Italy’s avant-garde in the Integrated Report

Italy’s avant-garde in the Integrated Report  by Andrea Ragazzini.
 
The Third National Convention “INTEGRATED REPORTING AND INFORMATION BETWEEN GOVERNANCE AND VALUE CREATION”, organized on Friday 23rd February at NIBR (Italian Network Business Reporting) and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, in collaboration with IIRC (International Reporting Council), has debated the role that the economical subjects play in the concrete and widespread significance of the phenomenon of the Integrated Report under several aspects. The meeting has particularly deepened the concrete experiences of four organizations that have undertaken the non-financial accounting for several years and have evolved by publishing it. These testimonies aimed at the individuation of the motivations, organizational and economic benefits and difficulties that these business companies have experienced in their implementation process.
 
Stafer Spa and the Balanced Scorecard
Sara Cirone is the CEO of Stafer S.p.A, one of the local small and medium-sized enterprises with its headquarters in Faenza, specialized in the production and trading of rolling shutters and rolling blinds.
Sara  cirone affirms that she has committed to the world of the intangibles and their application to the reality of a business company for many years. In Stafer S.p.A., she had the chance and the intuition to implement the Balanced Scorecard, a managing instrument for the strategic control, based on the non-financial elements of management, with a strong innovation for the space segment of the business company in the years 2008-2009, given that the main indicators evaluated by the corporate stakeholders at that time regarded primarily economic and financial aspects. Sara Cirone had an education and culture deriving from the humanistic disciplines and human resources management and her activity has involved the integration of the Balanced Scorecard in the quality system of the business company and the application of the principles of corporate sustainability, with the objective to consider the intangible resources and people as the centre of the organizations as individuals. With this process, a phase of deepening on the theme of non-financial resources has begun and aimed at the integration of the accounting data as well as, in the year 2012 after the first encounter with NIBR, the idea of realizing a Corporate Integrated Report. With the previous experience of the evaluation of the intangibles, the implementation of many activities in the management of capitals has already  occurred and the structure of the Integrated Report has elaborated and inserted them in the network of reference. The business company has had a renovation in order to face with success a new process of accounting and has supported a shared change and the decision to overcome this passage derives from the will of the business company to adopt a renowned instrument adhering to an international framework, then introduceable in an international relevant corporate framework in reference to the trading assets. of the business company. The experience of Stafer S.p.A. represents a significant case for a small and medium enterprise of the territory. Beyond the capability to account their value creation, the most critical factors that the small and medium enterprises experience in their business activity is the capability to understand through an integrated thinking, the main assets for the value creation, then to accept them in their reporting system in a systemic and outlined modality. This experience represents a crucial process for all the business companies and it particularly stands out in the small and medium enterprises as an essential turning point for the economic, social and environmental well-being of a business company. The Integrated Reporting is a process leading the business company to the consideration of its specific resources in an integrated modality. This approach ends with the participation of the board and the employees in the life of the business company, thus establishing the capability to value creation in all the time periods. In the small and medium segment enterprises of the territory the employees are corporate key resources. In fact, if we consider big enterprises, every single person in the activity of the business company has a great flexible operational capability. This capability is achievable with the involvement of the people in the operations and with the transmission of the overall corporate vision that everyone, with its work, manages to pursue. In this context, the process of the Integrated Reporting represents a key passage for the realization of this employee’s participation.
 
With the emphasis on these management elements, communities have experienced the phase of this social and sociological change with even more importance. In the opinion of Sara Cirone, the intangibles value of the business companies allows human beings to become more sensitive to immaterial values. For this reason, the non-financial indicators and the immaterial values themselves have become more easily perceived by the corporate communities and the Integrated Report has affirmed its key role in what we call the active participation in the world of business companies. The process we have described goes beyond the concept of the restricted organizational chart that accurately describes the events in the contemporary society, led to advanced and interconnected communication instruments which are open to a structural evolution. Business companies are a centre of life and are populated by citizens that everyday dedicate their time to organizational activities, with the result to be influenced by this social process. In the end, the will to involve all the employees in the participation in the life of business companies focuses towards a more general social objective: the contribution to the diffusion of a participative model that can lead people to actively contribute to the social and national life, that pursues objectives of common benefits exactly as enterprises do.
 
