The URD is a key element in financial communication, especially for publicly traded companies. This document has undergone major changes in its structure since 2021. But what is it exactly, and what are the current obligations related to the new URD regulations? We tell you everything you need to know in this article.
URD: definition and principle
What is a URD?
A URD, Universal Registration Document, is an essential financial tool for shareholders, investors, and financial analysts. This document must be published each year and filed to the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
The content of the URD
The URD is a document, usually consisting of more than 400 pages in which various aspects are covered, including:
- Composition and governance
- Real estate properties and equipment
- Financial and extra-financial reports
- The extra-financial performance statement (DPEF), which describes the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy and the impact of environmental, social, and governance criteria internally and externally
- New regulations like Green Taxonomy and ESEF (European Single Electronic Format)
ESEF, towards a standardized and more accessible format
Since 2021, European companies have been required to publish their annual financial report in a standard electronic format: the ESEF. The main aim of this new requirement is to simplify the comparability and understanding of financial information across Europe, by requiring a standardization of the file formats to be used.
Since 2022, URD documents must be in the iXBRL format - the use of an enhanced HTML version with XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language).
The introduction of this innovative format has a double advantage. Firstly, it puts an end to the need to submit two different versions of the same report. Secondly, it means that the standard PDF format, still widely used, can be abandoned.
This new format brings a major benefit: it increases the visibility of XBRL data, which can only be read by machines, not humans. In short, this improvement makes everything more accessible.
Incorporate XBRL tags into HTML, a more accessible format
The HTML file
This format makes it possible to transpose the content of the document into a web page, thus guaranteeing better accessibility to all users. Ensuring companies concerned, which are governed by the law of digital accessibility, the HTML version must be accessible for people with disabilities.
Moreover, if Excel tables are integrated or references to PDF files are made, these documents must also have been designed in an accessible form.
XBRL tags allow machines to understand and identify financial information in a standardized way. The tagging process does not apply to the entire document. Moreover, this obligation applies in two stages.
2021 marks the first phase
2021 marks the first phase - the markup obligation covers the four primary statements of the IFRS :
- Income statement
- Balance Sheet
- Statements of shareholders' equity
- Cash flow statements
But also comparative information during the 2020 financial year.
This year, we are moving on to the second phase: the addition of global tags on the notes to the financial statements for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.
How to make your URDs compliant and accessible?
Today, more than ever, with the advent of the digital age, the accessibility of URD documents is a major challenge for companies. It is crucial to make them accessible from an ergonomic, design and editorial point of view.
However, drafting the URD is a rather rigorous exercise requiring active and constant participation. That's why it is essential to propose effective solutions to digitize these documents while ensuring compliance with legal obligations.
Use an alternative to the traditional PDF format
The aim is to find a solution that makes navigation easier and more fluid. This should enable the company's partners to efficiently identify all the most relevant financial information.
Several key features are essential to enable efficient navigation and transparency of information. These include:
- Table of contents
- Timeline-based navigation
- Search function
- Accessibility options for different users
The accessibility of the URD must be guaranteed, taking into account the interface, but also the content.
This includes annual, CSR and financial reports.
Comply with new standards and adopt best practices related to digital accessibility
Remember that 2 criteria must be met: accessible HTML and the integration of standardized financial tags.
So far, PubliSpeak is the only service that allows converting a PDF file into an accessible HTML format.
As for XBRL tagging, it can also be integrated by our services and our partners: specialized firms to help you comply with the standards specified by the AMF.
In addition, we can help you make your financial tools more accessible in general, with the implementation of customized files and output tables.
Some URD PubliSpeak references
We have worked with many listed companies, here are a few:
For more information and get a solution tailored to your needs, please contact us.