Integrated reporting what do accountants need to know

by Heather Dandridge  03-May-2016 at 11:10

Integrated Reporting: What do accountants need to know? by Lisa Weaver

The Integrated Reporting movement is gaining momentum. This is evidenced by more UK listed companies producing an Integrated Report, with approximately 20% of FTSE 100 companies publishing an Integrated Report or an Annual Report influenced by the Integrated Reporting Framework. The Finance for the Future Awards, sponsored by ICAEW and Deloitte, for this first time in 2016 includes a category for "Communicating Integrated Thinking".

This month, one of the world's best known companies, General Electric, published its first Integrated Report. The company's CEO commented "Public company reporting has become so complicated that what matters to investors can get lost. Our priority is to provide meaningful information that all investors can readily access."

Despite this move to embrace Integrated Reporting, many accounting and finance professionals know little about it. This is unfortunate, given that the task of producing an Integrated Report often falls to a member of an organisation's finance function.

Integrated Reporting is underpinned by the concept of holistic thinking. An Integrated Report is a concise communication about how an organisation's strategy, governance, performance and prospects, in the context of its external environment, lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long term. Linkages between resource use and organizational output should be demonstrated. Key financial and non-financial information should be clearly presented.

Accounting and finance professionals, used to assimilating data, performing analysis and presenting results in an understandable way are well positioned to lead an organisation's move to Integrated Reporting, and we all must ensure that we understand this important development in corporate reporting.
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