How GN Became Ready for ESEF
Starting January 1, 2021, all public listed companies in Europe are required to submit their annual financial reports according to ESEF. And seeing as GN has been listed on the Danish stock exchange since 1869, they are no exception.
The team at GN selected ParsePort as their ESEF provider, and after they had gone through the onboarding process we sat down with Anton Sibast Laugesen, Senior Director in Group Finance and responsible for Group Financial Reporting & Controlling in GN, to talk about getting ready for ESEF and what they considered before choosing a provider.
Getting Rid of the Uncertainty Surrounding ESEF
One of the things that really help markets and companies alike is doing things in a secure and controlled manner. And this is how GN has always done business.
When we asked Anton what GN’s biggest wish was, when they started their search for an ESEF provider, his answer touched upon the fact that GN wanted to integrate the ESEF standards in a secure and controlled manner when introducing new solutions and products to an existing workflow.
“Because ESEF is a new format we wanted clarity and insights around the effects it would have on the filing process, and like most other listed companies, we wanted this in due time.” Anton answered, adding “We wanted to know how our closing process was going to be affected, when adding the ESEF conversion to our workflow.”
The insights and clarity around how ESEF was going to affect their closing process became the driving force behind the team’s efforts to figure out which ESEF solution fit them best, and incidentally it is also how they discovered ParsePort.
“When we first started looking for an ESEF provider, we attended a number of different external seminars, where a range of ESEF providers gave presentations, and every time we went ParsePort was represented.”
Gathering knowledge is a good first step for many companies when they begin looking for an ESEF provider. What really matters, however, is that the provider understands the challenges and possibilities related to the reporting process.
“We of course looked at other providers during the selection process, but we decided on ParsePort pretty early on. I had a good feeling about you, and part of the reason was your understanding of the process we were going through. You understood the importance of a solution that was capable of handling last-minute adjustments.” Anton said, when we asked him why they opted for ParsePort over one of the other ESEF providers.
“Like I said, our main interest related to ESEF was that GN could continue to deliver reporting excellence and you were good at putting yourselves in our position and making that possible, so by the time we decided to put pen to paper I was very confident that we had made the right choice.”
GN Maintained Their Workflow
While we wanted GN, like all our clients, to have the ability to make last-minute changes to their reports, we also wanted to ensure that they could maintain as much of their current workflow as possible.
When creating their annual reports most companies employ both marketing/communication and financial professionals to get the job done. Each team has a different set of tools. If we had provided GN with a new report creation tool it would mean a lot of training as well as an enormous change to their closing process.
Instead of a completely new tool we’ve opted for a solution where they can continue using the same tools they always have. Their marketing/communication team can continue to work in InDesign, Word, Adobe or another tool that can produce a PDF, while their financial team can continue working in Excel.
We even made our ESEF tagger integrate with Excel, which means that the tagging process is carried out with tools they are already accustomed to. When they are done, all they need to do is to upload their files to our online portal, and the conversion is carried out in a couple of minutes.
While this was the perfect answer to one of GN’s primary wishes, it’s also a built-in part of our product, which means that all our customers benefit from the same low impact to their closing process and ability to handle last minute changes to their reports.
“Having seen what your product can do, I really don’t think we need to implement any larger changes to our workflow, which is exactly what we were hoping to achieve.” Anton said, when we asked if he expected any changes to their closing process.