Article Review


Villiers, C, Rinaldi, L & Unerman, J 2014, ‘Integrated reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol.27, no.7, pp.1042-1067.

Description of the Article

Villiers, Rinaldi and Unerman (2014) synthesises a deep understanding from accountability and accounting research into the swiftly emerging field of integrated reporting. Drawing from academic insights and analysis provided in the emergent integrated reporting academic literature, the authors assess the theme of integrated reporting. According to the authors, integrated reporting is a novel area of practice and policy in both organisational and public policy practices. As a result, it has attracted a great deal of academic attention that calls for the need to understand the application of integrated reporting. The authors assert that studying integrated reporting offers a prospect to study many factors linked to the advancement of accounting regulation over a shorter period. With this in mind, the authors focused on tracing the early development of the current state of integrated reporting and set out a detailed agenda for prospective research. The article is portioned in different sections that highlight the development of integrated reporting. The authors studied the antecedents of integrating reporting where they assessed the relationship between managements’ strategic propositions, reporting systems, organisational control systems and performance measurements. They discussed the four blueprints that include the Triple Bottom Line, Balanced Scorecard, Sustainability and more essentially the Integrated Reporting.

Integrated Reporting forms a major part of the analysis with the authors ascertaining that Integrated Reporting offers a more holistic picture that interacts material social, economic and environmental actions and effects. The article provides the Danish pharmaceutical company as one of the pioneers of integrated reporting. The integrated reporting underscores a firm’s social, economic and environmental actions, upshots, opportunities and risks in a way that mirrors the integrated temperament of these aspects for the organisations. The integrated report offers a concise communication pertaining to how a firm’s strategy, prospects and performance in the milieu of external environment create value over a short, long and medium term. Besides highlighting the antecedents of integrated reporting, the article underscores the pioneers of integrated reporting where they mention South African King Commission and Novo Nordisk as the key pioneers. This followed the regulatory development in integrated reporting that saw the establishment of IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council). According to the authors, the IIRC’s integrated reporting blueprint brings together social, governance, financial and environmental information in a consistent, comparable, clear and concise format. Integrated reporting promotes the use, access and the degree of dependency of the reporting organisation on different economic, social and environmental resources. With regard to the recent development in integrated reporting practices and policies, the authors used numerous countries including South Africa to demonstrate how integrated reporting is gaining attention. Drawing from the review of the literature on integrated reporting, the article confirms a dearth in research in integrated reporting. However, the review of literature indicated that there are numerous areas of integrated reporting that call for further academic investigation. The authors maintain that given the swift development, integrated reporting hold the potential to offer distinct prospect to access several factors of the regulatory process.

The article is of interest to as a student in Contemporary Financial and Integrated Reporting because it demonstrates the swift development of integrated reporting practices and policies, early developments of integrated reporting, empirical and theoretical challenges and underscores areas that need further academic research to guide the development in practice and policy. More so, the article provides me with a clear comprehension of the financial reporting besides a comprehension of the theoretical blueprint of integrated reporting. The article provides insights on how to offer professional quality reports that are key to organisational growth and sustainability. More ssentially, the article enlightens me on the loose ends that need to be tied with regard to contemporary integrated reporting. This gives me motivation to study, research and implement integrated reporting.

Technical Issues

Villiers and associates used systematic review of literature as their methodology. They drew upon academic analysis and insights available in the emergent integrated reporting academic literature alongside policy pronouncements. The research methodology is in line with the problem statement. The authors established a dearth in research concerning integrated reporting notwithstanding the considerable prominence it has gained since its formation in 2010. As a result, they focused on providing a more holistic and more affluent picture into the development of integrated reporting through assessing previous studies and policy pronouncements. Through systematic review, the authors traced the early development and current application of integrated reporting to provide reporting organisations and regulators with valuable insights to facilitate further developing of integrated reporting policy and practice. Although systematic literature review offers a scope for further development in integrated reporting, integrated reporting is quite at an early phase of development, hence reduced existing literature. However, the systematic review methodology has helped the authors to draw concrete conclusions from the previous studies. This methodology offered clear conclusions of what is known about integrated reporting. However, given that the consulted studies were carried out at different times, under different protocols and study designs the findings may not be consistent. The findings through limited to systematic literature and not situational analysis demonstrate the empirical and theoretical challenges of integrated reporting in organisations.

Impact of the Article

The article greatly informs students, organisations and the accounting fraternity with regard to the benefits and limitations of integrated reporting. The provisions of the article are crucial to business organisations and their stakeholders as it provides them with solid foundation upon which to base their reporting. The article provides reporting organisations and regulators with insights that support sound decision-making. The research also provides helpful information to the IIRC that is essential in developing practice and policy around integrated reporting. Overall, the article is crucial, as it would facilitate improvement of the relevance of data for decision-making and for the stakeholders. Additionally, the article provides information that is essential in allowing greater effectiveness in the allocation of financial resources and other resources. Drawing from the insights provided in the article, organizations would desire to implement integrated reporting compelled by a motivation to develop a culture of integration in management and measurement. In addition, IIRC would promote integrated reporting as a way of offering a wider and more linked account of organisational performance.


Villiers, C, Rinaldi, L & Unerman, J 2014, ‘Integrated reporting: Insights, gaps and an agenda for future research’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol.27, no.7, pp.1042-1067.