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Annual Report vs. Integrated Reporting: What You Need To Know

Jan 29, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a report issued by companies and organizations that not only gave information on their current year activities and success but also addressed future goals, challenges and strategy? An integrated report does just that. Its primary purpose is to provide information on how an organization creates value over time. Think of it as an annual report on steroids.

2020 INCPAS Integrated ReportIntegrated reporting can be used by all types of entities – public companies, private companies and nonprofit organizations. There is great flexibility in creating an integrated report but in order to provide some comparability across industries, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has created a framework for guiding principles and content elements that govern the overall content of an integrated report.

Guiding principles include the following as to the content of the report:

  • Strategic focus and future orientation
  • Connectivity of information
  • Stakeholder relationships
  • Materiality
  • Conciseness
  • Reliability and completeness
  • Consistency and comparability

Content elements include the following items that are connected to each other:

  • Organizational overview and external environment
  • Governance
  • Business model
  • Risks and opportunities
  • Strategy and resource allocation
  • Performance
  • Outlook
  • Basis of presentation

Many of the business currently issuing integrated reports are larger companies (BP, Coca-Cola, GE); however, the benefits are not limited to international companies. Integrated reporting can help build trust for smaller organizations, showing how they have provided value in the past and what they can do in the future. It also may force management to re-evaluate its strategy and use of resources to better position themselves against their competition or work together with other stakeholders. Many nonprofit organizations issue an annual report, which is a perfect start to developing an integrated report.

In an effort to help members gain a better understanding of integrated reporting, the Indiana CPA Society has prepared an annual integrated report since 2014. The Society’s report focuses on how it provides value to its members and addresses needs of its other stakeholders — students, educators, business decision makers and other users of financial statements and CPAs. For example, one of the issues currently happening in INCPAS members’ environment is licensure threats. Groups are recommending legislative changes nationwide that would be detrimental to CPAs’ ability to provide professional services to the organizations and clients they represent. INCPAS’ response to this issue is to work with legislatures and regulators and in conjunction with other licensed professions to stop threatening legislation.

In 2018, a Marian University class of 15 college students created an integrated report for Marian University, which they presented to the Marion Board of Trustees.

If you have not read the Indiana CPA Society’s 2020 Integrated Report, I encourage you to do so. Not only will it provide you with an example of integrated reporting that you may be able to use within your organization or with your clients, but it will also provide you with a better understanding of the value of the Society and the CPA license.

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About the Author
Carrie is a Director of Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc. (DWD) and is head of the firm’s Nonprofit Service Team. She is the author of DWD’s “Mission Minded” blog, a valuable resource for nonprofit organizations. She has been with the firm since 2004. Carrie earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in financial accounting (cum laude) and a Master of Accountancy (MAcct) from Manchester College. She has served on various nonprofit boards and committees and currently serves on the board of directors, finance committee and integrated reporting committee of the Indiana CPA Society, the board of directors and audit committee of the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, and is a member of the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne.