By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja – The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), on Thursday in Abuja inaugurated the Nigerian Integrated Reporting Committee (NIRC).
The ICAN President, Mr Nnamdi Okwuadigbo said the event signified the beginning of adoption and promotion of integrated reporting in the country.
An integrated report is a concise communication about how an organisation’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects in the context of its external environment lead to the creation of value in short, medium and long term.
“It is not just a professional responsibility for accountants but a moral obligation toward preserving the financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social relationship and natural capitals on which our existence relies.
“It is our duty and that of every stakeholder in the economy to ensure that value is created in an economically, socially and environmentally friendly manner, benefitting everyone in the process.
“This encapsulates the concept of integrated reporting,’’ Okwuadigbo said.
He recalled that in 2013, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) had released a framework for integrated reporting after consultation and pilot phases in 25 countries.
According to him, in 2017, Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) in conjunction with the World Bank set up African Integrated Reporting Council (AIRC) to promote the adoption of integrated reporting.
He said that as part of AIRCs strategic action plan, member countries are to establish national Integrated Reporting Committee.
“In fulfillment of this, ICAN pioneered the establishment of Nigeria Integrated Reporting Committee (NIRC),’’ Okwuadigbo said.
While acknowledging that members of the committee are experienced professionals, the ICAN president urged them to give in all it takes to achieve the objectives of the NIRC.
NIRC comprised Chartered Accountants drawn from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Pension Commission.
Others are National Insurance Commission, Corporate Affairs Commission, stakeholders including the Big-4 firms and Dangote Plc.
Mr Innocent Okwosa, the NIRC chairman described the inauguration as a transformation of corporate reporting in Nigeria.
According to him, what happened here is a very big milestone in the corporate reporting landscape of Nigeria.
He said the inauguration of the committee by ICAN would transform the landscape such that people would no longer look at financial reporting as being the embodiment of corporate reporting.
Okwosa said corporate reporting had moved toward integrated reporting, which help someone to incorporate both sustainability and financial reporting.
“What happened in the past was that companies preferred separate sustainability reports that tend to be more about philanthropy or what they have done to assist communities.
“However, what integrated reporting has done is to integrate the two so that there is a connection with integrated thinking.
“It is a holistic thinking about how companies create value not just through financial capital but through intellectual, manufactured, social relationship capital and human capital.
“Therefore, you no longer manage financial capital but manage your capital in an integrated way to think about other capital.
“Therefore, your business model, strategy, how you govern a corporate company changes because directors are now going to look at human capital and intellect,’’ Okwosa said.
Also speaking, World Bank Representative, Mr Patrick Kabuya, said that Integrated Reporting will be a paradigm shift of thinking by boards and management on their business models, strategy and operations.
He said that it would incorporate the three dimensions of sustainable development: people, planet and profit, considering all capitals in long-term value creation.
Dr Iheanyi Anyahara, the Deputy Director, Strategy and Research, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) said that “FRCN supports the initiative of the Nigeria Integrated Reporting Committee.
“This is because it will result in better and more comprehensive corporate reports, with improved accountability, sustainability and governance,” Anyahara said.
Mr Godstime Iwenekhai, Head of Listings Regulation, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said: “we believe that with the birth of NIRCO, companies listing on the Exchange will be encouraged to embrace the initiative.
“This will thereby add value to investors and other stakeholders. We will work with the committee to ensure that companies listed on the Exchange embrace this initiative,” Iwenekhai said.
The National Pension Commission (PenCom), represented by Mr Inuwa Iyodo commended the initiative, stressing that it would boost the confidence of stakeholders and enhance the scope of investment windows.
“This is due to the improved risk management and sustainability of corporate entities that will arise from the introduction of integrated reporting,’’ Iyodo said.
Dr Ndidi Nnoli who represented the private sector, commended the inclusion of the private sector as a key stakeholder in defining the roadmap toward mainstreaming sustainability as core to business management and reporting.
Mrs Tola Akinto, Assistant Director, Final Accounts, Corporate Affairs Commission, said “Integrated Reports will give a better picture of the value we generate for the society beyond just financial returns.” (NAN)