What you need to know about connectivity of information in integrated reporting

The <IR> Framework has seven guiding principles. The second principle articulates the importance of presenting a holistic picture of your organisation’s ability to create value over time. 

Get connected through your integrated report

Although we live in an interconnected world, our reality is often fraught with incoherence, miscommunications, and fragments of information. The same goes for corporate reporting. Integrated reports aim to demonstrate coherence by highlighting how pieces of seemingly disparate information connect. Stakeholders expect reports to explain how businesses think about their interdependent role in society, and how their strategic direction responds to this. Mostly, connected reports come from connected organisations

What does the framework say?

“The more that integrated thinking is embedded in an organisation’s activities, the more naturally will the connectivity of information flow into management reporting, analysis and decision-making.” 

For more information on how a connected strategy leads to integrated thinking, follow this link

What does this mean?

A good integrated report presents a holistic picture of the organisation and its activities. It demonstrates how the organisation creates value through its interdependencies by clearly showing the links between concepts and topics in the integrated report. It also articulates the interrelated nature of the company’s business by showing how the company’s business activities connect with its stakeholders. To demonstrate the principle of connectivity in your integrated report, consider the following guidelines:  

– Demonstrate how the various aspects of you organisation connect. For instance, how your strategy is connected with your business model and how this gives expression to the type of corporate social initiatives you embark on

– How the past is connected with the present, and has set you in the direction you hope to go 

– That the availability, quality and affordability of the six capitals and the trade-offs you make are linked to creating value 

– Financial information is connected to non-financial information. You can demonstrate this by including key performance indicators as part of the narrative

– Management information, board information and information reported outside of the organisation are connected and coherent

– That the integrated report connects with and is coherent with information in the organisation’s other communications, and information from other sources

Your report will be more connected if it:

– Has a logical structure

– Is written in clear, plain language 

– Includes navigation guidelines

– Has clearly separate but linked sections with cross referencing

For examples on the connectivity of information, refer to the links below:

Royal Bafokeng  Platinum Ltd 2016, page 7 (capitals). 

Barclays Africa Group connects stakeholders and value creation and targets and performance on page 26 of their 2016 report. 

Kumba Iron Ore connects their capitals to their balance sheet (Kumba Iron Ore Ltd 2016, page 60). 

Need assistance with demonstrating the interdependent and connected nature of your business? Contact Alchemy Creative Studios: info@alchemycs.co.za 

This is the second article in a series of seven relating to the <IR> Framework guiding principles. Return to our blog to read more on these principles.