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The Bruce Column — The encouraging future for integrated reporting and integrated thinking

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Jan 31, 2018

It is a year since the Chief Executive of the International Integrated Reporting Council, Richard Howitt, took up that role. Here Robert Bruce assesses Howitt’s progress during that year, what has been achieved and what lies ahead.

In a video interview, he talks about progress with our regular columnist Robert Bruce.

Richard Howitt is confident about the future. And he has, he says, good reason to be so. Just as it took a while for the concept of integrated reporting to take hold around the world, there are now clear signs that integrated thinking, the key concept that underlies integrated reporting, is equally taking hold, the two concepts "go hand in hand" he said. He points to, for example, the global professional accounting body, IFAC.

It described integrated reporting as "the future of company reporting". He points to the High Level Experts’ Group on Sustainable Finance. It described integrated reporting as "the ultimate ambition". For Howitt, it is recognition that the journey of the concept of integrated reporting is still on course.

And Howitt was also encouraged by the IASB’s recent decision to revise its Management Commentary practice statement so that it was ever more closely aligned to integrated reporting. "That was", he said, "a very, very significant decision".

One of the obstacles that companies cite as a barrier is the absence of a global Standard for metrics, outside the mainstream financial numbers. There are many frameworks and standard-setting bodies in the this field and Howitt sees the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, which sits in the IIRC structure as a means of removing this obstacle.

There will be many a bump along the road ahead. The concept of integrated thinking as the ultimate transformative goal needs more emphasis. But progress is being made.

Read the entire column on our Global IAS Plus site.

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