Non-Financial Reporting making UK firms more transparent, say business leaders

Oliver RoweGlobal Sector Head ‑ Leisure & Entertainment
June 07, 2018, 10:11 AM GMT+0

Senior executives in large UK firms believe that new non-financial reporting requirements have made their company more transparent. This is according to 70% of those polled by YouGov in May this year, using YouGov’s new Blue-Chip C-Suite Omnibus, which interviews 100 c-suite decision-makers at the UK’s largest companies.

Larger traded and financial companies in the EU now face a much greater requirement to report non-financial data than ever before. Thanks to new EU regulations (Non-Financial Reporting Directive) the level of disclosure required includes items such as non-financial key performance indicators and a diversity policy. 

YouGov interviewed 100 c-suite decision-makers to ask them how they are dealing with the new requirements for Non-Financial Reporting (NFR). The sample was split between quoted and private firms, some of whom do not actually fall under the new regulations but most of whom have nonetheless decided to try to report an increased amount of non-financial data.

The fact that so many firms feel their NFR reporting is providing increased transparency is critical because we know from other YouGov research that it is a lack of transparency that is so frequently mentioned as damaging the reputation of large firms. External stakeholders frequently cite openness and transparency as the major change they would like to see from large companies.

Clearly the work they are doing is also already becoming reasonably sophisticated as only 35% of respondents in the survey feel their firm’s NFR “is quite basic at the moment”.

Half those interviewed (52%) say they have introduced new KPIs to “ensure we can measure areas now required for non-financial reporting”. Despite this very few, just 7%, are working with more NGOs and charities than previously to provide new NFR metrics for their annual report. It seems that third party assessment or benchmarking is either simply continuing with existing partners and suppliers or perhaps isn’t being done at all.

Something that clearly is being done is speaking to stakeholders. 69% of those surveyed say their firm seeks the views of external stakeholders by using techniques such as opinion surveys and then they report the findings as part of their NFR. Being someone myself who conducts such work on a daily basis for firms this finding is clearly heartening but so is the fact that of the 30% who don’t currently seek their stakeholders’ views almost but one of them believes the instigation of surveys to speak to stakeholders could improve their non-financial reporting.

YouGov already provides stakeholder polling services to many large UK organisations but for more details on how we could help you reach your important stakeholders please contact us.

Data is from YouGov’s new “Blue Chip C-Suite Omnibus”, a quarterly study of c-suite level decision-makers in the UK’s largest firms, recruited from the FTSE350 or private sector equivalent firms. Sample of 100 respondents interviewed by telephone during May 2018.

Image Getty

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