THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC HAS SHAKEN UP THE WAY MOST OF US DO BUSINESS. YOU’D BE HARD-PRESSED TO FIND ANYONE WHO HASN’T BEEN AFFECTED IN SOME WAY AND WHO IS NOW TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH THE NEW BUSINESS LANDSCAPE.
With a view to demonstrating an organisation’s approach to operating across a variety of areas, the ultimate goal of Integrated Reporting is to showcase how your organisation aims to create value over time. Focusing on areas like performance, strategy, and governance (amongst other things) means Integrated Reports can give staff and stakeholders an holistic overview of an organisation both now and for the future – something which is incredibly important right now.
An Integrated Report is also a great way of telling the success story of your organisation and with the situation as it is, the value proposition of strong Integrated Reporting is even more important, providing your organisation with a pedestal on which to propose the way forward.
How has Covid-19 impacted the way businesses perform their Integrated Reporting?
Firstly, a business should be reporting to provide people with an overview of how the business has handled itself in light of everything that’s happened. On top of that, the report will provide insight into how the business will handle things going forward. Conveying the story of a business’ sustainability and survivability is more important than ever. Everybody’s buzzing about ‘adaptability’ and ‘evolution’ but actually signalling how the business is achieving these ends is critical. Obviously, any reporting extensions should be leveraged given the circumstances but waiting too long can be problematic. Being all bark and no bite in these times can spell trouble.
We’re aware that there may be a few ‘gaps’ here and there in terms of what can be reported on. Factors both internal and external to your business have likely left things ‘up in the air’ and these must be accounted for. At a management level, shoring up these gaps means disclosing forward-thinking information, uncertainties, and the when-and-where of impacts that might affect the business. Ultimately, your Integrated Report needs to demonstrate honesty, transparency, and realism.
While you can’t control the pandemic, you can control the narrative of your Integrated Report. This means there’s room for being proactive about how you communicate. The best way to optimise your messaging is with optimism. Aim to convey a positive outlook without sugar-coating anything, because authentic communication is critical.
Most of us are now well-versed with remote working or splitting hours between home and office and we need to be aware that this is likely to continue for a long time. Because of this the process of digitalisation we’ve been experiencing is only going to gather speed.
Our prospective audiences are similarly remoting-in. Without any kind of conferencing or physical meetings during this time, presenting the labours of your Integrated Report becomes challenging (though not impossible). Digital Integrated Reports are becoming more popular and can come with a few extra bells and whistles -accompanying your business’ virtual conference or meeting with a digital report can strengthen communications dramatically.
While it might seem like a chore to some, businesses should really be viewing Integrated Reports as a chance, not a chore. Controlling the story told about your company is incredibly valuable when it comes to presenting yourself in terms of past, present, and future.
Blue Apple has been writing, designing and publishing company reports for over 20 years. Speak to us about our comprehensive workshops on Integrated Reporting where you can learn more about King IV; learning from past reports; the building of a framework and how best to compile your Integrated Report.