping the files correctly. Your provider might offer you support, should you encounter any issues, but this will often cost you extra.

How You Should Handle Your ESEF Mapping

We started out by saying that this wasn’t a one size fits all, and while that is true, it is also evident that one solution seems to be vastly more beneficial than the others.

And that’s because it is. Simple as that.

For most companies a co-pilot solution gives you the perfect balance between control and ease of use. A passenger solution will give you a good result, but you will have very little control over how the different elements are mapped, while a pilot solution will give you complete control, but also be a lot more costly in the amount of hours your team has to spend learning how to use the tools and stay up to date on the annual taxonomy changes.

Even though one solution fits most companies the best, we don’t see any reason to not provide our customers with the exact solution they need, which is we we’ve gone the extra mile and offer all three types of solutions.

Which one fits your needs, is completely up to you.

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