The advantages of Core & More reporting
To stakeholders, a clear insight into an organization’s strategy and performance is essential. Corporate reports are there to provide that insight. Research by Accountancy Europe, however, shows that the format, content and functionality of corporate reports do not necessarily match stakeholders’ information needs. This calls for a smarter way of corporate reporting.
The paper ‘Core & More, An Opportunity For Smarter Reporting’ by Accountancy Europe presents a potential solution. In this article, I will explain what ‘Core & More’ entails and what the four main advantages are. Also, I will clarify why a ‘digital first’ publication process simplifies Core & More reporting.
What does Core & More entail?
In essence, Core & More is a presentation concept (figure 1), a new way of communicating relevant corporate information. However, Core & More is not just about format. It also aims to create a more coherent content that is targeted to more specific target groups, helping the organization to strengthen its positioning.
Core & More reporting consists of two elements:
1. A ‘Core’ report, presenting a summary of the most relevant and material organizational information, both financial and non-financial. The Core rapport is aimed at a general public and limited in size.
2. ‘More’ reports, offering more detailed information. These may deal with specific subject matters, be aimed at a particular target group, or deal with legal guidelines.
Technology is the driving force behind the Core & More concept: the ‘Core’ report is an interactive online report that is linked to other ‘More’ reports. In a second layer, these are made available to specific target groups and in different (digital) formats. E.g. in HTML, PDF, or a structured data format such as iXBRL. These publications are inter-hyperlinked to present a coherent information context. In this way, digital technology contributes to greater insight and availability of relevant corporate information to a wider audience.
Advantage no. 1: Core & More strengthens positioning
Increasing legislation and influence of reporting frameworks and benchmarks have led to even more extensive corporate reports – making it hard for many stakeholders to filter out relevant information quickly from a corporate report.
Core & More reporting enables you to better inform these stakeholders by means of targeted communications on strategic matters. As a result, the organization’s positioning is strengthened for the target groups in question.
Advantage no. 2: Core & More improves connectivity
A much-heard phrase – also within Integrated Reporting – is ‘connectivity’. This refers to the logical relationship between different types of strategic information such as material issues, targets, risks, activities, KPIs and results.
Core & More reporting aims to improve this connectivity. Individual and stand-alone reports are presented through interactivity, in a more logical and more coherent way. The improved connectivity results in greater insight – and hence relevance – of corporate reports.
Advantage no. 3: Core & More is more user-friendly
Core & More turns corporate reports into a coherent digital media mix, focusing on the different types of users. A distinction is made between light, medium and heavy users. The Core report is aimed primarily at light and medium users – i.e., at a broad target group. At this level, the content is characterized by interactivity, storytelling and data visualization. The 'More' reports are mainly intended for heavy users (often professionals) or specific target groups. At this level, the content may also be interactive, but is often more substantial and more data driven. This enables stakeholders to quickly zoom in on components that match their specific information needs.
Advantage no. 4: Core & More is more efficient
Core & More leads to more efficient corporate reporting. Many corporate reports suffer from an information overload and show an overlap with other reports. The Core & More concept aims to minimalize this. The Core report is brief and links to more specific and detailed information. Information that can be reused is referred to by using hyperlinks. This contributes to a more efficient reporting process that is also less sensitive to errors.
Digital first reporting: the basis of Core & More
Using a single online platform, online first reporting publishes content both on online channels and PDFs. The advantage that this method offers is completely in line with Core & More reporting.
As its name suggests, Online First provides a working method that puts digital communication central. This means that it is much easier to produce an interactive Core report.
A high-quality digital first reporting platform also allows you to centrally store financial and non-financial information from various sources. In the central database, the content is enriched, formatted and made interactive. Then, the content is published on various channels. Duplications are avoided and, as only a single version is used as the basis, the data remain unambiguous. All this enables you to publish and link More reports safely and efficiently.
Core & More meets a definite need among creators as well as users. All the same, it is no ‘off the peg’ concept. Experiments and innovations are needed to find out what works best.