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New integrated reporting guidelines boost standards

Reporting guidelines

​Integrated reporting enables businesses to develop key insight into their strengths and weaknesses, improving strategy and planning for accountancy firms.

A new international framework on integrated reporting (IR) for accountancy professionals will be introduced in 2018.  IR encourages companies to report on how they create value in the broadest sense and it will have a significant impact on corporate governance and reporting practices for many firms.

Developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the new guidelines will help accountants to demonstrate increased value to their clients by developing a "clear, concise, integrated story" that links together all the resources at their disposal. It is helping businesses to think holistically about their strategy and planning, ensuring they can make better-informed decisions and manage key risks to build investor and stakeholder confidence.

In response, ACCA has published a new report examining the ongoing efforts of organisations to implement IR protocols. It found that positive progress is now being made, with 71 per cent of businesses gaining new insight into their organisation's strategy through IR and 64 per cent able to highlight the specific aspects of their business that differentiate them from their competitors.

However, with time now ticking on IIRC implementation, ACCA Corporate Reporting and Tax Manager Yen-Pei Chen has also outlined a series of steps that businesses can take to prepare themselves for the new global framework. These include: 

• identifying champions within your business – who are the individuals to push forward with IR implementation?
• adopting a multidisciplinary approach – breaking down silos by including different teams and departments in IR.
• demonstrating board commitment – discussing IR’s benefits at the most senior levels of the business. 
• setting clear expectations – understanding that IR practices will evolve over time.

Ms Chen goes on to explain that IR relates to much more than basic corporate reporting, allowing organisations to develop a stronger understanding of what it is that sets them apart from their contemporaries. 

It enables accountancy practices to work to their strengths to engage new business and add value to their clients. More and more firms are likely to be adopting IR practices in the coming years. 

You can read more of ACCA’s findings and recommendations at http://www.accaglobal.com/us/en/technical-activities/technical-resources-search/2017/april/insights-into-integrated-reporting.html​​