18th September 2011
The release this week of a discussion paper on Integrated Reporting fills me with simultaneous feelings of hope and dread. The concept of combining the plethora of different reporting formats into one unified and simplified document covering everything from the financials to the environment is a laudable objective. After all, the average annual report runs to more than one hundred pages. But the notion that we can bring all of this together on an international scale is misjudged. The history of corporate reporting is littered with ideas that could not be fully implemented – and just when are US GAAP and IFRS going to converge? So we are now going to fell forests of trees in order to write more discussion papers about sustainability. The problem is that there are so many vested interests, lobby groups and semi-official organizations trying to impose standards that achieving any semblance of consensus is a very remote possibility – especially on an international scale. And in today’s difficult economy is this something that really deserves to be top of the corporate agenda? Or is it going to be another unwelcome distraction?
Let’s connect! I would like to stay in touch directly with as many readers as possible. So please feel free to contact me via my Linkedin® profile. Also, FSN is sponsoring a discussion group on Linkedin® called Social Media BI. You can find it here. and join.