The IIRC is calling for action to continue to strengthen the overall credibility of, and trust in integrated reporting. This is a key message in the ‘Overview of feedback and call to action‘ published by the IIRC, which summarizes significant matters raised in the debate engendered by our Assurance on integrated reporting publications, ‘Assurance on <IR>: an introduction to the discussion‘ and ‘Assurance on <IR>: an exploration of issues‘ released in July 2014.
That debate included roundtables contributed to by around 400 people globally and resulted in 63 written submissions being received. As well as summarizing significant issues emerging from the debate, the Overview identifies the most important actions the IIRC believes should be considered to ensure the debate progresses and is fruitful.
Organizations use a range of mechanisms to enhance credibility and trust, of which assurance is one, and it is clear from the debate that because Integrated Reporting is relatively new and still evolving, assurance on integrated reporting will need to evolve alongside the practice of reporting itself.
The IIRC does not see itself as a standard setter for assurance on integrated reporting, but it recognizes the role of assurance in enhancing credibility and trust, which is vital for integrated reporting to flourish.
‘Assurance on <IR>: an introduction to the discussion‘ was released in order to help stakeholders understand the role of assurance and initiate a global discussion on its benefits and challenges.
It was released alongside a more detailed document, ‘Assurance on <IR>: an exploration of issues‘. Together, the papers discuss issues such as: the nature of assurance and how different mechanisms contribute to credibility and trust; methodology issues dealing with, for example, future-oriented information, soft narrative and completeness of a report; and materiality, the reporting boundary and connectivity for assurance purposes.
An Assurance Technical Collaboration Group led by The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (South Africa) and made up of experts from across the world prepared the detailed paper and helped ensure it reflects the debate currently underway in the assurance space.
The IIRC received 63 responses to the papers on assurance.