Investigating the relevance of selected aspects of integrated reporting in the banking industry
The relevance and reliability of annual financial reports as a basis for making decisions about an organisation came in dispute after a series of corporate collapses. Sustainability reports have similarly suffered weaknesses and stakeholders are unable to form a comprehensive picture of an organisation’s performance and its ability to create and sustain value. Integrated reporting incorporates concise and material information from financial statements and the sustainability report and other sources to enable stakeholders to evaluate the organisation’s performance and to make an informed assessment about its ability to create and sustain value. The focus of this study was to investigate the opinion of employees as stakeholders of a South African bank and their perception of the relevance of the elements in an integrated report, if they had to assess the ability of an organisation to sustain value in the future. A literature study was conducted to address the concept of integrated reporting and the integrated report as well as relevant aspects. Based on the literature study, integrated reporting should enable stakeholders to assess the ability of the organisation to create and sustain value over the short-, medium- and long-term. Special attention has been given to the elements to be included in an integrated report as suggested by the IRC SA’s framework and employees as stakeholders of organisations. The latter has been used as basis of the empirical study that was conducted. The empirical study focused on the opinion of employees regarding the relevance of the eight elements in an integrated report as stakeholders of a South African bank and it was conducted by means of a self-completion questionnaire. The internal consistency and reliability of the questionnaire was assessed by calculating Cronbach alpha coefficients and it had acceptable reliability. Frequency distributions, mean values and standard deviations were calculated as well as independent t-tests and Anovas to determine the differences between the means of different groups within the selected demographic variables and the constructs. Furthermore, effect size values (d-values) were used to indicate if there were practical significant differences between any demographical variables regarding the constructs and individual questions. In the final chapter, conclusions were drawn based on the literature and empirical study. It was evident from the empirical study that most of the respondents found the elements to be either moderately or totally relevant to be included in a report, if the ability of an organisation has to be assessed to sustain value in the future. Recommendations were provided on three elements (business model, remuneration policies and analytical commentary) and the report was concluded by recommending possible future research that could be conducted based on this study.