Five ways to improve your next integrated report

by Stratton Craig

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Recently, the UK Corporate Reporting Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Mark O’Sullivan, said that the business case for integrated reporting is growing stronger. He puts this down to the benefits that CEOs are now recognising from such an approach. As a result, integrated reporting is becoming common practice across capital markets.
Together, everyone achieves more
As research carried out by PwC has highlighted, cooperation between departments will result in more efficient internal processes.
The aims of the reporting process are pretty clear: clarity, accuracy and pertinence. Reports that resonated with PwC were those that created “clear connections between various elements” and “tell an authentic story of how their business creates value.”
This final word is particularly important. Adding value is a critical part of any report, and by taking an integrated approach it is much easier to do so. PwC have highlighted the following five areas where improvements can be made across all sectors:

·         Conciseness paradox – There is a difficult balance between being concise and overloading on information. Integration doesn’t always mean less and it’s important to adjust your reporting depending on the audience.

·         Telling an authentic story – This is crucial for building trust with stakeholders. Make it engaging, compelling, and as ‘spin’ free as possible. This is where employing the specialists can really come in handy.

·         Broadening your horizon – Integrated reports give you the ability to broadcast your future targets and goals. Include activities that fall outside of your own processes, which will highlight a greater understanding of the industry.

·         Rethinking performance – You need to measure what really drives your business, not just the financial side of things. Try to ascertain KPIs that actually mean something to your future growth.

·         Creating connections – This is becoming an area of much improvement, but there is still work to be done. Just 36 percent of companies state that their KPIs align with their strategy.

The key takeaway from the PwC report is that more and more companies are embracing integrated reporting, as the reasons for doing so are becoming increasingly relevant. Integrating financial and non-financial information into one report should seriously be considered when preparing your business’s next release.
Do you have a view on how to improve integrated reporting? Share it with us in the comments or tweet @strattoncraig.

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