The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has launched a project to examine the existing processes of corporate reporting and how companies can better provide information to shareholders and stakeholders.

The review will consider current non-financial reporting practices as well as financial reporting to evaluate what information is required and the fundamental purpose of corporate and annual reporting.

The FRC’s executive director of corporate governance and reporting Paul George said: “Accounting and reporting plays an important role in building trust in business and providing information for investment decisions, and the annual report is one of the cornerstones of reporting. However, corporate reporting is wider than this.

“We are seeing developments in the responsible business agenda and the need for businesses to be accountable to a wider group of stakeholders.

“Reporting is evolving in response to these developments and so the project will examine the extent to which the annual report or other communication channels best serve all stakeholder needs.”

The FRC acknowledged the growing debate about the purpose of the annual report and the audience for it as part of the reason for the project. The regulator said despite the introduction of some initiatives, there is ongoing pressure from users to streamline the annual report.

Different methods of delivering reports are also being considered by the FRC. George said: “In a technology enabled world, the FRC will consider other methods to facilitate the delivery of information to stakeholders. New models for corporate reporting will inevitably lead to considerations of how audit and assurance models will need to evolve to respond to the changes.”

The project will be supported by an advisory group and the FRC is calling for up to 15 participants to join. The FRC is intending to publish a paper in the second half of 2019 to detail the results of the project.