The International Federation of Accountants teamed up with Transparency International U.K. and the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative on a report examining anti-corruption corporate reporting around the world, and separately released advice for audit committees on sustainability disclosures.
The report, released Thursday, looks at the current state of anti-corruption reporting practices, pointing to the urgent need for greater quality, reliability and comparability in this area. The report also raises a number of policy questions about jurisdictional differences, comparability, governance, and the completeness and reliability of the information provided.
The report found that nearly all (95%) of 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’s little comparability between anti-corruption disclosure. Few companies disclose either corruption incidents (37%) or the costs of corruption (4%). The majority (72%) of companies aren’t obtaining assurance on anti-corruption information.
“Our findings are mixed — the report reveals both progress and challenges, and significantly different disclosure practices in jurisdictions,” said IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey in a statement. “We must collectively address the gaps and differences to ensure anti-corruption reporting achieves the same level of rigor, transparency, and trust as financial reporting.”
IFAC, Transparency International U.K. and the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative are asking stakeholders to join forces in advancing anti-corruption reporting, enhancing its quality, reliability and comparability.
“Corruption has far-reaching negative consequences, undermining public services, economic opportunities, and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said TI-UK CEO Daniel Bruce in a statement. “Fighting corruption requires collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and society at large. Through collaboration and dialogue, we can work toward a future where businesses uphold the highest standards of integrity, contribute to sustainable development and combat corruption effectively.”
Audit committee questions about sustainability disclosures
Separately, IFAC also released earlier this week a set of key questions for audit committees overseeing sustainability-related disclosures.
The questions relate to the following areas:
- Roles and responsibilities across the organization;
- Data collection, processes, and controls;
- Audit and assurance; and
- What is being reported.
The questions can help with implementing climate-related disclosures such as those expected to be finalized soon by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the International Sustainability Standards Board.
“Professional accountants serving on boards and audit committees play critical roles in the oversight of sustainability-related disclosures, and this release will help prepare audit committees step up their roles to advance sustainability,” Dancey said in a statement Wednesday. “We also encourage professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) to utilize these key questions to help their members stay up to date with, and prepare for, expanding oversight responsibilities in relation to sustainability.”