Retvisende CSR Rapportering

Jannet Schrøder Christensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The thesis treats a theoretical analysis of the suitability of the IASB Conceptual Framework and the Danish Company Accounts Act in relation to obtaining a true and fair view of the CSR reports of the companies listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange as well as proposals for improvement, including suggestions for building up a true and fair CSR reporting. The thesis is bounded to the statutory CSR reporting. In order to obtain a true and fair view of the CSR reporting the suitability of the IASB Conceptual Framework and the Danish Company Accounts Act is evaluated in relation to seven measurable attributes defined by the candidate. The measurable attributes are developed on the basis of how financial information obtains a true and fair view in the annual accounts. Measurable attributes are developed for each element forming part of a fair and true view of the Conceptual Framework. These elements consist of the users of the financial statements and the four qualitative characteristics. The measurable attributes indicate what is needed in order to achieve the individual elements, thus giving the information a true and fair view. The candidate assesses that the IASB Conceptual Framework is unsuitable in relation to achieving a true and fair view of the CSR reporting. This is mainly due to the fact that the Conceptual Framework is primarily aimed at financial information, and therefore, levels 3 to 4 of the Conceptual Framework do not function properly as CSR information. Interacting with the Danish Company Accounts Act the IASB Conceptual Framework is an improvement of the starting point (the Conceptual Framework). However, the candidate still estimates that it is unsuitable in order to achieve a true and fair view of the CSR reporting. The interaction between the Danish Company Accounts Act and the IASB Conceptual Framework is an improvement, as the Danish Company Accounts Act – contrary to the Conceptual Framework – includes provisions for non-financial information. The legislation is an improvement with regard to relevance assessment and ensuring understanding of the reporting. This is due to the fact that the estimate of relevance is limited by the statement being considered part of the management report and for the same reason the assumptions of the Conceptual Framework become suitable. However, the legislation still shows signs of weakness with regard to relevance assessment, but particularly in relation to the reliability and comparability of the qualitative characteristics. This is mainly due to lack of specific requirements of contents as well as recognition and measurement criteria. The Danish Company Accounts Act, section 99a (7), makes it possible to report on social responsibility according to the UN Global Compact rules of Communication on Progress. If this option is chosen, the other rules of the Danish Company Accounts Act will be revoked, and the Communication on Progress must follow the UN Global Compact rules. The candidate assesses that the Communication on Progress is unsuitable with regard to achieving a true and fair view of CSR information. The definition of the user of financial statements in the Communication on Progress is wide, and there are no specific requirements of contents or recognition and measurement criteria. Possible measurements for improvement of the legislation are assessed based on the first analysis. Several international standards may potentially improve the legal framework in order to achieve a true and fair view of the CSR reporting. The candidate points out the Global Reporting Initiative, the IASE3000 and the AA1000 series. In the analysis the international standards are compared with cost benefit consideration of the Conceptual Framework. In this perspective, the candidate concludes that it is unrealistic to have a statutory requirement that requires accession to the Global Reporting Initiative and the AA1000 series, including verification through AA1000AS or IASE3000. The argument is that the users and their needs for CSR information will differ among the individual companies. Comprehensive reporting will be suitable for some companies whereas it will not be relevant for other companies. The candidate suggests that an amendment to the act should be made which stipulates that the information that companies choose to include in their statutory CSR reporting must be made according to the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative. In the final partial analysis of the thesis, the candidate presents three solution models for creating a true and fair CSR reporting. These models are based on research in literature of three possible motives that companies may have for making CSR reports.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2010
Number of pages113