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Integrated Reporting Essential for Useful Business Reporting

Integrated Business ReportingThe current model for financial reporting has long been under discussion; investors and other stakeholders want more than a historical look back and one that only focuses on financial measures. They want to see the value companies create through intangible assets too.  Part of the solution is integrated reporting, which provides a holistic presentation of data and brings together the many disparate reports that organizations provide (as opposed to being an add-on to existing reports).

Just last week the comment period closed for the International Integrated Reporting Committee’s discussion paper, Towards Integrated Reporting. As a long-time supporter of the concept of integrated reporting, founder of the Enhanced Business Reporting Consortium and participant in the World Intellectual Capital Initiative, the AICPA submitted a comment letter offering suggestions for the development an international integrated reporting framework.

In the AICPA’s comment letter, it encouraged the IIRC to leverage the preliminary, high-level Enhanced Business Reporting Framework. This framework has been developed through an open-collaborative approach and additional ongoing work efforts by WICI continue to build upon this framework. A new integrated reporting framework should be comprehensive enough so that organizations can find and report the common framework elements that are most relevant to their stakeholders. The elements should also be presented in a way that is comparable across companies and time periods. Finally, the AICPA called upon the IIRC to develop a framework so that standardized integrated reports could be created using data standards, such as XBRL, to improve transparency and provide easy access to and analysis of integrated reporting disclosures.

This is, understandably, a very large undertaking. The IIRC has done an excellent job of exploring existing best practices frameworks; however there will need to be significant involvement from CPAs and CAs with advisory, reporting and auditing backgrounds to develop a robust, verifiable integrated reporting framework covering all relevant content areas. As a starting point, the AICPA has recommended that the IIRC consult with members of the Accounting Bodies Network, of which the AICPA is a member. The AICPA is committed to both fulfilling its role and supporting the IIRC both internationally and through its U.S. efforts.

For more information on integrated reporting and the development of an integrated reporting framework, visit the Enhanced Business Reporting section on AICPA.org.

Ami Beers, CPA, Manager - Business Reporting, Assurance and Advisory Services, American Institute of CPAs. Ami is responsible for providing information, tools and resources that enable members to provide valuable business reporting, assurance and advisory services. This includes building awareness and understanding of XBRL and supports the AICPA XBRL Assurance Task Force.

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