How to transform financial reporting into an active means of communication
The financial information is the specific language employed by companies in their financial reports to present themselves and their business. The users of financial information need to find their way among a wide range of business issues, including the mains risks companies are exposed to and how they manage them. In reality, in many cases when attempting to meet the regulatory requirements for disclosure of information about various areas and risks, companies struggle to focus and highlight the risks that are the most relevant to form the value of their business.
How could a company not only comply with the regulatory requirements in its financial statements but also tell its true “story” in an understandable language? Here is how we could improve our business reporting, according to KPMG International’s Survey of Business Reporting*.
Give the information the users of financial statements need. They need to focus on the company’s key resources and how they, as well as the risks related to them, are managed.
Keep the report content clear and relevant. A greater length of the report is not equal to being more insightful.
Use practical KPIs. Announce and analyse indicators which explain the company’s goals and strategies and paint a clear picture of how the company is performing implementing them.
Provide a longer-term view. Of critical importance is the management’s view of the future development of the business balanced with an analysis of the main risks which could impact on the work and their plan to eliminate or address the adverse consequences.
Say more. Ever more valuable are becoming businesses which provide “additional” information, going beyond the minimum regulatory requirements for disclosures in areas such as performance analysis, management analysis of customer-related processes, sales and personnel, market share and brand, intellectual capital, operational efficiency, product development, strategies and business risks.
Applying these principles, the corporate reporting channels will be a useful communication tool and the right platform for exchange of relevant data between companies, shareholders and markets. To enable this to happen, companies may need to develop their reporting systems to provide non-financial information of a sufficient quality. Companies which meet the challenge are likely to be the top achievers, ensuring their stakeholders have what they need for commercially focused discussions of business performance.
Ivan Andonov, Partner, presented the topic at the 2018 KPMG Client Business Seminar.
* Room for Improvement, The KPMG Survey of Business Reporting, second edition, KPMG International, 2016
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