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Integrated reporting and assurance: where can research add value?

Roger Simnett (Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia)
Anna Louise Huggins (Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide insights into salient issues in the development of the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework, and emerging issues in the implementation of this Framework, with the aim of identifying opportunities for future research. The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has recently produced a reporting framework for the preparation of a concise, user-oriented corporate report which expands the scope of a company’s reporting using a multiple capitals concept and requires a description of a company’s business model, allowing a better communication of its value creation proposition. To gain international acceptance, the market-based benefits of adopting the framework must be demonstrated.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper takes the form of an archival analysis of the responses to the IIRC’s public consultation phases, providing insights into arguments for and against salient aspects of the framework, and identifying issues that would benefit from future research.

Findings

Identifying issues that arose during the framework preparation, this paper identifies a range of future research opportunities and outlines the research approaches by which academics can assess the costs and benefits of companies reporting in accordance with the <IR> Framework and assuring this information.

Research limitations/implications

Research opportunities associated with the International <IR>) Framework and associated assurance are identified.

Practical implications

This paper provides insights and details of the process of adoption of <IR> and has implications for adopters and assurance providers of integrated reports, standard setters and regulators. The development of a sophisticated business case informed by rigorous research will be critical to the further uptake of <IR>.

Social implications

Research opportunities identified include the expansion of the <IR> Framework to reporting entities other than corporations, including government and not-for-profit organisations, as well as measurement and assurance of a broader array of capitals, including social capital.

Originality/value

The paper identifies <IR> research opportunities from an archival analysis of the responses to the IIRC’s public consultation phases, providing insights into arguments for and against salient aspects of the framework that would benefit from future research.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Hien Hoang for her research assistance, and the Australian Research Council, CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand for their financial support.

Citation

Simnett, R. and Huggins, A.L. (2015), "Integrated reporting and assurance: where can research add value?", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 29-53. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-09-2014-0053

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited