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Guiding Principles of Integrated Reporting

Question:

Why This Paper Addresses the Guiding Principles and Elements ?

An integrated report is a communication document that details how an organization’s performance, governance and prospects results to values creation for the company in short, medium and long term basis. The main objective of this report is to share the company insights with various company stakeholders such as shareholders and other business partners. The report entails both financial and non-financial reporting of the company whose main advantage is wholesomely presenting the company image to the stakeholders in one document.

The main purpose of the integrated report is to provide the guiding principles that and content elements that directs on what needs to be included in the report and why such items are important. The framework enables those preparing the integrated reports to have a uniform outlook that is easy to understand and captures important aspects that stakeholders need to know in the companies they have interests in. (BUSCO, 2016)

The framework is basically developed in view of private sector and profit making companies of any size but the integrated report can be varied to accordingly to fit into a public sector organizations as well as non-profit organizations. It is therefore an empirical formula or guidance that can be replicated in different forms to suits different types of organizations, so long as the modification is not a great deal of departure from the basic guiding principles and elements.

The integrated report framework type of information that needs to be included in the  report that can be used to asses how and organization or company intents to create value based on the resources at its disposal.  Once it’s clear how the organization intents to create value then the report can be summed up as an integrated. The framework does not provide benchmark or marking scheme to assess the quality of an organization strategies or its performance level.

The integrated report captures the value created by the company is preserved or diminished in respect to resources available within the reach of the company. The value created is also captured in terms of short, medium or long term contexts. (Morros, 2016)

The integrated report aims at creating transparency and accountability in the manner in which the company capitals are managed. The six main capitals are; financial, human, intellectual, social, natural and manufactured.  Since the management is aware about how these capitals are managed the other stakeholders like strategic business partners, shareholders and government regulators need to understand or know how these capitals are managed. By producing integrated report the management or the board of the organization also fulfill their mandate of reporting on all activities concerning the organization to the other stakeholders. This is one way in which the integrated report benefits all the stakeholders.

Apart from promoting accountability of the above capitals, integrated reports also promotes the interrelatedness of these capitals. To the shareholders perhaps they might not understand how the capitals interrelate with each other to result to value creation. The might know the total profits posted by the company but they don’t understand the players that moved or determined the profits. The major factors that needs to be taken care of by the organization in order to keep on boosting the profits, the integrated report therefore simplifies these aspects to the shareholders in order for to have a real grip of what drives the organizations they have interests in.

Content Elements of Integrated Reporting

  • Strategic focus and future orientation

One of the guiding principle of an integrated report is that it should provide insight knowledge in the organization’s strategy and how these strategies corresponds to the organization’s ability to create value. On the guidance of this principle the integrated report is able to provide insights risks and opportunities that are present in the organization.

  • Connectivity of information

With this principle the integrated report should be able to provide wholesome or holistic picture of how various factors in the organization can interrelate to create value for the capital invested over time.

  • Stakeholder relationships

The integrated report should point out the relationship of the organization with key stakeholders and to what extend does it exist. It highlights how the organization is able to benefit from such relations in terms of achieving the organizational objectives.

  • Materiality

A good integrated report should highlight information regarding matters that have fundamental bearing on the ability of the company to create value with its resources in the context of short, medium and long terms.

  • Conciseness

An integrated report should always be concise with relevant information that provides clear understanding of the organization’s performance, governance and prospects to all stakeholders. This raises the understanding of the company activities and boost clarity of issues among the stakeholders.

  • Reliability and completeness

Under this principle an integrated report needs to have all important or material maters both negative and positive in correct balance without leaving out important materials that should have been included.

  • Consistency and comparability

The integrated report should always have consistent information that will remain correct even in future. The information should also be comparable to other organizations so that stake holders are able to put the report into various contexts.

4.2 Content elements

  • Organizational overview and external environment

A good integrated report needs to highlight what objectives does organization have and within what context does the organization operate in.

  • Governance

The report should show how the organizational governance enables it to create value within the short, medium and long term context, thus promoting the same understanding across all the stakeholders.

  • Business model

An integrated report should paint the picture of what organization model looks like. It helps the other shareholders to understand how the business operation of the organization they have interest in is set up.

  • Risk and opportunities

The report should highlight specific risks and opportunities the organization face /have. This enables the other stakeholders appreciate the strategies the organization have.

  • Strategy and resource allocation

The report should indicate to all shareholders the direction the organization is taking and how is it going to achieve set objectives.

  • Performance

The report should always point out the performance of the company in terms of meeting its organizational objectives in a specific period of time and in respect to the capital of the company. This enables the stakeholders to gauge if the organization is meeting their expectations.

  • Outlook

An integrated report should inform the stakeholders the challenges and uncertainties it is facing and the implications it may have on the company objectives. This will help the stakeholders to appreciate mechanism put in place by the organization to mitigate these uncertainties.

  • Basis of preparation and presentation

The report should highlight to the stakeholders on what basis did it determine what to include in the report and what not to include. This helps everyone related to the organization to appreciate the content of the report.

The 2016 AMP limited financial captured guiding principles of the integrated report in a number of ways. The report captures the company’s strategy in terms of how the company is planning to meet its objectives within the context of the surrounding environment. The report is also consistent from one point to another in simple manner that is understandable. From the report it is easy to draw consistency and comparability with other reports as it highlights items such as profit, capital invested and time taken to realize the objectives. The report is also concise and provides necessary information on all parts that it has captured. Although the report is reliable it has however not addressed stakeholder relationship and thus lacking in completeness. (Soyka, 2013)

The element content of the integrated report is also present in the AMP 2016 financial report. The report provides the organizational overview of the company as well the governance structure. It also reports on the risks and opportunities for the bank in the Australian market context. The report also highlights the performance of the bank during the financial year 2016 and paints an outlook of the company in terms of challenges it might faces as captured in the directors report. The document does not however capture the basis of the preparation of the report and how the contents in it were determined. (Soyka, 2013)

References

BUSCO, C. (2016). INTEGRATED REPORTING. [Place of publication not identified]:   SPRINGER INTERNATIONAL PU.

Mio, C. Integrated reporting.

Morros, J. (2016). The integrated reporting: A presentation of the current state of art and aspects of integrated reporting that need further development. Intangible Capital, 12(1). https://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.700

Rezaee, Z. (2015). Business sustainability. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.

Schaltegger, S., Bennett, M., & Burritt, R. (2006). Sustainability Accounting and Reporting.          Dordrecht: Springer.

Soyka, P. (2013). The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Integrated Reporting     Framework: Toward Better Sustainability Reporting and (Way) Beyond. Environmental  Quality Management, 23(2), 1-14. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/tqem.21357

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