Articles - Integrated reporting will become the catalyst for reporting

 AutoRek has urged finance executives to accelerate their plans to improve information management practices ahead of changes to financial reporting requirements. With the introduction of the Fourth Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV), Basel III and the Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework in 2014, organisations will experience a vast increase in the complexity, granularity, frequency and volume of reporting required.

 In order to comply with new guidelines and prove that businesses have enough capital and liquidity to cover risk levels, finance executives will need to conduct a complete review of existing data gathering and regulatory reporting processes. This will require liaising with representatives from all key stakeholder departments including finance, risk, compliance, operations and information systems to identify relevant data sources and ensure that information can be extracted accurately, consistently and in a timely manner so that robust reports can be prepared and submitted within tight deadlines. Finance functions should also use this exercise to rethink how they can combine existing financial information with key performance indicators from other parts of a business to deliver holistic, joined-up structured management information.

 Jim Muir, director of AutoRek, comments on what the changes to reporting regimes mean for businesses: “The changing demands of regulators mean that financial reporting needs to be extended beyond traditional regulatory reporting and demonstrate to supervisory bodies that regulatory reports have become a tool for supporting decision making that drives the long-term development of the company. Not only will firms be required to meet more granular reporting requirements but there will be a renewed focus on proving these reports are an integral part of the organisations governance processes. To prepare for the changing nature of financial reporting, organisations need to develop new methods for assimilating the growing volume of information available and supplementing it with additional non-financial information that can be used by company stakeholders. Finally, but crucially, there needs to be extraordinary levels of confidence that information being escalated at such speed is reconcilable and auditable so that it can be used to inform all business decisions and meet regulatory requirements.”

 Jim Muir continues to explain the importance of rethinking existing financial data management processes: “A more integrated approach to financial reporting will transform the current perception of what ‘good’ looks like and challenge finance executives to inform decision-makers about the important trends shaping the future of a business. Today’s stakeholders are now presented with a bewildering array of statistics and verbiage which can easily mask the truth surrounding the direction and performance of a business. By identifying the key factors driving the businesses and implementing financial dashboards that report on relevant data and monitor key performance indicators or metrics, financial reporting has to become an extremely useful source of current information for all stakeholders to make informed business decisions in a fast-paced global market.”

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