The future of the accounting and audit must – and will – be broader than a focus on finance – message at global conference

16 May, 2019

Meeting at a time when the future of the global accountancy and auditing is under worldwide scrutiny, experts at the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Global Conference taking place this week [16 and 17 May 2019] in London, conclude that alignment around the wider concept of value creation is the only viable future for accountancy.

An in-depth evaluation of the opinions of around 100 business leaders published at the global conference by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, Black Sun and the IIRC, indicates no fewer than 89% of executives believe organizations need to shift their focus to wider value creation, instead of the traditional shareholder focus of the past.

Accountants and finance professionals will have a prominent role in supporting this shift as reporting develops to reflect the new realities of modern day business, accounting for resources across the value creation spectrum including financial, manufactured, natural, social and relationship, human and intellectual capitals, according to the conference leaders.

Research from ACCA also published at the IIRC Global Conference 2019 concludes that demands on auditors to provide assurance over the value creation spectrum – beyond the traditional financial audit – are growing year on year.

The findings caution businesses against using their reporting as a marketing tool, but to demonstrate a fair and balanced picture of their business and its strategy to create value over time.

Leading futurist Dr Amy Zalman will provide a keynote address to the conference to discuss the power of expanding the concept of value and promoting integration in a complex and connected age.

Dr Zalman will say, “The ongoing progression of emerging technologies, globalization, climate change and the human population size are creating interconnections on an unprecedented scale. 

“We need people and systems that can help us understand and assess our interconnectedness. Where does value lie? Where are complex interconnections creating avoidable risk? Integrated reporting is a critical step in the direction of this kind of assessment and we should celebrate its advance and the people who are driving it.”

Businesses including Reliance Industries, ABN AMRO, ING, Novo Nordisk, Garanti Bank, BASF and BBVA will be providing the business perspective as the reporting landscape converges around the concept of value creation, discussing recent innovation around accounting for climate change, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the importance of integrated thinking and reporting for delivering this much-needed system change internationally.

Speaking at the Conference, Richard Howitt, CEO, IIRC will say:

“The International Integrated Reporting Council is the worldwide coalition which understands that financial capital remains indispensable part of the landscape for modern companies, but that today’s financial reporting focusing on an increasingly smaller aspect of the actual value of the company, has to change.

“The multi-capital approach inherent in the concepts of integrated thinking and reporting, provides a tool in which value is created both for the company and for society, and crucially understands the inter-dependency between the two.

“This conference marks a new impetus to bring together fragmented solutions for reforming corporate reporting, based on genuine integration of financial and non-financial reporting, with the concept of ‘value creation’ being the unifying factor to ensure alignment can be achieved.

“Current debates about audit failure and reform will miss the mark if they concentrate exclusively on narrow financial reporting, when the nature of risk is dramatically changing and the reforms of today should address the challenges of the future.

“The finance and accountancy professions have a historic opportunity to drive this change, and this conference demonstrates their collective will to do so.”

The conference is sponsored by ACCA, Luminous, Mazars, Argüden Governance Academy, PwC, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, Accuvio and Black Sun.