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Nature of non-financial information and economic consequences

Discuss About The Reporting Of Non-Financial Information?

With the emergence of knowledge-based economy, the companies have increased their disclosure of both financial and non-financial information. The primary objective of this has been seen in form of informing the investors on the uncertainty of future earnings, amount and timing. In the recent times, the companies are increasingly publishing information associated to environmental and sustainable aspects of their operations. The aforementioned disclosures usually take place with corporate social responsibility report and sustainability reports. Certain companies may incorporate disclosures of non-financial information to improve their credibility and acceptance of the key market components. This in turn helps the companies in undertaking successful business decisions. With the increasing concern for achieving a top position in sustainability index several companies are considering to improve the way in which non-financial information is being reported. The report is intended to identify and discuss the nature of the non-financial information and economic consequences. It further aims to present how the non-financial information should be reported. The latter part of the report shows the integration of both the concepts and the consequences of non-financial information reporting (Global Reporting Initiative, 2013).

The main form of non-financial reporting is done in two ways namely sustainability reporting and integrated reporting. Sustainability reporting is defined as the process of disclosing and gathering of non-financial information of a company associated to ethical matters, environmental performance, social values and defining measurements. It acts as the indicator of sustainability goal for the company’s strategy (Melis et al., 2015).

The integrated reporting on the other hand acts as a process of combining several financial and sustainability reports into a single report which explained the company’s ability to create and sustain value. The integrated reporting of the company may be supported by the integrated reporting framework. The integrated reporting consists of elements from both financial statements and sustainability reporting. The use of non-financial information has resulted in new forms of analysis known as extra financial analysis. Hence, the performance of enterprise is no longer conditioned only by the financial resources and controlled entities, but it also depends on a complex set of intangible resources created by previous activities (Skouloudis et al., 2014). The balanced scorecard is often identified as the first focus towards disclosure of non-financial information.

The economic consequences are seen as the debt market impact and capital market. Several researchers have identified the economic consequences as return on assets, return on equity, return on sales, debt equity ratio, net sales, total assets, equity, debt asset ratio and profit incurred by the company. Some of the impacts of the economic consequences have been seen in terms of changes associated to net sales, total assets and equity of the company (Martani et al., 2014).

Reporting of non-financial information

The reporting of non-financial information as sustainability reporting may be done as per the “Global Reporting Initiative’s methodology”. This is identified as the best guideline report sustainability practice of the company. The main guidelines for reporting of non-financial information are suggested by “Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)”, “Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)”, “ISO 26000”, “ILO Core Conventions” and “European Commission Directive” (Cheng et al., 2013).

The OECD guidelines are addressed by the government to the multinational enterprises and some of the member countries under these guidelines include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, U.S., UK and among many others. This particular guideline is able to ensure that enterprises report their sustainability matters to spend on the mutual confidence among the society in which they operate. This further enhances to improve the foreign investment climate and contributions made in terms of sustainable development by the various types of multinational enterprises. The latest edition of this guideline for the works for areas associated to human rights, environment, combating bribery, consumer interests, competition and taxation (Mohamad et al., 2014).

The GRI is identified as a leading body by providing organisations with the most suitable sustainability reporting guidelines. It is seen to promote the sustainability reporting so that the organisations are able to contribute in a more sustainable manner. The sustainability framework under the GRI guidelines shows the organisations how they can disclose the sustainability performance through technical protocol and sector supplements (Global Reporting Initiative, 2013). It is an identified that there are number of guidelines which are associated to specific non-financial reporting brought together by UN compact- the United Nations global compact. This is identified as the strategy policy initiative for the businesses which are seen to be committed for aligning their operations with the strategies associated to anticorruption, environment, human rights and labour (Martínez-Ferrero et al., 2015).

The ISO 26000 provides the guidance for social responsibility. It is seen as a non-mandatory standard which aims at the different types of organisations to encourage implementation of social responsibility worldwide. This particular standard shows how business and organisations can operate in a more socially responsible manner. This is has been considered in terms of ethical and transparent way of contributing to the welfare of the society. The ISO 26000 guideline is associated to provide the relevant guidance irrespective of their location and size. Under the guideline several concepts, definition and terms are provided associated to social responsibility. It further shows the reporting standards based on background, trends and characteristics of the social responsibility. The next important aspect of these guidelines shows communicating commitments, performance and other information associated to corporate social responsibility. It also encourages the companies to include core subjects and issues associated to social responsibility (Lawrence, 2013).

Consequences of non-financial information reporting

The ILO core conventions follow eight conventions for reporting of adherence to the fundamental rights of human beings at work. Some of the conventions include forced labour, freedom of association and protection of rights to organise, abolition of forced labour, equal remuneration and a minimum age Convention (Lawrence, 2013).

The European commission directive is aimed to enhance the transparency among the large companies on reporting of matters associated to environment and social issues. The main objective of this reporting is identified to improve the transparency and performance based on social matters, environment and long-term economic growth and employment in the country (Tang, 2014).

