How are you promoting <IR>? ACCA insights

19 August, 2015

An interview with Alan Hatfield, Executive Director of Strategy & Development, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Why does your organization support <IR>? 

ACCA is a long standing supporter and promoter of <IR>, as we recognise that is a vital advance in reporting.

We are a member of the IIRC’s Council, and through this coalition of like-minded organisations we share and promote the view that communication about businesses’ value creation is the next logical step in the evolution of corporate reporting.

ACCA is pleased to provide support and expertise during the development of the <IR> Competence Matrix. We believe that the approach that has been taken will ensure users will have the right skills to help them successfully adopt and implement <IR>

As such proactive supporters and strong advocates of <IR>, we have produced our own annual report as an integrated report for the last four years.

Importantly, we are training the finance professionals of the future with the skills and knowledge needed to use <IR> in their careers, as the ACCA Qualification embraces the underlying principles of <IR>. In 2013 /14, we became the first international accountancy body to incorporate integrated reporting into our syllabus.

Since re-launching in December 2007, the ACCA Qualification is structured so that it contains material that resonates strongly with <IR> principles and aligns closely to the core content elements of the International <IR> Framework, particularly at the Professional level of our Qualification. There are direct and explicit links between the ACCA Professional level papers and IIRC content elements – such as governance, business models and identifying opportunities and risks.

Why should your members get behind <IR>? 

It’s essential that we make members aware of <IR> as it’s being widely embraced as the future of corporate reporting globally. With new streams of work on <IR> in the public sector and for SMEs, it is not just something for the enlightened multi-national. I think the reason it has resonated so strongly and widely is because of the  benefits <IR> brings for stakeholders and reporting organisations alike, especially around transparency, clarity and long-term, focus. That is why we think our members need to get behind <IR>.

What campaign or approach has given you the best response? And what tip(s) would you give to other organizations?

Our approach has centred on building ACCA’s business case for <IR>, working closely with the IIRC on global roundtables, events and research reports that promote <IR>, while also raising the debate about the future of <IR>.

One particular message we have been able to communicate is from our 2014 research into Real Time Reporting, where 200 CFOs around the world were asked for their views about <IR>. Respondents saw clear benefits with <IR> saying it would enable them to “align the company’s risks with its opportunities, and to adopt a more holistic view of the true drivers of corporate performance, and build better relationships with external stakeholders.”