The International Federation of Accountants has teamed up with the UK’s Transparency International and the World Economic Forum’s Partnership Against Corruption initiative on the report, which examines anti-corruption corporate reporting around the world, and has issued separate advice on sustainability disclosures for audit committees.
The account, published on Thursday, examines the current state of anti-corruption reporting practices and points to the urgent need for higher quality, reliability and comparability in this area. The report also raises a number of policy questions regarding jurisdictional differences, comparability, governance, and the completeness and reliability of the information provided.
The report found that almost all (95%) of the companies reviewed disclose some information about anti-corruption policies, training and/or results. Most of these companies use internationally recognized sustainability standards (61% use GRI and 17% use SASB) to report anti-corruption information.
However, there is little comparison between anti-corruption disclosures. Few companies disclose either corruption incidents (37%) or corruption costs (4%). The majority of companies (72%) do not receive anti-corruption information.
“Our findings are mixed – the report reveals both progress and challenges and significantly different disclosure practices across jurisdictions,” IFAC Executive Director Kevin Dancy said in a statement. “We must jointly address gaps and differences to ensure that anti-corruption reporting achieves the same level of rigor, transparency and trust as financial reporting.”
IFAC, Transparency International UK and the World Economic Forum’s Partnership Against Corruption initiative are calling on stakeholders to join forces to improve anti-corruption reporting, improving its quality, credibility and comparability.
“Corruption has far-reaching negative consequences, undermining public services, economic opportunity and the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” TI-UK chief executive Daniel Bruce said in a statement. “The fight against corruption requires cooperation between various stakeholders, including governments, businesses and society at large. Through cooperation and dialogue, we can work towards a future where businesses uphold the highest standards of integrity, contribute to sustainable development and effectively fight corruption.”
Audit Committee Questions on Sustainability Disclosures
Separately, IFAC also released a suite earlier this week Key Questions for Audit Committees Overseeing Sustainability-Related Disclosures.
The questions cover the following areas:
- roles and responsibilities across the organization;
- data collection, processes and controls;
- audit and assurance; and
- What does it say?
The questions could help drive climate-related disclosures, such as those expected soon to be finalized by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the International Sustainability Standards Board.
“Professional accountants who serve on boards and audit committees play an important role in overseeing sustainability information, and this publication will help prepare audit committees to strengthen their roles to improve sustainability,” Dancy said in a statement Wednesday. “We also encourage professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) to use these key questions to help their members stay up-to-date and prepare for expanding oversight responsibilities around sustainability.”