2014 - July
Address by Dr. Ernest Kan, Chairman,
Steering Committee at the Singapore Accountancy Convention’s ISCA Integrated Reporting Forum on 30 July 2014 at the Heliconia Ballroom, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre
30 Jul 2014 Category: Speeches
1. Dear Speakers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
2. Good Afternoon, and welcome to the <IR> Forum – an afternoon of the Singapore Accountancy Convention dedicated entirely to Integrated Reporting. It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to this year’s <IR> Forum. Following last year’s <IR> Roundtable in April and the post-Convention <IR> Workshop last July, where we aimed to raise awareness of Integrated Reporting in general, this year’s Forum builds on the significant strides that <IR> has made towards better corporate reporting with a deeper focus on practical steps towards adopting Integrated Reporting.
3. We see changes to corporate reporting in general, and <IR> in particular, as consisting of two parallel journeys: One is the journey of national and international reporting bodies towards greater cohesion, cooperation, and ultimately convergence on <IR> as the future for corporate disclosure. The other is the journey of corporations and the accounting profession towards Integrated Reporting.
4. The first journey is clearly seen in the way that mandatory reporting such as the strategic report in the UK, which has focused on improved disclosure in areas such as governance and risk, is now striving to align and conform with Integrated Reporting.
5. Recent developments include the IIRC’s launch earlier this month of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, which aims to build international alignment between the efforts of the different international reporting bodies. IASB, SASB, FASB, and PSASB, as well as organisations focused on sustainability reporting, such as the GRI, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board, are all part of the Corporate Reporting Dialogue, indicating again the global convergence on <IR> as the reporting framework of choice.
6. ISCA and Singapore is fully committed to be part of this global wave of change in the accounting profession and corporate disclosure. We believe the developments in the profession towards <IR> cannot, and should not, be undermined. In the light of this, ISCA and the Integrated Reporting Steering Committee are committed to seize the moment, and be part of this journey together with all of you here today.
7. At ISCA, we have been actively pursuing this first journey by contributing to the development of <IR> way before the publication of the International <IR> Framework. This includes the aforementioned ISCA-IIRC Roundtable on “The Future of Corporate Reporting” in April last year, the ISCA-PwC study conducted last year, as well as numerous publications and thought-leadership pieces in Business Times and our own ISCA Journal.
8. Affirming our commitment to <IR>, this year we have focused on taking the first step towards creating a strong foundation and supportive ecosystem for accountants and corporations in Singapore that are embarking on the second journey towards <IR>.
9. Just yesterday, ISCA organised an IR Focus Group, where Dr. Jeanne Ng from CLP in Hong Kong and Mr. Mikkel Larsen shared their experience of transitioning to IR. The Focus Group was attended by more than 20 participants from companies that are just embarking on their journey towards IR, including participants from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. We believe discussions and peer learning from such initiatives are crucial to the future success of Integrated Reporting in Singapore and the region.
10. To support your journey, we have taken the lead in establishing an <IR> Steering Committee in Singapore, which comprises industry leaders from the accounting and auditing profession, first movers from the corporate world, as well as strong representation from academia and government. The <IR> Steering Committee, or IRSC, is committed to raising awareness and understanding of Integrated Reporting in Singapore and the Region, to play a leading role in influencing and shaping the development of the <IR> Framework globally, and to promote adoption of <IR> in Singapore and the region.
11. We led the IRSC’s first meeting in April this year, and helped set up five Work Groups under the Steering Committee itself. The Work Groups have five distinct responsibilities:
a) A research and thought leadership Work Group that will To produce research to influence and shape thinking and policy making on <IR>;
b) A promotion and adoption Work Group that will raise awareness of <IR> and increase the knowledge and competencies in adopting and implementing <IR> among stakeholders in Singapore and the region;
c) An <IR> Business Network that provides support to <IR> adopters;
d) A stakeholder engagement Work Group that engages international and domestic users and regulators to influence and shape the development of the <IR> Framework; and
e) A recognition Work Group that will give due recognition to early <IR> adopters and promote excellence in <IR>.
12. Having formed the five Work Groups, we are now excited to ramp up the work ahead of us – speeding up the understanding and adoption of <IR>, as well as reaffirming and cementing Singapore’s position as a leader in the corporate reporting and accounting profession both regionally and globally.
13. Finally, at ISCA we continue to build our own capacity to support the Work Groups as well as the industry as a whole. We are expanding our research efforts in <IR>, and you will see some of the fruits of this labour presented at the <IR> Forum here this afternoon. In addition, we are strengthening our team with more resources dedicated to <IR>. Together, we believe all these initiatives will help us support all of you on your journey towards <IR>.
14. So why are we engaged in all this work? Why have we formed the Steering Committee, and why are we dedicating time and resources to Integrated Reporting?
15. To paraphrase from the IIRC, we see Integrated Reporting as the logical and inevitable next steps on our journey towards greater “coherence, consistency and comparability” in corporate reporting. We believe the <IR> framework is consistent with existing frameworks for financial, social, and environmental accounting and reporting. We also believe that it constitutes the gold standard going forward for effective communication of results in a manner that is relevant firstly to investors and providers of capital, but also to regulators and a wider range of stakeholders for every company.
16. That is why we have a Forum dedicated to <IR> as part of the Singapore Accountancy Convention, and the reason why the Forum draws such interest both in Singapore and internationally. We hope that this Forum will pique your interest in taking your next step on the journey towards better corporate reporting, and I am certain that the presenters will provide valuable insights on how and why to adopt <IR>.
17. We will begin today’s Forum by learning about the trends and milestones in <IR> internationally from Ms. Helen Brand, OBE, the Chief Executive of ACCA, after which Mr. Jonathan Labrey, Policy and Strategy Director of the IIRC, will walk us through some of the key takeaways from the <IR> Pilot Programme.
18. Professors Gillian Yeo and Lee Kin Wai from the Nanyang Business School will examine the link between <IR> and corporate valuation, and Mr. Chen Voon Hoe from PwC will examine the gap between current reporting and <IR>, before we take a short break for tea.
19. After the break, Dr. Jeanne Ng will share her practical experience of adopting <IR>, and Professor Ho Yew Kee from the NUS Business School will share the findings from the recent ISCA-NUS study of the <IR> landscape in Singapore.
20. Finally, we will round up today’s presentations with a panel discussion to allow the presenters to address your thoughts and questions.
21. I hope you are as excited to learn from the presenters we have gathered here today as I am, and I look forward to embarking on the next step of the <IR> journey together with everyone here.
22. Thank you all for being here and for being part of shaping Singapore’s position in the <IR> journey. I wish all of you a rewarding afternoon ahead.