In December 2013, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) proposed an outline framework for an Integrated Report. Despite the significance of this development, we currently know little about it, and even less about the views and opinions of preparers towards it. Building on Sztompka’s (1999) theory on trust in social relationships, we explore the sources of trust as employed by the IIRC and its partners to enrol preparers into the IR initiative – and how preparers reacted to the latter. We especially interview preparers who influence the production of corporate reports such as the Integrated Report. Preparers are often suspicious of the motives of the IIRC professionals and express concerns about the performance and appearance of the Integrated Report. They tend to believe that the composition of the IIRC Board impairs the credibility of the Integrated Report and negatively influences their trust of this initiative. Furthermore, preparers are concerned about the credibility of a single report and seem uncertain of the benefits or the beneficiaries of IR. Finally, preparers report problems stemming from a lack of adequate and clear guidance, high preparation costs, the format, and the length of the report. They believe these undermine the IR’s credibility. Our study thus contributes to the ongoing debate on the importance of trust in the marketing of new professional initiatives. It reveals that the reshaping of the IR’s principles was a result of the IIRC’s endeavour to expand its accounting expertise territory within a fragile nexus of trust relationships.
- AF Accountability Sustainability and Governance
- Integrated reporting