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IFAC Guidance Benchmarks Effective Reporting

Tammy Whitehouse | June 1, 2012

The International Federation of Accountants is developing international guidance outlining 11 principles every entity should follow to assure effective business reporting.

IFAC's Professional Accountants in Business Committee has proposed good practice guidance titled Eleven Principles for Effective Business Reporting Processes. The guidance is meant to establish a benchmark for good practices in implementing effective business reporting processes in an organization. The committee intends for the guidance to help accountants create a cycle of continuous improvement in reporting practices to help investors and others who rely on business reporting to make informed decisions.

The principles-based guidance is not meant to prescribe a specific approach, but to focus on 11 critical principles that are key to effective reporting. The principles address tone at the top, roles and responsibilities, planning and controlling the reporting process, and engaging stakeholders. They also address frameworks and standards, determining reporting processes, defining reporting content, using technology, analyzing and interpreting reported information, audit issues, and evaluating and improving reporting processes. A resource appendix lists dozens of resources entities can reference for specific reporting issues they may need to study further.

Roger Tabor, chair of the PAIB committee, said in a statement that high quality business reports are important not only for strong capital markets but also for achieving sustainable economic growth. “Producing high-quality business reports requires organizations to have effective business reporting processes in place,” he said.

The committee is asking accountants to review the proposed guidance and provide feedback by Aug. 23.