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Can financial auditing concepts be transferred to the audit of non-financial and sustainable information in an Integrated Report?

  • In the wake of global warming, consumers and companies are increasingly attaching importance to a more sustainable performance. Nowadays, this performance is often disclosed in so-called Integrated Reports, which focus on sustainable and non-financial information. However, the problem is that there are still no uniform accounting and auditing standards for disclosing such information. For this reason, this work aims to investigate whether one can apply traditional financial auditing concepts to the audit of sustainable and non-financial information in an Integrated Report. To answer the research question, qualitative research was conducted through an expert interview with staff from the Climate Change and Sustainability Services department at Ernst & Young Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschafts GmbH. The focus was on four key audit concepts: Understand the Business, Determining Materiality, Accounting Estimates, and Identification of Fraud Risk. In addition, this research examined how the traditional job description of the auditor will change in the future, considering the increasing importance of sustainable and non-financial information. The research results showed that the financial audit concepts often serve as the basis for auditing non-financial and sustainable information. However, it was also found that transfer was not possible in some places. This was due to the lack of taxonomy, processes, or difficulty in quantifying qualitative information. In addition, research made it possible to identify new risks, such as the creation of new incentives through variable compensation linked to sustainability performance. Furthermore, challenges, and opportunities for the future of the Integrated Report and suggestions for the application of the concepts, could be elaborated.

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Author:Alina Straub
Advisor:Markus Hoch
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2021
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Release Date:2021/08/11
Tag:Financial audits; Integrated reports
Page Number:114
Degree Program:IBW - Internationale Betriebswirtschaft
Functional area:Finance & Accounting
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt