In recent years, reporting requirements placed on companies have broadened significantly. Responding to investor demand for a more holistic picture about a companies’ performance and prospects, annual reports and accounts now cover a far wider range of topics than historically – particularly in the areas of non-financial reporting and sustainability reporting.
Launched in 2009, the original focus of ICAEW’s Financial Reporting Faculty was to provide members with support and guidance specifically on financial reporting matters. Since its formation, the faculty has provided members with the practical guidance needed to cope with the big issues of the day such as the transition to new UK GAAP and the implementation of major new IFRS Accounting Standards on revenue recognition, leases and financial instruments. An ethos conveyed in its strapline: Practical help in a complex world.
With the aim of being a digital and international faculty from day one, the faculty has always been innovative. Online content, webinars, apps and social media content may be taken for granted now, but back then the Financial Reporting Faculty was blazing a trail that others have since followed. The faculty’s monthly email bulletin signposting members to key developments and latest resources continues to be a popular and reliable way for members to stay up to date.
Perhaps the most pioneering of the faculty’s products are its factsheets. With links to online versions of accounting standards and other relevant resources, the factsheets provide a degree of depth and clarity on reporting requirements not readily found elsewhere.
More recently, new reporting requirements have tended to relate to content in the front half of the annual report, an area often referred to as non-financial or narrative reporting. Regulations requiring most companies to produce a strategic report and for quoted companies to report on greenhouse gas emissions in their directors’ reports were introduced in 2013. Developments since have included requirements to produce a section 172(1) statement (a statement explaining how the directors have complied with their s172 duty to promote the success of the company) and carbon and energy reporting regulations.
Today, the big-ticket item is sustainability reporting. Regulations introducing mandatory climate-related financial disclosures for UK companies were introduced in 2022; reporting requirements that are the subject of the faculty’s latest factsheet. The first IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards are expected to be issued at the end of Q2 and will form a major future workstream for the faculty.
The faculty’s remit is the content of a company’s annual report and accounts prepared under either UK GAAP or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), including UK regulations for company accounts. With the shift in the regulatory landscape, it’s not surprising that the faculty’s resources have expanded to cover non-financial reporting aspects as much as financial reporting. The name change to the Corporate Reporting Faculty reflects the changing scope of its activities.
Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, ICAEW’s Director of Audit and Corporate Reporting, comments: “We have long been the first port of call for members looking for help and guidance. We want that to continue as corporate reporting develops, regardless of whether members are interested in traditional financial reporting issues or emerging sustainability-related disclosures. Changing our name will reflect these developments and convey to members the breadth of guidance available to them.”
The availability of faculty guidance has also been subject to recent change. From 2023, ICAEW members no longer have to pay an additional subscription to access content from ICAEW’s three core faculties: financial reporting (now corporate reporting), audit and assurance and tax. A move to not only enhance the value of ICAEW membership but also to support its members as ICAEW introduces its new continuing professional development (CPD) policy from November 2023.
Despite the name change, Sally Baker, ICAEW’s Head of Corporate Reporting Policy, is keen to emphasise that the faculty will continue to deliver financial reporting content: “Rest assured that financial reporting remains at the heart of what we do. The Corporate Reporting Faculty will continue to deliver new and updated content on UK GAAP and IFRS Accounting Standards as it’s always done. Indeed, the current periodic review of UK GAAP which proposes to bring revenue recognition and lease accounting in line with international accounting standards is a primary focus for us at the moment. Producing timely and practical guidance to support members implementing these significant changes will be a priority for us as much as addressing wider corporate reporting issues.”
Baker is also keen to stress that the benefits of faculty membership extend beyond guidance. “While many join the faculty to benefit from topical guidance being delivered straight to their inboxes, faculty membership is also about networking with like-minded professionals with a keen interest in corporate reporting. It also offers the opportunity to contribute to policymaking, creating a virtuous circle: better and broader engagement with members in policy areas today leads to clear guidance tomorrow, and high-quality and improved corporate reporting in the future.”
Ultimately, it’s that drive to improve corporate reporting that is the Corporate Reporting Faculty’s purpose.
- Access Corporate Reporting Faculty content.
- Join the Corporate Reporting Faculty. Open to all. Charges apply for non-ICAEW members.
- Would you like to work in ICAEW’s Corporate Reporting team? The faculty is recruiting a Technical Manager to contribute to the creation and dissemination of guidance and commentary. Visit ICAEW’s job portal to find out more and apply.
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