[Interview] KPMG chooses Corporatings to facilitate ESEF audit

An interview with Astrid Montagnier, specialized Partner in IFRS Accounting Support at KPMG France.

Astrid Montagnier is a Global Assurance Partner at KPMG France, where she has been working since 1996. She specializes in providing support on issues related to the implementation of accounting standards and financial reporting. We asked her to explain why KPMG turned to Corporatings to support its audit work, and how this solution is used by their audit teams.

Cyril Manssens

Cyril Manssens

January 3, 2024
6 min read
Customer stories
[Interview] KPMG chooses Corporatings to facilitate ESEF audit

Hello Astrid, could you first introduce yourself quickly to our readers?

I'm a Partner in KPMG's IFRS accounting department: my teams and I assist key account customers on issues related to IFRS implementation and financial reporting.

Since joining KPMG in 1996, I have seen the world offinancial reporting evolve quite gradually – if not slowly. But the situation is changing with the radical transformations caused by the digitalization of corporate financial data. This led my teams and myself to develop expertise on topics related to the digitization of corporate financial reporting.

So tell us, in what context did you turn to Corporatings solutions?

Our collaboration is the result of the Transparency Directive* on financial reporting formats. As you know, as of 31 December 2020, European companies listed on a regulated market must publish annual financial reports in a single European electronic format, the ESEF(European Single Electronic Format).

This may seem like a detail at first glance, but with the introduction of these regulations, the well-known PDF format is being replaced by a digital XHTML format for the official filing of the Annual Financial Report.

In fact, much more than just a format, it’s a whole new dimension that is being added to our audit process. For instance, when we perform "traditional" account certifications, we even include in our report a conclusion on compliance with the ESEF format, as the risk of error is high when new regulations are introduced.

In addition, we are committed to bringing real added value to our clients by using the best tools to improve compliance in their electronic reporting. This is why we turned to Corporatings to optimize our audit and support processes in implementing this new digital format.

How did your collaboration with FinTech go?

We chose Corporatings because at the time,their position as a provider of corporate financial data already gave them a competitive advantage over other potential partners.

This collaboration has proved fruitful from the start. It allowed us to benefit from all the experience and statistics gathered by Corporatings during the creation of their proprietary database, which is largely based on ESEF files. We are talking about millions of datasets, which gives an optimal level of information on market publications. In addition, this data is used to continuously improve the functionality of their pre-publication solution, PRISM.

Besides this differentiating market position and the high added value digitalization brings to our day-to-day tasks (comparisons, automated checks, etc. ), the combination of their financial and technological expertise has enabled us to use PRISM within a very short timeframe, and thus to be up and running quickly for our clients.

Can you tell us more about your daily use of Prism?

First of all, it's important to understand that ESEF format has emerged in a context where PDF documents remain the standard format we are used to auditing – and we all know how tedious it can be to verify information in a PDF.

Our work is very different with the ESEF format, which allows for new ways of processing financial information. For financial experts, a solution such as PRISM is key to actually taking advantage of the functionalities enabled by the ESEF, rather than simply "complying" with ESEF as a mere compulsory format.

As a result, all the KPMG audit teams involved in the consolidated financial statements of listed companies use this solution all year round to carry out the audit work in the ESEF format, with the support of our dedicated team. Some features save a lot of time on basic reconciliation, allowing teams to spend more time on analysis, as PRISM allows us to:

  1. check the tags and macro tags used in the report with all their attributes;
  2. use automated controls on accounting and technical aspects to improve the overall quality of thereport;
  3. trace changes between successive versions of the same report or compare changes with the previous year’s markup;
  4. benchmark and compare the tagging with other issuers'.

All these technical analyses would be impossible without this tool – especially since PRISM is regularly updated according to changes in regulations and the ESEF taxonomy. Finally, I would also like to compliment the perfectly ergonomic Excel© data retrieval, the e-reader, which helps visualize the markup very easily, and the «magic » viewer used to check readability of tagged notes.

To conclude, do you have any news to share with us?

We (KPMG) seemingly share a common objective with Corporatings: enabling issuers to provide investors with reliable and high-quality ESEF reporting. That’s why, after this first successful collaboration, we recently decided to make Prism available to our customers, so they can explore their ESEF data independently.

The fully secure application is now available in SaaS mode so that our customers can prepare their next deposits with confidence. In this way, we give them perfect control of their regulated information and facilitate their filing process in the ESEF format.

In short, we believe that this app provides real added value to our clients, giving them a clearer and more comprehensive view of their financial data. I would like to thank the Corporatings teams, and everyone who made this collaboration a success (request a demo).

*The Transparency Directive aims to improve the transparency of the publications of listed companies, in particular through digitisation. Disclosure of accessible, accurate and complete information by issuers ensures long-term investor confidence, thus enhancing market efficiency in the long term.
The European Single Electronic Format (ESEF) has thus become mandatory for the annual reports of approximately 5 000 companies and facilitates access, analysis and comparability of annual financial reports.

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Cyril Manssens
Cyril Manssens
Cofounder & COO