Two of the Big Four accounting firms are teaming up with technology companies to see how technology can be used to encourage more companies to do integrated reporting.

The International Integrated Reporting Council said Wednesday it is launching the new initiative to support integrated reporting, known as the < IR > Technology Initiative. It has already signed up the accounting firms PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte, and the European technology companies SAP, Tagetik, CRedit360 and Indra. Integrated reporting, dubbed < IR >, seeks to provide a periodic report about an organization’s value creation over time, in areas such as sustainability, strategy, governance and financial performance.

The Technology Initiative aims to build a deep understanding of how technology can be applied to help adopters of integrated reporting. The companies that have signed up for the initiative are already helping their customers take advantage of new trends in reporting and management practice.

They cover a range of disciplines including business software, reporting software, sustainability software, consultancy and systems integration. By coming together in the < IR > Technology Initiative, they hope to share their experiences and lead market innovation.

The goals of the < IR > Technology Initiative are to evaluate how technology is currently used to facilitate corporate reporting and related management processes, how technology might enhance integrated thinking, how software can capture narrative elements of reporting, and how technology can facilitate the audit and assurance of an integrated report.

The participating companies plan to apply their creativity and skills to produce a new generation of innovative reporting products, services and technologies to help their customers adopt and integrated thinking.

“Leading companies around the world are already adopting in their organizations, and there is a crucial role for technology companies to play in helping to make this happen,” said IIRC CEO Paul Druckman in a statement. “Through this initiative, technology companies will learn of the challenges and problems faced by organizations practicing next generation reporting, so that tools and technologies can be applied to make corporate reporting faster, more efficient, more accurate and better integrated into business processes. It will also aim to enhance the experience for users of reports.”

Druckman announced that the European Commission will be the first policy-maker to be represented as an observer in the initiative. “We expect other regulators and policy-makers to engage with the program as it progresses,” he added.

Both Deloitte and PwC expect the new initiative to be helpful for clients. “Deloitte values the < IR > Technology Initiative as a great enabler to innovate in technology to facilitate integrated thinking in the production and use of information,” said Dave van den Ende, director and XBRL Leader EMEA, at Deloitte.

"Meaningful information, which reflects the broader value drivers integral to sustainable strategies and business models, needs to be at the heart of decision-making if more holistic internal and external Integrated Reporting is to succeed,” said Paul Fitzsimon, global head of reporting and chief accountant at PwC. “However, PwC's annual global survey of CEOs shows that 55 percent of companies are dissatisfied with their management information. We are pleased to be part of the < IR > Technology Initiative because we see technology as being a critical enabler to the successful implementation of Integrated Reporting.”

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