Invisible threads: communicating integrated thinking (ACCA)

The integrated reporting process can kick-start integrated thinking, by bringing people from across the organization together through the reporting cycle. At the same time, for organizations to obtain the full benefits, the reports need to communicate this to investors and other external stakeholders.

2022 will be an Olympic test for reporting. In the throes of the global pandemic, investors and other stakeholders will expect to see changes to risk and opportunities, strategies and business models in integrated reports.

It is particularly likely that the outlook sections of reports will be keenly read by investors and others. In these conditions, authenticity and transparency will be rewarded rather than punished.

ACCA reviewed fourteen 2019/2020 integrated reports of companies in the IIRC’s <IR> Business Network. This report looks at three key ways in which integrated thinking is communicated in the annual integrated report:

  • clear communication of strategy,
  • pertinent discussions about non-financial value drivers that form the basis of the multi-capitals model, and
  • consistency between the narrative report and the financial statements.

Throughout the report, ACCA provide best practice examples and highlight practical tips to guide more organisations on the path to integrated thinking and integrated reporting. ACCA have also published a supplementary Top Ten Tips guide for communicating integrated thinking.