In a fresh initiative aimed at further enhancing the best practices of financial reporting amongst corporates in the country, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) launched the Integrated Reporting Council (IR Council), comprising of professionals from the accounting and non-accounting sectors, regulators and academics.
The inaugural meeting of the IR Council was held recently, under the patronage of CA Sri Lanka President Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe. Among the members who form the Integrated Reporting Council are members of CA Sri Lanka, representatives from universities, professional accounting bodies, regulators, and chambers as well as representatives from the companies that contested for the Integrated Reporting Award at the 51st Annual Report Awards competition held in 2015.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting, Mr. Wickremasinghe emphasized that in its capacity as the national body of accountants, CA Sri Lanka has pioneered many important initiatives over the years for the benefit of the country’s corporate community, and the introduction of the integrated reporting concept as well as the new Integrate Reporting Council are among these initiatives.
“There is no doubt that in recent time, Integrated Reporting has taken increased importance in the context of creating corporate value and sustainability to organisations, and in ensuring Sri Lanka’s corporates are in line with these relevant trends, CA Sri Lanka in association with the International Integrated Reporting Council has taken the leadership in providing knowledge and insights on this important concept across Sri Lanka,” Mr. Wickremasinghe noted.
He called on the members of the new council, to provide guidance on linking environmental, social and governance with financial information which will help create sustainable economic value to organisations across Sri Lanka.
“I believe in the current context this new council, of which all of you are part of, can play a very important and responsible role in ensuring that Sri Lankan corporates will enjoy stability along with sustainability on the long term,” Mr. Wickremasinghe added.
Mr. Asite Talwatte, Chairman of the Integrated Reporting Council emphasized that while integrated reporting has gathered momentum, the concept is still at early days of development, even though in Sri Lanka some 38 corporates have already ventured into presenting integrated reports.
Mr. Talwatte also disclosed that even the International Integrated Reporting was very keen that Sri Lanka sets up it’s own IR Council of which the primary objective is to promote, enhance knowledge and develop the sustainability of integrated reporting in Sri Lanka. “IIRC is very keen that we set up our own integrated reporting council as we have made progress in this area over time,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of CA Sri Lanka, Mr. Aruna Alwis highlighted that CA Sri Lanka has paid special focus in educating organisations on the importance of the integrated reporting concept in recent years. “Last year we also launched the ‘Preparer’s Guide to Integrated Corporate Reporting’ for the benefit of the corporate community to help them produce a more comprehensive integrated report,” Mr. Alwis noted.
He also added that CA Sri Lanka recognizes companies at the Annual Report Awards competition organized by the institute for voluntarily adopting Integrated Reporting.
Mr. Alwis also recalled that the institute had organized a series of events in 2012 and 2013 focusing on integrated reporting, in its efforts to educate the country’s corporate sector and business leaders on the importance of adopting this globally acknowledged concept.
The main purpose of the IR Council is to establish a platform to network people who are interested in the concept of integrated reporting and who have an interest implementing it in their corporate reports.
The main objectives of the IR Council is to promote inclusive and concise corporate reporting of how entities create value through their business model, stakeholder engagement, risk and governance processes deployed to achieve sustainable development;
Identify related needs of all stakeholders, interested in integrated reporting issues and the best manner in which those needs could be fulfilled; Raise the awareness of integrated reporting by initiating seminars, conferences, roundtable discussions and technical publications; Disseminate knowledge on integrated reporting among corporates and accounting professionals and provide guidance on integrated reporting; Collaborate with statutory bodies for promoting integrated reporting; and Carry out research and studies in relation to Integrated Reporting.