What do the next generation of accountants think about integrated reporting?

Paul Druckman speaking

Paul Druckman speaking

Event photo IR Panel

Carol Adams, Paul Druckman (IIRC), Richard Slack, Anne Adrain (ICAS), Fiona Roberstson

Paul Druckman, CEO of the IIRC joined a panel of presenters at Durham University Business School discussing ongoing work and research in integrated reporting.  Details of the panel can be found here.  A video recording of the discussion is here.

The audience included members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), alumni of Durham University Business School, staff and students.

MSc Accounting students attended the panel discussion having read a number of critiques of aspects of integrated reporting.  I asked them to summarise in a sentence or two the benefits and challenges for integrated reporting.  This is what they said:

Integrated reporting helps companies to shift the way they view capital and value creation which in turn enhances companies’ long term strategy and risk management.

It emphasises the importance of considering companies as connected to the natural environment which they depend on for essential resources.

Companies should properly manage all resources available to them and be responsible for their use.

Integrated reporting has benefits to companies, the natural environment and society.

Shifting traditional business thinking is not easy and integrated reporting is costly in terms of time.  It requires support from capital market participants, governments and other stakeholders.

Integrated reporting can help attract investors.

Integrated assurance is still underdeveloped and the completeness, credibility and comparability of integrated reports can be a problem.

We have to think about both hard and soft regulation in increasing implementation of integrated reporting. I’d prefer integrated reporting to be voluntary so that it is not a box-ticking exercise.

Are preparers ready for integrated reporting?  Do they perceive it adds value beyond sustainability reporting?

Integrated reporting encourages business to think about their long-term vision.  It provides information to shareholders and other stakeholders which allow them to make better decisions.

Credibility of integrated reports is an issue.  Some information is hard to verify.

It helps achieve a balance between economic, social and environmental influences on companies.

It is complex and costly to implement and managers have limited knowledge about it.

The reliability of integrated reports needs to be developed.

It’s important for humans to create a better world and business activity is everywhere in our daily lives.  Integrated reporting can help, but it is hard to measure the value to business of doing so.

Some companies might use their integrated report for political posturing.

Event photo Carol & Paul

Carol Adams and Paul Druckman

 

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