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July 3, 2011

CPA Australia begins integrated reporting

CPA Australia has begun implementing internal integrated reporting procedures with the aim of releasing its first external integrated report within two years.

Integrated reporting combines social, environmental and economic performance metrics and narrative with financial performance. The aim of integrated reporting is to provide a more holistic view of the business and its sustainability, taking into account factors such as human resources, energy usage and the social effects of operation.

CPA Australia president Low Weng Keong said CPA Australia board members have been receiving internal integrated reports for the past two quarters.

“It provides a more objective evaluation,” Low told The Accountant. “What we have seen supports the feeling (about CPA Australia’s integrity) that we have always had and we are able to speak with substance.”

CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley said integrated reporting helps the board shape strategy by allowing board members to ask more meaningful questions on topics such as how resources are used and gender balance.

It also changes the nature of roles as a broader range of people must now measure more KPIs on vast array of areas.

But the hard work isn’t measurement, said Malley, it is how you then improve a business once you have identified problems that previously were not addressed. An example of a problem integrated reporting helped unearth at CPA Australia is the amount of catering waste the professional body uses.

CPA Australia was the first professional accountancy body in the world to produce a sustainability report and Malley believes it is important to be able to ‘walk the walk’ before preaching to the business community about the benefits of integrated reporting.

“This needs to be a cultural shift, not just another report,” he said. “People involved in [promoting integrated reporting] need to have experience in the fundamentals.”

 

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