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Integrated reporting in South Africa in 2012: Perspectives from South African institutional investors

Atkins, Jill ORCID: and Maroun, Warren 2015. Integrated reporting in South Africa in 2012: Perspectives from South African institutional investors. Meditari Accountancy Research 23 (2) , pp. 197-221. 10.1108/MEDAR-07-2014-0047

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Purpose This paper aims to explore the initial reactions of the South African institutional investment community to the first sets of integrated reports being prepared by companies listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The research highlights a shift in attitude towards ESG and integrated reporting, initial views on the first sets of integrated reports and obstacles to the preparation of high-quality reports. The study also includes recommendations for preparers. Design/methodology/approach Detailed interviews are carried out with 20 experts from the South African institutional investment industry. Interpretive thematic analysis is used to identify themes and principles and construct an initial assessment of the investors’ views on South African integrated reporting. Findings The new reporting framework is seen as an improvement on the traditional annual report of South African listed companies. In general, there is more emphasis on non-financial measures and evidence of an effort to integrate financial and environmental, social and governance metrics to provide a better understanding of organisational sustainability. The length of reports, repetition and a check box approach to reporting does, however, detract from the usefulness of the reports and undermine the development of an integrated thinking ethos. Research limitations/implications The study is limited to exploring the views of only a single group of stakeholders at one point in time. The reader’s attention is also drawn to the fact that the study was carried out before the International Integrated Reporting Council’s framework for integrated reporting was applied by South African preparers. Nevertheless, its interpretive style allows identification of challenges to effective integrated reporting. Originality/value This paper is the first to examine the views of institutional investors and analysts on South African integrated reports. It makes an important contribution to the academic literature by adding to the limited body of research on integrated reporting and corporate governance in an African setting. The study is also important for practitioners seeking to improve the quality of their integrated reports and for academics wanting to understand the problems and possible strategies for addressing these.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1022-2529
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 13:00

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