Is it time to change the system? - What do you think?

Before you ask the question being posed, it's not about the 4-4-2 formation of the English team which so sadly came unstuck against Germany last weekend. But while we're on the subject, for most English supporters the real surprise is that we are surprised by the lamentable performance of our team. History suggests we got lucky in 1966, since which time we have had an expectation at each World Cup way beyond our ability. One can but dream but put simply we lack the level of skill needed to win on the big stage. As with many aspects of life hard graft and effort gets you so far but it typically never quite delivers.

In fact the system I was referring to was the one that has been created to oversee corporate reporting. Less energy and emotion and less newsprint is devoted to this system but arguably it's under a similar level of pressure as the England team and its manager. Is the reporting system working for all its players and those that consume its output? Is it counting the cost of history and a similar inability to move with the times?

Some of you may have seen the article in last Thursday's Financial Times entitled “G20 could push corporate reporting reform” which reported that three leading organisations – PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the UK ‘think tank’ Tomorrow’s Company – have come together to conduct a global inquiry into what changes are needed to make corporate reporting ‘fit for purpose’. This failing is exacerbated by the pace of change of business today, with a plethora of new challenges impacting long-term success, including the credit crunch, a shift in the global balance of power, resource constraints and climate change.

As a first step the group are making a "call for evidence" among interested parties and stakeholders, which, as the FT described it, “is seeking to get international buy-in to overhaul corporate reporting in the light of the crisis. Their questions are broad-ranging but the target is sensible”.

The call for evidence will run for the next few months and I would encourage you to input your views and ideas on the following questions via [email protected]
• What are the weaknesses and strengths in the current system?
• What are the barriers obstructing the evolution of corporate reporting?
• What solutions would you propose to rectify these weaknesses?

The call for evidence will be followed by a series of dialogues with stakeholders, to be held in New York, London, Paris, Brussels and Asia.

The current intention is to produce a preliminary report by the end of the year so as to coincide with the work of the Accounting for Sustainability Group to lobby the G20 for the creation of a new International Integrated Reporting Committee to oversee the development of a new reporting model. 

While I'm the first to recognise the size of the challenge of changing corporate reporting and the system that supports it, a bit of me thinks it might be an easier play than sorting out the England team…let's see!

As always I am pleased to hear your views and comments on the postings and to take questions about corporate reporting.