IIRC publishes document summarising feedback received on its assurance on integrated reporting papers

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10 Jul, 2015

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has published a document summarising feedback received on its Assurance on Integrated Reporting papers which were published in July 2014.

The two papers were published to initiate debate around how trust and credibility can be gained over an integrated report with a particular focus on assurance and how it can be practically applied to integrated reporting (<IR>).

The IIRC has now published a document which summarises the key points that have arisen as a result of the debate.  The feedback has been informed from responses to the two papers and also roundtables held by the IIRC. 

The key points include:

Organisations use a range of mechanisms to enhance credibility and trust, of which assurance is only one.

Internal systems needed for <IR> are far less mature than systems for “financial” information; they may often be ad hoc and in some cases do not exist at all.

<IR> is relatively new and is still evolving; assurance on <IR> will need to evolve alongside the practice of reporting itself. Ongoing consultation will help ensure that assurance maintains the focus on being market-led and delivering value for money.

Innovation and experimentation is necessary, although existing assurance principles and methodologies should not be prematurely rejected.

The total costs and benefits of assurance are difficult to assess, however it is likely that assurance will become more cost effective as time goes by.

Assurance practitioners will need to develop a comprehensive understanding of how value is created (for the organisation and for others) across the full range of capitals. This will require an appreciation of “systems thinking”.

A range of technical challenges will need to be considered by assurance standard setters, in particular the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), which has set up an Integrated Reporting Working Group.

As well as summarising the significant issues raised, the document identifies a number of key players and actions that they need to take with the aim of strengthening credibility and trust over an integrated report. 

The full document Assurance on <IR> - Overview of feedback and call to action is available on the IIRC website.

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