Blog

20 June 2019

Better business decisions with assurance on non-financial information by Olivier Boutellis-Taft and Mario Abela

People need to be able to rely on corporate information to make important decisions surrounding investing, buying products or signing employment contracts. Non-financial corporate information (NFI), such as environmental or social impacts, is essential to get the full picture of a company’s performance. Financial information alone cannot provide this anymore. Ultimately, integrating NFI leads to longer term value for businesses and contributes to more sustainable economies.

Financial information alone isn’t enough

Ten years ago, the top global risks in terms of impact and likelihood didn’t include social or environmental issues. Today they make up four of the top five. For years, companies weren’t equipped to address those risks and investments decisions were made without taking this key information into account.

But times have changed. Understanding non-financial risks and opportunities is critical for the success of individual businesses and the financial community at large. Mario Abela, director of Redefining Value at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) believes finance professionals need to identify the full array of possible risks and opportunities – including those that relate to non-financial and intangible aspects of the business – to create longer term value for business, society and the environment.

Assurance for more reliable non-financial information

Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe CEO points out: “In the era of fake news, the trustworthiness of information determines its value and impact. NFI needs to be reliable to strengthen confidence in companies and in markets.”

“With their experience in reporting and technical assurance, professional accountants assist companies to focus on long-term horizons and value creation for the business and its key stakeholders” emphasises Boutellis-Taft. Via reporting and assurance, accountants help build a financial system that supports sustainable economies.

Business and accountants teaming up

As NFI is becoming increasingly important for investors and other stakeholders, the demand for assurance on NFI is growing. Providing independent assurance on the NFI reported enhances its quality and reliability. Due to different levels of maturity in NFI reporting, professional accountants approach NFI assurance engagements in different ways. A practical business perspective is indispensable to making assurance on NFI reporting a reality. Accountancy Europe and the WBCSD have thus combined their expertise from business and professional accountants to contribute to sustainable finance in Europe.

See our joint paper Responding to assurance needs on non-financial information based on our expert workshop on the practical challenges of NFI assurance.

See more on our work on NFI and assurance:

Related content

NewsCall to action in response to climate change

6 March 2020

PublicationResponding to assurance needs on non-financial information

15 May 2018

EventWorkshop on Assurance over Non-Financial Information

6 December 2017

PublicationHow to respond to assurance needs on non-financial information

5 October 2017

PublicationDisclose what truly matters

28 November 2016

EventBecause Green Recovery Counts

27 January 2022

UpdateSustainability

14 January 2022

UpdateSustainability

9 December 2021

In the mediaSustainability reporting: why should SMEs care?

3 December 2021

EventHow to build a credible green bond market

1 December 2021

NewsSustainability will never do without governments

26 November 2021

PublicationAudit facts: what you need to know on audit, auditors and supervision

22 November 2021

Consultation responseEU Taxonomy and Article 8 Delegated Act implementation need clarity

17 November 2021

Consultation responseIASB’s Exposure Draft: Management Commentary and EFRAG’s Draft Comment Letter

15 November 2021

NewsTime to deliver on high quality sustainability reporting

12 November 2021

UpdateSustainability

4 November 2021

PublicationFAQs on sustainability information assurance

3 November 2021

PublicationNon-audit services and auditor’s independence

2 November 2021

Podcast There’s no creation like co-creation: sustainability reporting standards

28 October 2021

EventMembers’ Engagement Day

20 October 2021

EventEarly Warning Europe Day

28 September 2021

NewsReporting Beyond the Financials: Sustainability on the Books

24 September 2021

Consultation responseEC’s proposal of an EU standard for green bonds

22 September 2021

UpdateSustainability

14 September 2021

Consultation responseEFRAG’s consultation paper – due process procedures for EU sustainability reporting standard-setting

14 September 2021

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required
Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?
On which topics would you like to receive news?