On May 2, 2017 the Financial Reporting Lab (the Lab) published a report which sets out a framework for future digital reporting. The Lab has decided to undertake a Digital Future project and this is the first in a series of reports, following on from the Lab’s 2015 Digital Present Report. Written by a wide range of preparers, investors and others, the report expresses what they would like to see in any future (digitally enabled) system of corporate reporting.
The future digital reporting framework consists of twelve characteristics that are fundamental to the future of digital reporting and these are contained within three broad stages in the process of corporate reporting:
Digital reporting must be cost efficient, easy to produce, timely and compatible with current reporting systems. Production characteristics are of most interest to companies and those supporting them. They focus on the collation, amalgamation, packaging and presentation of financial and non-financial information that a company or organisation will gather with the intention of releasing it externally.
The distribution of such reporting must be free, prompt, compliant and easily accessible to find. This stage is focused on the dissemination of the information, meeting the regulatory requirements and communicating with external stakeholders. These characteristics interest both companies and those consuming the information.
Successful future digital reporting will have certain consumption characteristics too; it shall be contextual, usable, credible and engaging. This final stage is focused on the analysis and the use of the distributed information. The consumption characteristics are of most interest to those bodies utilising the information.
The Lab is keen to hear from technology experts and others with strong views on, or experience of, how technology might be used for corporate reporting. The next stage of the project will assess various reporting technologies and initiatives against the future digital reporting framework, to see how they might work together to meet the needs of preparers and users.
(FRC, Framework for future digital reporting, 02.05.17)