Comprehensive review highlights need for better reporting practices for anti-corruption data

Posted on June 2, 2023 by Editor

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Transparency International UK (TI-UK), and the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (the Forum’s PACI) have jointly conducted a comprehensive review of anti-corruption corporate reporting by the largest publicly traded companies worldwide.

The findings reveal a pressing need for improved quality, reliability, comparability, and consistency in this critical area of reporting.

The report results were mixed – although nearly 95% of companies do disclosure some information about anti-corruption policies, and most use an internationally recognised sustainability standard for this information, there is little ability to compare this data. Additionally, few companies’ disclosure corruption incidents, and the majority are not obtaining third-party assurance on anti-corruption reporting.

The negative impacts of corruption are significant and can impact many areas – from undermining equality, to reducing the quality of public services and economic opportunities, and even supporting crime. As non-financial reporting remains in the spotlight, now is an ideal time to increase the focus on the future of corruption reporting and improve data access and quality in this area.

The report takes a deep dive into today’s anti-corruption reporting landscape, suggesting a number of policy measures that could be explored to address the gaps and discrepancies. Firstly, ensuring comparability and consistency – currently, there are strong jurisdiction differences and varying standards that companies use, reducing the comparability of information. Secondly, incomplete reporting – potentially due to the voluntary nature of reporting, companies do not always report against the full set of standards, or report consistently over time. Thirdly, assurance – which is rare in this area – could be reducing trust in anti-corruption reporting.

Much of the debate surrounding sustainability reporting can be applied here – with more cohesive standards, reporting quality, reliability, and consistency could be improved. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure anti-corruption reporting attains the same level of rigour, transparency, and trust as financial reporting.

Read more here.

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