Global perspectives

Simon Grant FCA

IIRC Council Member

Group Executive Advocacy and International, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) have been advocating for broader based business reporting since 2008 and have been passionate supporters of integrated reporting now for over a decade. We have engaged with the IIRC since its inception and it clearly has had a significant impact on the direction of corporate reporting globally.

There has been increasing momentum in recent years, acknowledging the importance of a broader perspective on how an organization creates value and a widening of organizational stakeholders beyond shareholders. The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has highlighted the universal call to action to protect the planet and improve people’s lives and prospects. Businesses have a significant role to play in contributing towards the achievement of the goals and unlocking the capital available to fund them.

In particular, the Paris Climate Agreement has brought environmental objectives front and centre for the global community and business. However, as demonstrated by the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, these environmental concerns can also have a financial impact.

This momentum has also brought with it growing calls for more reporting to better inform decision makers and increase transparency of business. We are an advocate for the widespread adoption of a multi-capital approach to reporting which appropriately discloses and communicates how value is being created and protected on behalf of investors, by an organization.

Taking this approach supports a wider value creation discussion and also encourages organizations to consider both financial and non-financial risks and opportunities, and the way in which these are connected. We support a move towards a connected global corporate reporting structure which recognizes the inherent connection between financial and non-financial information.

A starting point for this move could be the International <IR> Framework which outlines a connected umbrella conceptual framework for reporting. It also provides a foundation for understanding the connection between financial and non-financial information, as well as guidance on how to report this information in a way that best communicates value over multiple reporting periods. The <IR> Framework could act as an overarching roadmap that integrates and coordinates the different reporting and communication activities undertaken by an organization.

As adoption of the International <IR> Framework increases, attention should also turn to assurance over this information. A practical, meaningful and understandable assurance around the disclosures made, and characteristics such as connectivity and balance, will be essential to continue building trust and momentum in integrated reporting.

Technology is clearly an important enabler for more efficient reporting and to link detailed standing data with current information. It also enables the communication of information via different channels. CA ANZ is leading the charge toward digital financial reporting in Australia and New Zealand, and we look forward to working with the IIRC to explore the role of technology in future corporate reporting.