CEO, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Having transitioned from being an International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Council Member and supporter of the initial International <IR> Framework, to now being Chair of the IIRC Board of Directors, I'm certainly impressed with our 10-year progress. However, I’m more excited about the opportunity that lies just ahead.
The IIRC was - and essentially is - a movement. A movement to raise awareness, to create progress on the need for broader and more reliable information which shows business’s relationships with wider society. In the end, businesses operate with legal authority from governments and for the people of the world.
The <IR> Framework of multi capitals eloquently demonstrates that business does not operate with a singular focus. It is about how integrated thinking and ultimately transparent reporting connects business with all aspects of the world.
The IIRC's ability to show that many aspects of an organization are important and comprehensively integrated has in effect started a global movement for thinking differently inside and about business. It shows business as a dynamic, thriving ecosystem, not dependent on a single element but on many interconnected parts.
Increasing broader awareness and creating an environment for progress around that point is clearly the IIRC's major 10-year accomplishment and one of which we are proud. But it is only the first stage. From its inception, the IIRC was never designed to exist for the purpose of perpetuating an organization, but rather to change the connection between all organizations and society. Largely this has been successful, but clearly all of us involved have seen the starts and stops all over the world. We have also seen myriad different views developed during what one might call the storming phase of this evolution. We now need to move beyond that to the next step of the journey.
My primary driver when agreeing to chair the Board was to see rationalization of this progress. Business leaders and boards want to see progress. Clearly investors and the public want to see progress. But the confusion and uncertainty around numerous, differing approaches and methods can be highly frustrating to business leaders, regulators and participants in the overall reporting system.
The Board's main agenda during my tenure as Chair has been to drive rationalization of this system. In the next ten years, in order for us to see the fruits of what has been started we must find consistent support for progress around a universal international system. It must have rigour, regulator support, and understanding from CEOs and boards. It must also be flexible enough to have emphasis when times require emphasis while not being singularly focused. For our efforts to ultimately prevail in the public interest, that system must be rational, reliable and comparable. It should also accommodate the total set of integrated information and strategies business leaders and boards consider while running the business, as well as utilize, in being responsive to multi-faceted stakeholders.
History tells us most progress in system change occurs at a time of crisis. Certainly, financial reporting systems have historically matured in this manner. Today in a troubled world there is much evidence that a new business information system is emerging. Fresh momentum is building thanks to the well-intentioned efforts of the last several years. It will take collective effort, compromise, passion and commitment to see it through. The IIRC is resolved to play its part.