You work for a medium sized but fast growing accounting practice as a graduate. 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 varying opinions on the matter. One of the partners, Jimmy Chung, 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 Deepak Shami 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 organisations.
You need to provide this information requested above in a report format in two stages as outlined below.
1) Read the case study and briefly answer the following questions:
a) What is the purpose of your report?
b) What is the audience for your report?
c) What are the (key) decisions to be made?
d) What information would help you to make these decisions?
e) When you search for relevant information (in a database for example) what keywords do you use?
2) Identify 10 sources relevant to the project (e.g. journal articles, textbooks, websites etc). At least 4 of these must be academic journal articles but there should be a variety of different sources used.
3) Complete a source analysis on 3 of the 10 sources with full bibliographic references. At least 2 of these sources must be academic journal articles. Refer to the source analysis template.
4) Provide a full plan of main and sub headings of the report (include appropriate numbering). Resources to help you understand these requirements and in particular the source analysis template are provided on Moodle, including explanatory documents, marking rubrics and slides (which accompany a presentation by your lecturer in week 2).
Resources to help you understand these requirements and in particular the source analysis template are provided on Moodle, including explanatory documents, marking rubrics and slides (which accompany a presentation by your lecturer in week 2). Please ensure you use all the documents provided to help you.