Integrated Reporting – A South African Perspective

The Centre for Governance, Leadership and Global Responsibility were delighted to welcome Pieter Conradie and Rene Swart, both from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, to Leeds Beckett University on 27th January, to hear their insights into Integrated Reporting.

pieter conradie
Pieter Conradie

Pieter Conradie is the Programme Director: Integrated Reporting, within the university’s Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, and has previously worked as an accountant, auditor and management consultant in a variety of public and private sector organisations. Rene Swart is a Senior Research: Integrated Reporting, within the same centre, and has a legal background. Both play an active role in promoting Integrated Reporting, with Pieter being involved in a committee to provide a discussion paper to the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) regarding the assurance of Integrated Reports, while Rene is about to embark on a PhD to look at investor perspectives of Integrated Reporting.

Rene provided her insights into the Integrated Reporting education programme at the University of Pretoria, which was of interested to those attending from the Integrated Reporting Steering Group, as they about to embark on setting up a master’s degree module on Integrated Reporting. Rene discussed how their module, which involved students documenting weekly personal journals, had been well received by students and had challenged, and in many way changed, the way they viewed the world.

Pieter presented his insights into current and futures trends in Integrated Reporting, based on a systematic review of 175 academic and non-academic publications in the field of Integrated Reporting. Pieter highlighted some interesting issues which will certainly be of use to those in our Integrated Reporting Steering Group who are currently active in research in that area. In particular, he highlighted the importance of theory to perform empirical work, where he identified that of  the 28 papers found in ‘high quality’ journals, more than half were without theory.

ir again
Organisational level Integrated Reporting

Pieter also identified a focus on high level top down research, which creates little understanding of implementation on organisational level, and therefore calls for greater emphasis on individual and sector work to better understand Integrated Reporting implementation and for more research into specific industries, as well as a greater focus on assurance and investor perceptions. This was reassuring to hear, as the Integrated Reporting Steering Group has several researchers focusing on addressing many of these areas.

Pieter and Rene continue their promotion of Integrated reporting in the UK by hosting, in association with the British High Commission of PretoriaUK Values AllianceOld Mutual and ICAEW, a roundtable discussion in London to critically interrogate the concept of value within the context of Integrated Reporting and to experience and discuss the application of the values-based approach with thought leaders and multinational companies.

by Fiona Robertson

Fiona is a chartered accountant and a member of the ICAS corporate reporting committee. She is also a part time lecturer at Leeds Beckett University and is currently conducting a PhD focused on Integrated Reporting.  She has just concluded interviewing 15 UK organisations regarding their experiences with Integrated Reporting. @FionaRob1211

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