ACCA issues follow up report on integrated reporting and indicates there are broader benefits to be reaped

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16 Mar, 2018

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has published a second report providing its latest assessment of integrated reporting.

The report, which is a follow up to the 2017 report Insights into Integrated Reporting – Challenges and best practice responses, analyses 45 corporate reports by participants in the <IR> Business network. It identifies a number of benefits of Integrated Reporting, identifies the progress made in Integrated Reporting and provides practical insights for improvement and development to those both yet to adopt integrated reporting and those which have already done so.

The report highlights that there has been “striking progress” in the quality of integrated reports over the past year. Notable improvements include:

  • A greater commitment to Integrated Reporting through making explicit reference to the <IR> Framework.
  • An increasing use of consistent performance measures from year to year.
  • A reduction in the average length of reports.

Despite the improvements, however, the ACCA also identifies a number of challenges that organisations continue to face in their integrated reporting such as:

  • the linking of strategy and performance through to key resources and value creation over the short, medium and long term;
  • the description of the board's role in enabling value creation; 
  • discussions about the organisation's outlook; and
  • the application of materiality.

According to the ACCA, to solve these challenges preparers will need to “think beyond reporting practice, about organisation management” and embed integrating thinking into their internal decision-making processes.

The report highlights the wider benefits both internal and external that <IR> network participants experienced as a result of adopting or progressing towards the adoption of Integrated Reporting. The most widely reported benefits were internal such as having a better understanding of how an organisation creates value and better connections between departments within an organisation. Participants also noted external benefits most notably in the area of stakeholder engagement, for example with providers of capital.

The report indicates that implementing integrated thinking throughout an organisation can unlock further benefits and provides a number of questions that organisations should consider in order to benefit fully from integrated reporting and integrated thinking. Although this will require organisational change, the ACCA comments that the “benefits make this effort worthwhile – as the organisations quoted in this report can testify”.

The press release and full report are available on the ACCA website.

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