Corporatings supports Labrador in the digital age

Interview with Matthieu Garat, Digital Director at Labrador Company. Since its creation, Labrador has set itself the mission of transforming regulatory requirements into genuine value creation.

This interview explains the impact of ESEF on Labrador's services and how the partnership with Corporatings, and therefore the use of Prism by Corporatings, support them in the digital age of financial reporting.

Cyril Manssens

Cyril Manssens

January 3, 2024
6 min read
Customer stories
Corporatings supports Labrador in the digital age

Hi Matthieu.Could you talk to us about Labrador and your role at the company?

Since its creation, Labrador has set itself the mission of transforming regulatory requirements into genuine value creation. In working to create standards of clarity and transparency for investors and stakeholders, Labrador instills a relationship of real trust between issuers and their readers. Today, as a leader in France and the United States, Labrador is in the vanguard on regulated information. And we're the number-one ESEF filer in France. 

In this spirit, Labrador created the Transparency Awards in 2009 - a ranking that rewards corporate information quality. This competition, labeled by the world leader in certification, Bureau Veritas Certification, is a way for issuers to measure their transparency-related performance each year and identify the best practices to apply.

Every day, we support the biggest French and American companies with their reporting documents and systems - whether financial, non-financial, legal, HR or ethics - from design to copywriting, translation and distribution.

I joined Labrador in 2006, and for the past four years I’ve been their digital transformation product manager. So I had a front-row seat when ESEF was established, to watch the major move to digital in financial data and its practical consequences for issuers.

Can you explain in more detail what you do for issuers?

First of all, at a time of major regulatory changes, our mission is to inform issuers about the new rules of the game, and translate them directly into their regulated communications media. Of course, this requires an in-depth understanding of financial reporting regulations, to guarantee that their documents are meeting legal requirements.

And in addition to regulatory compliance, our role is also to transform complex data sets into clear, transparent information that’s easy for those reading it - particularly investors - to understand. We’re very attentive to the visual and reader-centric elements in the report, because they help create a cohesive brand identity. This makes it easier to recognize and easier for investors to trust.

Another real must for our customers? Online accessibility. For the widest possible distribution, we ensure that these documents are optimized to align with the most commonly used digital formats. For companies operating abroad, we also help translate the documents and adapt them to the target markets’ language and cultural requirements.

Lastly, we bear in mind that regulated publications generally involve many people, including the legal, financial and communications teams. So we provide efficient project management to facilitate discussions during production, using secured technology to protect sensitive data, until the documents are made public.

And how does the ESEF fit into all of this?

Number one, the ESEF’s technical and digital complexity is a real issue. Finance and accounting experts have had to adapt to the need to produce a technically compliant file. But tagging financial statements and notes is hardly intuitive - especially if you want to cover the sectoral aspects of your business. Not to mention that the checks some tools do are calibrated for technical compliance but seldom guarantee business relevance.

Number two, the ESEF has led to so many more consultations with auditors, design agencies, XBRL providers and regulators. The obligatory auditors’ review of the electronic document is built into the Universal Registration Document (URD) production schedule, which has made the process significantly more complex. This proliferation of the back-and-forthamong stakeholders creates a “black box” effect that can compromise the reliability of the information published.

To meet these challenges, we’ve got to guarantee our customers the right kind of tagging, as well as fluid and compliant production. So we turned to Corporatings’ expertise to enhance reporting quality, which is essential for investors using the data, andto turn ESEF into an opportunity.

How did Corporatings and its Prism solution help you meet the challenge of the ESEF?

Prism by Corporatings turned out to be a critical ally in adapting and also profiting from the new digital reality of financial reporting.

First off, I want to highlight Prism’s comparison feature. It identifies the changes between documents from the current year or the previous year. By detecting any change in the document structure itself, it quickly identifies any changes made to the data, any new tags used, and so on. Being able to compare has really simplified our change-tracking process, so we can guarantee that our reports are reliable and our data is consistent over a long period, even after many go-rounds.

Another powerful feature of Prism is its ability to generate “parents” in the hierarchy of notes, even when they’re highly complex. In fact, the ESEF taxonomy doesn’t always specify official “parentage” links between various components in the notes... which can become a real headache, especially at very advanced granularity! So Prism saves us a lot of time in tagging and checking the notes.

Prism’s benchmark function has also been a revelation for our team. It’s the first concrete, high-value-added use of data already published. Being able to evaluate how tags are used in France and in Europe has given us a clear view of how our peers approach tagging. This helps us adjust our own practices, position ourselves strategically compared to other market actors, and of course do a better job of advising our customers!

And lastly, the test and validation reports generated by Prism have become a key component of our process. These detailed, easy-to-understand reports drastically reduce the risk of document errors. What’s more, the option of quickly and accurately identifying inconsistencies has really made it easier to communicate with customers, auditors and other stakeholders.

By pairing Corporatings’ expertise with Prism’s features, we’ve boosted our operating efficiency and the overall quality of our support, for clearer, more transparent financial information.

Is the solution easy to use? Do you recommend it?

Yes, handover for Prism was quick and easy. The testing details provided were extremely useful, with simplified messages so that all users, regardless of expertise, could easily make use of the data. The training by Corporatings’ experts made short work of learning how to use the tool and make our process more fluid with total peace of mind.

Not only was the tool easy to learn, but it’s become a pillar in our process for supporting financial reporting. I enthusiastically recommend it to any company that’s doing ESEF reporting or financial communication.

It’s not just about regulatory compliance. To stay within the investor scope of analysis, it’s getting even more crucial to publish reliable, easy-to-read data that can be compared with that of other issuers. Issuers have everything to gain by using Corporatings to develop relevant accounting and financial reporting, based on analyzing best practices and their competition.

And what can we look forward to next in your partnership?

We share Corporatings’ drive to push the market toward best practices. We’re also participating in joint working groups, including XBRL Europe, so we see each other regularly. So our partnership will continue, maybe even with joint interests across the Atlantic.

In Europe, ESAP, the single point of access to European data, is in the planning phase and won’t be available before 2028. So we’ll be using Corporatings’ XBRL database, which includes company publications from Europe and the US, to analyze the published data. In fact, benchmarking publications in digital format, to get the full view of financial reporting practices, is the logical next step for providing our customers with the best service.

Meanwhile, CSRD will arrive much faster and will make document creation even denser by expanding the volume of XBRL data and content that has to be created, audited and distributed. So we’ll continue working with Corporatings to stay agile and meet the market’s financial reporting expectations.

👉 Book now your free demo of Prism by Corporatings.

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Cyril Manssens
Cyril Manssens
Cofounder & COO