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International Accounting and Reporting Issues

2005 Review

image of International Accounting and Reporting Issues

This volume of the Review contains the proceedings of the twenty-second session of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR), during this session, the Group of Experts deliberated on two main agenda items: the review of practical implementation issues of International Financial Reporting Standards and the comparability and relevance of existing indicators on corporate responsibility.

English

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Users of corporate responsibility reporting and their Information needs

The Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) has identified reporting on corporate responsibility as one of the emerging issues in the area of corporate transparency and recognized a need to improve the comparability and relevance of such reporting. At its 21st session, ISAR requested further examination of the principal users of corporate responsibility reporting and the use of such information. Most of such information is presented in the main document prepared for the ISAR 22 session (TD/B/COM.2/ISAR/29) as it relates to providing corporate responsibility information in annual reports. The objective of this chapter is to provide additional reference on these issues based on a literature survey conducted by the UNCTAD secretariat. In particular, the chapter provides references to the debate on such issues as the definition of stakeholders, whether they are different from traditional users of corporate reports, how their information needs can be identified and what those needs are. It also refers to research regarding the actual use of information on corporate responsibility. It suggests that stakeholders and users have varying information needs but that a number of common issues are identifiable. The information in corporate responsibility reports is used primarily to conduct enterprise assessments in order to facilitate investment decisions, shareholder voting decisions, ratings and inclusion in social indexes. However, research also suggests that the extent of the use of such information at this stage remains relatively low. It is recognized, however, that as more and better quality information becomes available, interested parties may make more active use of such information.

English

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