The Journey to Integrated Reporting

Integrated reporting builds on the existing financial reporting model to incorporate non-financial information that can help stakeholders (internal and external) understand how a company creates and sustains value over the long term. 

There is no single path to an integrated reporting implementation.
However, there are stages in the journey that are common to most companies.  Planning for and recognizing these stages will help you chart your own organization’s course and prepare for dealing with potential obstacles.

Common Stages of the IR Journey


  • Curiosity:  This is where most companies start.  Beyond the standard definition of integrated reporting, few really know much about IR.

CALL FOR ACTIONS: During this stage, it’s critical to provide vetted information from reliable sources and begin to set reasonable expectations – both in terms of benefits and upfront work and investments required -- when the topic is discussed. By taking advantage of stakeholder interest, you can help educate your stakeholders.  The better informed your decision makers and stakeholders are, the smoother your journey will be.

  • Awareness: As stakeholders become better informed about <IR>, likely they’ll be increasingly interested and eager to capitalize on its potential. 

CALL FOR ACTIONS:  At this stage, it’s very important to identify achievable first-step goals; developfail-safe action plans; and set credible, attainable, and measureable milestones.  This stage is where you’ll fuel the desire to move toward an IR model, so you must ensure success.

  • Opportunity:  At this stage, the first milestones are delivered.  Milestone examples could be an improved annual report, a more detailed and informative board book, or a more informative and credible “state of the company” speech at your next kick off conference.  

CALL FOR ACTIONS: Stakeholder communication is critical at this stage – and too often overlooked.  You’ll want to make sure you highlight the changes and the incremental benefits of these milestone accomplishments.  Show off and explain related milestone measurements.  This effort is highly important in growing your organization’s <IR> maturity.

  • Strength: This is the final and most powerful stage of the <IR> journey – where integrated thinking becomes the new philosophy of your organization.  

CALL FOR ACTIONS: At this stage, the value of <IR> is apparent; executives and line-of-business owners are constantly looking to find new ways to take advantage. Integrated thinking becomes the new dna of the organitation.



Is this journey worth it in the end?  The answer is a resounding “yes!”  The value of integrated reporting is not just in improved, more meaningful and comprehensive reports.  It actually represents a new way of thinking about the business, its assets and opportunities, and its risks.  Finally, I realized that integrated reporting is a smart way to improve our personal and professional life.


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