Monday, 15 July 2013

What is corporate reporting?

This article is by guest blogger Andrew Broady from Murray & Lamb. Have a look at this article from him. 

Corporate reporting is an audit requirement, necessary to satisfy all stakeholder needs. It refers to the packaging of information regarding a range of aspects of a business’ performance and planning, including presentation and disclosure of the information. It covers six separate areas of corporate concern, some of which are, themselves, an amalgamation of smaller concerns. 

Integrated reporting

As the name suggests, this is about linking aspects of an organisation in acknowledgement of the fact that economical, societal and environmental issues are inextricably bound to one another; this dictates a necessity to view a company’s attitude to, and progress within, each of these aspects in a holistic fashion. This gives a better understanding of the relationship between past and current decisions and their effects, both presently and in the long term, allowing the directors to have a clearer perception of issues such as strategy and risk, and the ways in which these are involved with corporate performance and remuneration. This understanding allows a more authoritative presentation of the company’s rationale when addressing stakeholders. 

Financial reporting

In the current economic climate, the role of the financial report is, in part, to reassure investors and lenders that the company’s fiscal health remains promising, amidst a landscape of financial distress. It consists of financial data, detailing profit and loss, accompanied by annotations compiled by a Chartered Certified Accountant, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Corporate governance

A company is characterised by its leadership, and corporate governance, relates to the compilation and disclosure of information about the composition of the board of directors, to varying levels, depending on the international location of the business. Additionally, an audit of the board’s performance may be reported to stakeholders, whilst other aspects of the board which can come under scrutiny are its development, and its interaction with shareholders, as well as the manner of its accountability.

Executive remuneration

This details the financial compensation received by the company’s officers, which is a combination of salary, bonuses and items such as stock options. Some payments are dependent on performance, so it is for this reason that this aspect of corporate reporting is closely intertwined with corporate governance.

Corporate responsibility

Within this area of reporting there lies an analysis of the company’s understanding of how its policies and actions impact on others, including customers, businesses and individuals in the supply chain, society in general and, indeed, on the environment itself. Whilst there are laws and regulations relating to these kinds of impact, within those parameters, the company seeks to demonstrate the steps it takes to maximise its value for the good of the stakeholders. 

Narrative reporting

The most comprehensive of all the corporate report components, narrative reporting aims to provide a wide-ranging analysis of non-financial elements, such as contextual performance indicators, like market position and customer numbers. In addition to this, details of strategy and likely prospects are included. Because this report is made in narrative form, it is effectively a summary of the company’s general condition.

These reports are carried out according to a most stringent set of rules, ensuring that no liability arises as a result of the dissemination of misleading information. For this reason, a corporate report is a vital tool to enhance the stakeholders’ understanding of the business.


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