The Connectivity of Information in Integrated Reporting. Empirical Evidence from International Context

Incollingo Alberto, Bianchi Michela/ Financial ReportingRiviste / Fascicolo: 2-2016


In recent years, an increasing number of accounting scholars have been investigating the concept and the purpose of integrated reporting. After the issue of IIRC Framework, which is principle-based, it is now recognized that there is an urgent need for empirical analysis of the content of the reports at their first development stage. This in order to understand if the aims of this new reporting approach are realistic and achievable in practice. This paper responds to such call and it tries to contribute in two ways. Firstly, it illustrates the way in which the Guiding Principle of Connectivity of Information is applied at international level. In particular, we analyzed the compliance of disclosure practices in integrated reports of 2013 with the key forms of Connectivity of information presented in the Framework. Secondly, the paper tries to interpret the practices observed, in order to identify useful implementation criteria of this Guiding Principle. This is light of the fact that the Guiding Principle was noted as the most important to obtain a truly integrated report, but, at the same time, difficult to interpret and problematic to apply. The results of the analysis indicate an application of the principle extremely heterogeneous (and in such cases disappointing), confirming the need to establish practical guidelines to apply it. By this study, we made a preliminary attempt to identify some characteristic attributes of Connectivity of information within integrated reporting. The findings carry implications for eventual refinement of the IIRC Framework and, especially, to support companies wishing to prepare an integrated report.

Keywords: Integrated reporting, non-financial information, connectivity of information, IIRC Framework


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