See Bios and Methodologies to gain some understanding as to these aspects of the books.
The project started in 2012 with looking at ethical considerations of financial reporting. Much has changed to the regulations and auditing requirements since but back then…. Tax avoidance seemed to be an interesting area. But then Starbucks voluntarily paid an amount greater than they strictly had to. So it was clear the shareholder and wider stakeholder environment had changed. Tax avoidance was no longer quite so acceptable. PwC initially extended much help, later withdrawn. We developed what we called hybrid reporting – several reports rather than just one report. We canvassed opinion. Financial reporting was expanding into Corporate Reporting and the newish Integrated Reporting, which we think has taken a few wrong turns. Integrated reporting was the antithesis of our preferred hybrid reporting – where different users/stakeholders would look at that relevant bit of the total report that they found useful.
The FRC was then very helpful but we had some great reservations. After talking to a cross-section of users of financial reports it become clear that there was much dissatisfaction. So we extended our evidence gathering in a more systematic way. Then the Tesco scandal happened and that led to a greater examination of external auditing – the final external check and balance for financial regrets and in particular the annual report.
More collection of evidence gave rise to deep seated issues especially with the expanding narrative sections of the annual report and changing standards and valuation principles. The financial reporting and auditing regulations yielded their own special breed of insoluble problems (such as reducing the choice for one of the Big Four). Finally Carillion confirmed that this was an accident waiting to happen. So we expanded the gathering of evidence and the subject matter.