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Financial and “non-financial” disclosures in company’s reports

by Antonio Nisio

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The changes in the role of companies in society and the evolution of relations with the various stakeholders have changed and exacerbate the need for information on the characteristics of the company, on its management and organization, on the relations it develops with the various subjects with whom it interacts and on the positive and negative externalities it creates on society and the environment.

Among the sources of information, the financial statement has a pivotal role. The financial statements provide information on the economic, equity and financial dimension of companies.

Current national and international regulatory developments tend to develop models of corporate reporting with a greater informative scope, foreseeing that they include, in addition to financial data, non-financial information directed at different stakeholders such as, for example, the use of resources, attention to the environment and staff, ethical behavior, the business model and strategic guidelines.

This information can be obtained from reading explanatory documents (in Italy, the Notes to the Financial Statements and the Report on Operations) which are attached to the summary of accounts (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement) and which explain the values contained in the accounts and/or supplement the information provided by them.

The OpenCorporation portal, as part of a wider project aimed at developing more tools for knowledge, participation and action to trade union actors, workers and company representatives, currently presents some of the most significant balance sheet data of about 2300 multinational companies. The reporting value of balance sheet data can be increased through appropriate ratios (balance sheet indexes) or differences (margins). Some of these values are given in the portal.