You work for a mid-tier Australian accounting practice as a graduate. Several of the partners have tasked you with writing a report which provides them with the information necessary to determine whether and to what extent they should engage with ‘Integrated Reporting’ with a view to providing clients advice in this area. The partners are aware that integrated reporting is a growing area of interest but some are unsure of what it really means or how to go about using it to help their clients.
The partners have differing views on the issue. One of the partners, Maggie Smith, is particularly keen on the idea and believes that it would give them a competitive advantage, enable them to be seen as a rounded “full-service” practice and that it is an important way for them to make a real, positive contribution to clients’ businesses and the broader community of stakeholders.
Another partner Steven Wong thinks it could be an expensive exercise that would add little to the success of the practice. He believes that the practice should focus on its core businesses of tax, auditing and advisory services and not worry about “gimmicks”. He said “This is just a fad that will disappear in a few years, and we should not waste resources investing in it”.
The partners want recommendations that they can discuss at their next board meeting. The board includes lawyers and other specialists (non-accountants) as well as the partners (accountants). They have requested you to make sure that your report contains (but is not necessarily restricted to) advice or responses to the following aspects:
1. The background to and meaning of integrated reporting.
2. Arguments for and against focusing on integrated reporting; What are the costs and benefits of doing so?
3. Assuming integrated reporting is chosen as a viable option – How should this new area be marketed to clients? What exactly are the types of services that might be offered; What are the type of skills and training the staff employed in it would require?
4. Should the accounting practice consider embedding integrated reporting policies more firmly in its own business? (as well as advising clients on the issue) Explain your reasoning.
You are aware of some excellent literature on integrated reporting that you will also incorporate in this report. You can include any information in the report which you think will assist them to make this important decision. You must use at least ten resources to inform your discussion. The library databases (http://elearning.kbs.edu.au/course/view.php?id=159) will provide many useful journal articles on this topic. Remember that although many Australian companies are keen to engage with integrated reporting they are unsure of what it really means or how to implement it in their organizations
Final Business Report 40% comprising – Business report technical content 30% Business report format, language and presentation 10%
Maximum words: 3000 (not including references, abstract and appendices)
Report components •
Letter of transmittal •
Title Page •
• Table of Contents •
• List of Figures
• 2) Body of the Report
• Introduction – Background, purpose, scope, methodology, definitions
• Discussion – may consist of several sections
• Conclusions • Recommendations
• 3) Back Matter
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