Integrated reporting gains technology boost
In an effort to improve the level at which new corporate reporting technology is taken up by corporates, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has announced plans to link top companies and examine how new practices can forward the cause of responsible reporting.
The program, dubbed the IR Technology Initiative, will aim to ‘build a deep understanding of how technology can be applied to assist adopters of integrated reporting,’ a press release notes. Several leading technology companies have already signed up to the initiative as ‘charter members’, such as the UK’s CRedit360, Deloitte and Spanish firm Indra, with many more set to follow shortly, and both report producers and report consumers to be included.
The IIRC describes the included companies as those already helping customers take advantage of new trends in both reporting and management practice, and in areas as diverse as consultancy, sustainability software, business management and reporting techniques. Through collaboration, it is hoped such firms will produce a new generation of ‘innovative reporting products, services and technologies’.
‘Leading companies around the world are already adopting integrated reporting in their organizations and there is a crucial role for technology companies to play in helping to make this happen,’ explains Paul Druckman, the IIRC’s CEO. ‘Through this initiative, technology companies will learn of the challenges and problems faced by organizations practicing next-generation reporting, so that tools and technologies can be applied to make corporate reporting faster, more efficient, more accurate and better integrated into business processes.’
Paul Fitzsimon, global head of reporting at PwC, another member of the initiative, says research from his firm indicates that 55 percent of CEOs around the world are dissatisfied with their sustainable management information. ‘Meaningful information, which reflects the broader value drivers integral to sustainable strategies and business models, needs to be at the heart of decision making if more holistic internal and external integrated reporting is to succeed,’ he adds.
The IIRC has also enlisted the European Commission (EC) as the first policy maker involved with the program. The organization will eventually take up the role of observer in the initiative, which the IIRC hopes will be the first of many to ‘engage with the program as it progresses.’
Piotr Madziar, policy officer for the EC’s directorate-general internal market and services, says the initiative could offer a number of benefits to involved parties, including how narrative elements of financial and non-financial reporting are captured and how technology can facilitate auditing.
‘We also hope the initiative will be open to discussing opportunities to satisfy growing disclosure requirements, including country-by-country reporting and social and environmental reporting,’ he adds.