Dellas S.p.A. and the generational change process
Marco Pasquotti is the CFO of Dellas S.p.A., a local small and medium enterprise situated in Lugo di Grezzana, in the territory of Verona. Its specialization is in the production of disks and diamond blades addressed to the industrial use. The experience that Marco Pasquotti has shared and described is the situation of a business company that in 2009 has faced a condition in its sector that was critical for the corporate development to the extent that the generational change in the corporate management should be concluded in two years, also with the choice of an investment in the internalization of the business company with no negative and critical effects on the referenced market. Following this aim, Dellas S.p.A. has undertaken a courageous experience that has led the business company to reorganize its own business model and involves people in the development of the organizational structure. During this phase, the business company has reached the necessity to demonstrate to all its stakeholders the renovated strategic orientation of the business company and this will has made evident the necessity to enhance the corporate accounting, emphasizing all the investments in intangible and tangible strategic factors for the future of the business company. In 2011, the financial accounting has been accompanied by elements that can be called non-financial information. Through these new data, Dellas S.p.A. managed to describe its business model, the corporate information process and all the strategically relevant projects to be implemented. At the same time, Dellas S.p.A. has defined its typical corporate structural values, thus allowing their codification and diffusion to the future generations. The first writing of the corporate reporting was in the years 2013-2014, when the Integrated Report according to the IIRC International Framework was edited. Marco Pasquotti confirms the adoption of this accounting enhanced the corporate reputation and the rating expressed by the stakeholders. The awards, also at international level, were numerous and expressed by clients and suppliers about the important work for the publishing of complete and diversified information. Furthermore, differently from the other years, the employees were newly interested in the corporate accounting and relevant demonstrations of participation of the corporate shared information. For what concerns the individuated difficulties, Marco Pasquotti has indicated two main aspects that have accompanied the business company in the elaboration of a reporting system: on one hand, initially, the management has experienced the worry to diffuse information that were previously considered reserved and that, once communicated, could negatively affects Dellas S.p.A in the market; on the other hand, at the moment of the creation of the working team composed by the main corporate figures and in charge for the elaboration of the Integrated Report, the management adhered to the widespread conception that the elaboration of the Integrated Report was an exclusive competence of the CFO, thus ignoring the organizational implications of the new instrument of the Integrated Report. Dellas S.p.A. faced both the critical points with an efficient plan of information about the integrated accounting with the analysis of the direct external communication effects as well as the corporate cultural and organizational aspects connected with its implementation.
 
C.A.R.A. in Mineo and the benefit for the international community
Giuseppe Caruso, researcher of Business Economy at the University of Catania, is the President of the Consorzio Nuovo C.A.R.A. in Mineo, one of the most important centres of acceptance at international level for Europe. The choice of orienting this structure, at the centre of the public opinion of our country and of all the European countries, represents a uniqueness in the world of corporate accounting, both for the accounting processes to be adopted and the social importance that this structure has for the sustainability of the national and international communities. C.A.R.A. in Mineo is a centre of acceptance that can host 3.000-4.000 immigrants, coming from areas of conflicts and poorness at international level. At this time, Giuseppe Caruso affirms that a relevant difference between the external perceived image (where the mass media communication activity influences public opinion about the centre) and the concrete condition in the structure (where a high level of quality of the services for the guests are guaranteed) is present. In the centre, professionists, employees and people of great preparation (such as social assistants, children assistants, psychologists, international operators) are present. In the light of the activity in the centre, Giuseppe Caruso has conveniently and correctly communicated the value creation obtained with the help of all the employees that everyday spend time and energy in the organization. The international role and significance of the centre in combination with the territory of Sicily for the humanitarian phenomenon of immigration now involving Europe, has led to the urgent necessity to communicate externally the value creation in the structure, that has effects on all the institutional and generic stakeholders, also involving the EU. The accounting activity of the story of value creation through a system of advanced reporting such as the Integrated Report has experienced the relevant and important difficulties, particularly in the organizational profile: the centre is managed by seven diversified business companies, such as the Croce Rossa Italiana and four small social cooperatives that are all under the control of the Ministero degli Interni. The head of the structure are the functional centres of Polizia di Stato, Carabinieri, Esercito Italiano, Guardia di Finanza, Ministero degli Interni, Ufficio Immigrazione della Questura and the Ufficio Immigrazione della Prefettura as well as the co-organization of the activities has encountered relevant difficulties in the data acquisition. The choice to adopt a shared approach in the integrated thinking has allowed to go beyond the communication and information limits. In fact, through a web portal dedicated to the Integrated Report, the activities were coordinated and the Integrated Thinking has been identified as the ideal solution for the elaboration of a definitive accounting. Till nowadays, the C.A.R.A. in Mineo has produced the Integrated Report for 2015 and has been preparing the following for the year 2016, thus confirming that the undertaken experience concretely achieves the benefits that this structure brings to the well-being of international communities.
 
