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Economic development in the eastern European countries arrived to a point, what happened earlier in the old EU states, where SMEs need to work together with large, multinational companies, need investments from different finance providers and other stakeholders and need to internationalise themselves. To comply with these challenges, they must build understanding of and trust in their business. To do that they have to communicate a clear, concise story of their value creation process overarching their wholesale business activities. Here comes the story to the holistic corporate reporting approach, which is called Integrated Reporting (IR), a product of integrated thinking on all key elements of the business.
Corporate reporting is not the strong point of SMEs but the above-mentioned needs impose rapid evolution. To display the whole value creation process of the SME, much beyond a financial report, is indispensable for building investors’, finance providers’ and other stakeholders’ confidence.
IR is of common use in the world of large national or multinational companies. The original idea of this proposal is to try to derive from this experience the more adaptable elements possible to SMEs and transform them to guidance and training materials for SMEs on IR practical issues. However, preliminary research pointed out that international organisations have been trying and will keep trying to pursue research for elaborating IR frameworks for SMEs. So the members of our partnership got into contact with such organisations: International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), European Federation of Accountants and Auditors for SMEs (EFAA) etc. in order to get access to their results. The members also studied the EU Directive on “Disclosure of non-financing reporting” containing mandatory rules requiring disclosure of non-financial information by large companies.
It was pointed out by the members of our consortium that very different, sometimes conflicting IR frameworks are being proliferated in the world constituting a major impediment to a converging evolution of IR on businesses.
In order to avoid any replications and overlaps with the above-mentioned researches our partnership will not conduct research per se but it will make use of the results produced and to be produced by the mentioned researches. Therefore, our consortium has set out the following major objectives of the proposal:
In order to make the results of this project the more perspicuous possible, the important tangible results are compiled in three Intellectual Outputs.
Another long-term objective of the project is to introduce integrated thinking in the SME population of the countries. This makes the dissemination work package of outstanding importance. The partners’ and also the associated partners’ disseminating capabilities are a token of the success of this long term objective, a result in itself of the project.
The project will start a VET-qualification procedure for IR for SMEs. This procedure will certainly not be finished during the project’s life but to have certified comparability among SMEs’ performances in the long term in Europe is a mayor post project goal and it is necessary to start it within the project’s lifespan.
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