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February 19, 2014

UK CFOs hesitant on integrated reporting: ACCA

The majority of UK businesses are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the adoption of integrated reporting (<IR>), according to an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) survey.

While just 10% of respondents to the survey said they had no intention of moving to an integrated reporting model unless it is required, almost half (48%) said they would wait and see developments before making a decision on changing their reporting model.

Some 38% said, however, they were already taking active steps towards <IR> and would be able to use it in the next three years, and 5% have already published an integrated report.

The ACCA said this showed CFOs had less appetite for <IR> than investors, of whom in a previous ACCA report 90% said they thought <IR> would be valuable for companies.

The most commonly given benefit of <IR> was that it portrayed a company as an advocate of sustainability, chosen by 39% of respondents, followed by the fact it allowed a company to present a more forward-looking, long-term view of the company’s performance.

The least popular benefit, <IR> potential ability to improve internal capital decisions, was selected by 24%.

The report also revealed some worries CFOs have over <IR>, including that, if reports are expanded to tell a more complex story, companies may struggle to prioritise messages and maintain narrative clarity. Also, smaller businesses may face resource constraints when attempting to report in an integrated fashion.

Of the 5% who had already adopted <IR>, feedback was described as "encouraging, but not overwhelmingly so."

The report, titled ‘Understanding investors: the changing corporate perspective’ was based on a survey of 200 CFOs and other senior finance professionals, along with a number of interviews, in October 2013 in the UK and Ireland.

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