Integrated Reporting and Italian Companies: An Empirical Investigation

  •  Guido Paolucci    
  •  Eva Cerioni    


Corporate reporting has undergone many changes. One main reason is that stakeholders see their needs change and evolve, thus making it necessary for them toexpress their various requests for information which, in turn, forces companies to rethink their external reporting practices. Recent studies support the position that the traditional annual report does not provide stakeholders with an adequate picture of the assets and the value created by the company. In response to this, Integrated Reporting (IR) has been adopted as a solution capable of providing both a holistic view of a company’s ability to create value in a sustainable way and an integrated vision of the company from a financial and a non-financial point of view.. Thus, this paper aims to examine the real reasons that have pushed major Italian companies to opt for IR and, especially, to explore the benefits that can now be identified a few years beyond the first publication of an Integrated Report. To investigate this topic, an exploratory field study involving ten Italian companies was conducted. The methodology relied on a qualitative approach, as it allows researchers to deal with complex “how” questions and, at the same time, offers a wide and complete picture of the phenomenon. The paper gives senior managers an overview of Italian companies that have already developed this new form of information reporting while providing valuable insights and an understanding of the perceived organizational benefits of implementing IR requirements. The study also contributes to the debate on managerial motives for producing an Integrated Report and how that may affect future decisions. The findings reveal a common thread among all the study participants, summarized by the completeness and transparency of the results. They also highlight an exhaustive list of benefits reported by these companies, which may serve as an incentive for those that have not yet adopted IR.

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