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Directive 6 - The Accountancy Profession (European Single Electronic Format) Assurance Directive

Posted on: 01/02/2022

The Accountancy Board has today issued Directive 6 - the Accountancy Profession (European Single Electronic Format) Assurance Directive.  The Directive will apply to the assurance reports on the annual financial reports and the financial statements included therein, published by issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market in the European Union, for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2021, and fall within scope of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF).  The ESEF is being introduced pursuant to Article 4(7) of the Transparency Directive - Directive 2004/109/EC.  ESEF is the new single electronic reporting format for the issuance of annual financial reports to be published by issuers of listed companies.  The ESEF provisions integrated in the Transparency Directive are based on the consideration that a harmonised electronic format for reporting would be very beneficial for issuers, investors and competent authorities, since it would make reporting easier and facilitate accessibility, analysis and comparability of annual financial reports.  ESEF has been specified in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/815 of 17 December 2018 with regard to regulatory technical standards on the specification of a single electronic reporting format (“the ESEF Regulation”).  To satisfy the statutory requirements for the ESEF regulation within the meaning of Article 28(2)(c)(ii) of the Audit Directive and Article 179A(1)(c)(ii) of the Companies Act (Cap. 386), the principle standard to be used is the International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (ISAE 3000) (Revised) - Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information, subject to amendments specified in this Directive and further clarifications specific to ESEF as provided in this Directive.