I would like to bring your attention to an important survey I have received about internal controls and nonfinancial information. On behalf of COSO, and in partnership with SASB, Jeffrey Thomson (CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants), Robert Herz ( former Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standars Board and board member of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board), and Brad Monterio (CEO of the Colcom Group) are co-authoring a thought paper focused on improving confidence in internal controls over nonfinancial metrics for such purposes as issuing integrated and sustainability reports.
Whilst the authors are making good progress, they need to put “meat on the bones.” Thus, they are seeking examples and case studies on how organizations have approached or achieved reasonable assurance in this area. This is where you can help.
I would be very grateful if you could please consider completing the simple survey by close of business on Wednesday March 22, 2017. This will go a long way toward advancing the profession, and improving capital markets’ effectiveness.
BACKGROUND CONTEXT FOR OUR SURVEY: COSO (The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations), a worldwide leader in internal controls, risk management and governance best practices, has commissioned SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) and IMA (a founding member of COSO) to develop a practical thought paper on achieving reasonable assurance on internal controls over sustainability reporting. Information must be credible (as well as timely, accurate etc.) in order to be useful to management, investors, analysts, regulators, and others for decision making. One of the ways to engender trust in data is to ensure proper robust internal controls around that information. Financial controls are well established and understood by the market; Non-financial or sustainability controls are much less so.
"Sustainability" metrics and performance go by many names, including "non-financial," "ESG" (environmental, social and governance), and "integrated reporting." Regardless, the end goal of sustainability reporting is to create stronger organizations and more efficient capital markets through a more integrated approach to financial and non-financial performance, including the internal controls processes around both types of information. This approach integrates people and technology with the processes to ensure a more holistic approach to creating value for companies over the short, medium and long term.
OUR SURVEY: We are reaching out to you to help advance thinking on how best to achieve reasonable assurance on internal controls over sustainability reporting. We are looking for case studies, examples, lessons learned, recommendations or testimonials/quotes to support this line of thinking. We’ve made this easy for you – simply follow the link below (by March 1, 2017) to our online survey in which you can share any of these ideas. You can choose to have yourself and/or your company explicitly identified, or not in the thought paper.
As authors of this joint thought paper, we sincerely hope that you will contribute through the survey as we value your input tremendously. Thank you for taking the time to do so!