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Future prospects

Accountants, analysts, investors and regulators can all benefit from assurance outside of financial statements. John Ward looks at the road ahead for the annual report with the help of key performance indicators.

There is increasing worldwide emphasis on the first half of annual reports and how they can equip investors and other stakeholders with information on which to base decisions. Integrated reports, including financial and nonfinancial metrics (theiirc.org) and a single assurance opinion covering the entire annual report, could be the outcome — eventually. Transforming the way businesses report and think will not happen quickly: there will be many challenges to overcome and the debate looks likely to continue for some time. At the end of last year, ICAEW added its thoughts to the debate when it published The Journey: Assuring All of the Annual Report?. This was designed to stimulate businesses and practitioners into thinking in more detail, not just about the contents of the annual report and whether/what users might rely upon within it, but also about whether there was a potential benefit in obtaining assurance over it...

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This is an extract from an article in the May 2014 edition of Audit & Beyond, the magazine of the Audit and Assurance Faculty.

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