Some of the main benefits of the non-financial reporting have been seen in terms of attracting, retaining and maintaining satisfaction in the workplace. It has been further identified to improve the reputation of business, differentiated from the competitors and provide new business opportunities. Some of the benefits to the customers of non-financial information reporting have been identified in terms of strengthening customer retention, enhancing relationship with stakeholders and suppliers (Bertomeu & Magee, 2015).

Based on the propositions made by European commission the disclosure of non-financial information for large companies has a significant amount of impact on the investors. The most important source of non-financial information for the investors has been identified in terms of CSR/ sustainability reports. The real effect of non-financial disclosure is able to determine the concern for environmental impacts in form of carbon footprints, sustainability issues and social matters. This in turn influences the investors to access a company in a holistic way rather than just considering the financial growth. The corporate social responsibility is identified as a precondition for the issue which is being taken into consideration. Several other approaches has been linked with cost of capital, tax rates, operating margin, duration of cells and growth of sales and the results have depicted that the disclosure of non-financial aspects improves the aforementioned areas of the company in the long term. Several other researchers have able to identify that there is a strong relationship between financial indicator index and human resources, environmental policies and social responsibility (Mohamad et al., 2014). The researchers are further able to depict a positive relationship between production subcategory and financial indicator index. Some of the other categories of information associated with the financial indicator index are seen in terms of human resource, board of directors, competition and marketing strategies. The overall studies conducted by the researchers have been able to highlight a remarkably positive relationship between the financial and the non-financial information disclosures. The research has been further able to identify that the companies were having a better financial indicator also had a better disclosure for non-financial disclosures (Milost, 2013)

Conclusion

The discussions of the study have been able to successfully identify the economic consequences on the non-financial information published by the companies. The several aspects of the research have further included the disclosure standards of various different countries and the standard guidelines. The study has identified the two important categories of non-financial information as integrated report and sustainability report. It is further identified the main nature of economic consequences are debt market impact and capital market. Some of the main guidelines for the reporting standards associated to non-financial disclosures have been covered by mentioning OECD, GRI), “ISO 26000”, “ILO Core Conventions” and “European Commission Directive”. The main benefits of the non-financial reporting have been seen in terms of attracting, retaining and maintaining satisfaction in the workplace. The researchers are further able to depict a positive relationship between production subcategory and financial indicator index. Some of the other categories of information associated with the financial indicator index are seen in terms of human resource, board of directors, competition and marketing strategies. The overall studies conducted by the researchers have been able to highlight a remarkably positive relationship between the economic consequences and the non-financial information disclosures.

Reference list

Bertomeu, J., & Magee, R. P. (2015). Mandatory disclosure and asymmetry in financial reporting. Journal of Accounting and Economics, 59(2–3), 284–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacceco.2014.08.007

Cheng, M., Dhaliwal, D., & Zhang, Y. (2013). Does investment efficiency improve after the disclosure of material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting? Journal of Accounting and Economics, 56(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacceco.2013.03.001

Global Reporting Initiative. (2013). A smart EU policy approach to non-financial information disclosure. GRI Report, 1–9. Retrieved from https://www.globalreporting.org/resourcelibrary/GRI-non-paper-Report-or-Explain.pdf

Lawrence, A. (2013). Individual investors and financial disclosure. Journal of Accounting and Economics, 56(1), 130–147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacceco.2013.05.001

Martani, D. W. I., Nastiti, D., & Wicaksono, P. T. (2014). Disclosure of non-financial information about public services on the official website of local governments in Indonesia. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, 66(2), 500–512.

Martínez-Ferrero, J., Garcia-Sanchez, I. M., & Cuadrado-Ballesteros, B. (2015). Effect of financial reporting quality on sustainability information disclosure. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 22(1), 45–64. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1330

Melis, A., Gaia, S., & Carta, S. (2015). Directors’ remuneration: A comparison of Italian and UK non-financial listed firms’ disclosure. British Accounting Review, 47(1), 66–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bar.2014.08.004

Milost, F. (2013). Information Power of Non-Financial Performance Measures. International Journal of Business Management & Economic Research, 4(6), 823–828. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=92986906&site=eds-live&scope=site

Mohamad, Z., Mohamed, S., Ismail, D., & Ibrahim, T. C. (2014). Does quality of non-financial information disclosure influence firms’ profitability in Malaysia? International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting Finance and Management Sciences, 4(4), 297–306. https://doi.org/10.6007/IJARAFMS/v4-i4/1360

Skouloudis, A., Jones, N., Malesios, C., & Evangelinos, K. (2014). Trends and determinants of corporate non-financial disclosure in Greece. Journal of Cleaner Production, 68, 174–188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.12.048

Tang, Y. (2014). Information disclosure and price discovery. Journal of Financial Markets, 19(1), 39–61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.finmar.2014.03.002

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