Guest Post: An Accountant’s Perspective on Integrated Reporting



To finish this short series I was looking for an alternative perspective on IR. I met Stathis Gould in New York at the CR Commit Forum 2011. Stathis works at the International Federation of Accountants on supporting professional accountants working in business, and is passionate about corporate responsibility.  He has also been pulling together the IFAC Accountants in Business response to the IIRC discussion paper available here. I enjoyed hearing his views from an managerial accountants’ perspective and we have met since to discuss integrated reporting from our different vantage points.   He kindly agreed to contribute

read more

Integrated Reporting – IIRC Approach

This is the second post in series on integrated reporting

The recent discussion paper from the International Integrated Reporting Committee  (IIRC) for which comments were due on December 14th 2011 worries me. It starts with some statements with which I wholeheartedly agree…

“Integrated Reporting brings together material information about an organization’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in a way that reflects the commercial, social and environmental context within which it operates. It provides a clear and concise representation of how an organization demonstrates stewardship and how it creates and sustains value.”

 “Integrated Reports will meet the needs of a …

read more

Integrated Reporting – One Report or Many ?

This is the third post in a series on integrated reporting.

Does integrated reporting means a single report, or does it mean multiple reports ?

At BT, our annual sustainability report consists of a comprehensive online report of hundreds of pages of text and data supplemented by a summary PDF of about 20 pages.  Our Annual Report and Accounts (ARA) is an interactive PDF of text and data of about 180 pages.  Both our reports are externally audited.

Does integration mean combining all this into one report, or does it mean creating an integration between the content in each.

Interestingly,  …

read more

Integrated Reporting – The Challenge

I am interested in the concept of integrated reporting and am often asked about it at during the Q&A at conferences.   I hear many different perspectives of what exactly it is.

I think that by far the biggest challenge is going to be reconciling  the approach of the financial reporting community with the approach of the CSR/sustainability community.

The financial reporting community produces highly compliance-based reports. Compliance which in my view incentivizes a low risk, play it safe, measurement oriented, audit heavy approach. The material is laser focused on the shareholder audience interested primarily in near term measurable share value …

read more

Transparency, Accountability and Why I Blog

I have been struggling to write blog posts in recent weeks and have dropped from an average of two posts a week down to one. I have just as much to say but I am part of the team compiling our annual sustainability report this year. That has required a fair amount of research, planning, debating and drafting. At the end of that I haven’t had as much energy left for writing blog posts.

I thought it would help to remind myself of why I do this.  I reach nearly 3,000 readers each month. These readers seem to find my posts …

read more

The Economic Impact of BT – Social Study 2010

I know, I know, it isn’t too hot to write a blog post at the beginning of 2011 that refers to 2010, but this is what I want to write about so here goes………

In December, just squeezing it in before the end of the year, BT published a report called Social Study 2010 that reviewed the economic contribution of BT on the United Kingdom.  In my Four Dimensions model, this impact represents my first dimension of direct impact, and includes what Social Study 2010 calls direct, indirect and induced impacts.   Social Study 2010 uses jobs, output and an economic …

read more

Honest Tea – A Refreshing Report

I just enjoyed reading Honest Tea’s second annual mission report. How often can one say they enjoyed reading a sustainability report !     It was published in October 2010 covering 2009. Their first report was over ten years ago at their founding. 

I enjoyed it because it was short and to the point, entertaining and informal, related to products and concepts I understand and it was forthcoming about dilemmas and challenges. It also had the stamp of a named and accountable person throughout – Seth Goldman

But as I am reading it I am all the more challenged by all …

read more

Marketing, Manipulation or Corporate Responsibility? – CR Reporting

 This is the third in a series with previous posts on Green marketing and Philanthropy.

Should the CR/sustainability report be a formal, audited reporting document or is it a communications medium for generating civil society engagement and support? It is increasingly difficult to do both as the contrasting demands in each direction are intensifying.

On the one hand, many investment and advocacy groups are driving for integrated reporting into the annual report and accounts, with commensurate increases in the formality and auditing standards applied to CR/sustainability reports.

On the other hand, we want meaningful and enthusiastic engagement with the broadest spectrum of …

read more

Seeking feedback…read our sustainability review.

I have started work with others in BT on our annual sustainability report for 2011. The process takes  almost a full year.

I am especially interested in the summary document we produce, called our 2010 Sustainability Review. Click on the picture of the cover above to download a PDF of the document.

I struggle with this document: should it be long or short, a reference document or marketing promotional, comprehensive or a bird’s eye view?

Right now I am pretty sure that not enough people are reading our 2010 Sustainability Review, let alone tell us what they think of it. 
read more