As economies and companies around the world prepare for imminent recession owing to the pandemic, ACCA’s latest report, Insights into Integrated Reporting 4.0, recommends a focus on sustainability, resource efficiency and integrated thinking to help tackle risks companies face and improve the quality of their reporting. The report covers 48 companies, each of which are members of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Business Network.

Richard Martin, ACCA’s head of corporate reporting and author of the report, believes accountants can develop their skills in integrated reporting (IR) and integrated thinking to help companies clearly communicate responsible resource management and how they intend to generate value.

He says: ‘Resource management, both in times of crises such as these and relative calm, is essential. Companies should always be considering their use of employees, reflecting on whether they are continuing to grow and develop.

‘Insights into IR 4.0 comes out against a background of increased interest from authorities in improving corporate reporting outside of the financial statements. ACCA believes integrated reporting should be a key part of that, and not simply used as a marketing tool.’

The review is ACCA’s fourth annual report on integrated reporting. This year’s research shows steady improvements in some respects, including the recognition of integrated reporting and the IIRC’s Framework.

Martin adds that there are still key areas for improvement when benchmarking against the three previous Insights into Integrated Reporting.

He says: ‘It is disappointing that the overall quality of the reporting based on the average score our reviewers awarded the reports has declined in the period.

‘This indicates that though companies’ stated following of the principles is increasing, the quality of that compliance is not. The descriptions around statements of responsibility for the reports could also be improved.’

Click here for more information on integrated reporting and to download the report