FIGC and the consequences on the economic and social international sustainability
Niccolò Donna is the Responsible of the Centre of Study of the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio, that is the institution for the organization and control of the national activities in connection with the football game. The FIGC represents one of the most important examples of realization of a system of non-financial accounting with application to the sports institutions. The meeting organized by NIBR and Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore represents an ideal moment for testimony and the experience of the Federation in the themes of sustainability and information transparency. In the context of football game in the national and international scenery, a relevant datum is that all over the world 270.000.000 people, such as footballers, coaches, directors and technicians, are directly involved in the activity of this world of sports, thus constituting the 5th imaginary world country populationwise. The institutions connected with the International Federation are more than 2 hundred and about the 50% of the worldwide population resulted To be interested in the football game. The international turnover of this kind of sports amounts to 35 billion euros, with effects on 50% of the overall income of the global sports business and legitimating the football game as the most relevant economic and social sports in the global scenery. In this context, Italia represents one of the main markets, but with structural and objective difficulties. In our country, football game counts 11% of the worldwide members and is characterized as a strongly rooted system in the social national system, considering that 20% of the young boys from 5 to 16 years is a member of FIGC. Italian football game represents a system that gathers a lot of interest of national population: in the chart of the first 50 more viewed events on TV, broadcast by the Italian television, the first 49 are a football event, particularly 49 in relation to the Italian national team. These data show that the football system is an important asset in the Italian country system and that it also presents a very relevant fact on the social perspective, thus representing one of the Italian most important economic fields. The decision to address the Federation towards the diffusion of the Integrated Report derives from the will to maximize the transparency towards all the stakeholders, because a system that can move important resources and so strongly influence the Italian country system needs an adequate information transparency level. This passage is the evolutionary point of an experience inaugurated in 2011, the year when FIGC introduced a social balance. After the elaboration of the following three editions, in 2015 the Federation decided to evolve its own reporting system  in the Integrated Report, also re-proposed in 2016 at its second edition. As Niccolò Donna affirms, if on one hand the social accounting has allowed to evaluate and communicate the impacts of FIGC on the social communities, on the other hand the Integrated Report has allowed to indicate in very precise terms the management strategies, the input capitals, the productive processes and the output capitals of the federal structure. Furthermore, the introduction of the concept of value in connection to the system of reporting has allowed to account the effective value creation in the Federation with the consequential benefit of all its internal and external stakeholders. In order to complete the reporting process, a specific focus group has been initiated in collaboration with the sponsors with the objective of emphasize the main and relevant elements of value creation. This activity made clear that very often the sponsor organizations were in collaboration with FIGC not only for the realizable media and trading visibility, but also for the association in the shared values. A further innovation in the Integrated Reporting, as Niccolò Donna affirms, is referred to the implementation of the SDGs in the structure of the Integrated Report, with the objective to testimony the attention of FIGC for this relevant theme. On the other hand, for what concerns the benefits deriving from the adoption of the Integrated Report, as an instrument of non-financial accounting, Niccolò Donna affirms that the positive feedbacks that the Federation has received for its Integrated Report contribute to strengthen the national self-esteem in direct opposition to the media communication that are often focused on the sports performance and sports business scandals. Richard Howitt has expressed his positive opinion on the activity of accounting of FIGC, defining it as one of the best practices for the accounting in the football field, and, in a wider sense, in the field of worldwide sports organizations. According to Niccolò Donna, if on one side the previous experience of FIGC, in relation to the publishing of the internal management reports and of the social financial statements of the past years, has allowed the internal resources to apply the international Framework of Integrated Report with no particular difficulty, on the other side, the media feedback of this activity is still inadequate. The following step of the Federation should give voice to the used models and emphasize the perception of all the value creation of FIGC for the Italian country system and all its national communities.
 
The route of civilization
In these four realities of our country, the Integrated Report in one of the highly important practices of corporate non-financial accounting, both addressed to the company itself (its people, its community and itself as centre of life) and to its context (its stakeholders and the larger community of reference). As a consequence, we can easily conclude that today the Integrated Report represents a unique practice for the corporate narration in its territory and in the more extended national context, too. In this context of great change in the perception and sensitiveness of business companies at a global level, our country is among the first and well realized examples of the virtuous practice of the Integrated Report as an innovative and strategical instrument for business companies to achieve their goals.
 
In this view, the Integrated Report allows us to progress in the development of civilization.

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