Integrated reporting and SMEs in the Digital Single Market

This interdisciplinary (law – economics – accounting - policy) Conference investigates how European legislation on integrated reporting (disclosure on economic-financial, social and environmental matters) can be a tool for SMEs to provide consumers with a set of information that allows them to expand their market share in the Digital Single Market. The Digital Single Market seems indeed to contemplate multiple opportunities for growth, and the European legislator may support this with many actions, but it can also lead to the exclusion of those companies that fail to enter this market. - Responsibles and Scientific Commette: Prof. Carlotta del Sordo and Dr Beatrice Bertarini


Dr Dallai S., Partner at Deloitte Sustainability Services: Sustainability reporting and materiality


The relevance of sustainability matters is increasing, together with the need of available and standardized ESG information related to large, but also small and medium companies. At the basis of the sustainability reporting process we find the concept of “materiality”, the principle that determines which are the relevant topics to be included in the report. The CSRD include the requirement to consider both the social and environmental impact of the company’s activities and how the sustainability topic can affect the performance and development of the companies. That is referred to as the “double materiality” perspective, in which the risks and opportunities to the company and the impacts of the company each represent one materiality perspective.


Dr Harrington G., Manager – Corporate & Stakeholder Engagement at Global Reporting Initiative (GRI): Sustainability Reporting with the GRI Standards


This presentation will look at the role GRI continues to play in the sustainability reporting landscape. An introduction to GRI will be followed by a brief look at the GRI Standards and how organizations around the world use this framework as a tool to better understand and communicate their impacts, on the environment, the economy and society. We will also look at some of the key developments in the landscape, including the recently announced Corporate Sustanability Reporting Directive (CSRD), work with SASB and links to other disclosures (SDGs, BLab, etc).


Prof. Farneti F., Associate professor, University of Bologna, present a paper entitle Directive 2014/95/EU: insights into the auditor’s role by Cristian Carini, Federica Farneti, Monica Veneziani


There has been a growing need for information in the non-financial statement to be verified by an independent assurance services provider for the issuing of a formal assurance statement. Currently in Europe, public-interest entities, are required to issue a non-financial information statement and in certain countries, such as Italy, such companies are also required to provide an independent mandatory assurance report on non-financial information. The aim of the chapter is to gain empirical understanding of how this audit is developed, the process through which non-financial information assurance operates, considering an Italian practitioners’ firm approach to assurance and the content of these audit reports. The study's contribution is to fill the gap in the assurance report preparation process in order to get insights into the reliability and the level of analysis of such reports. Interviews suggests that reporting process is a path that leads to quality non-financial information. The growing importance of non-financial information will affect the assurance that it will face on various aspects in the near future.


Dr Scappini B., Accountant and Consultant on Sustainability reporting at Sustainabilia: The Italian law on benefit corporation & b-corp certification 


Dr Scappini B., Accountant and Consultant on Sustainability reporting at Sustainabilia: Non-financial reporting different frameworks and improving areas


During the Conference we will deepen the features of benefit corporation following the Italian law and the B-corp certification, which are the business opportunities and making a comparison between them. Two main characteristics distinguish these organizations: commitment to social and environmental goals and the pursuit of profit. The Benefit corporation have a corporate purpose aimed at creating a positive material impact on society and the environment. Benefit corporations are required to take into consideration the impact of their decisions, not only on assets, but also on workers, communities and the environment.

In the second part of the Conference, we will observe different frameworks of reporting ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) information in order to be compliant to actual laws, to turn the business model towards sustainable development and to build up a positive company’s reputation.


Prof. Bertarini B., Senior assistant professor, University of Bologna, Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) factors in the EU regulatory framework


The speech will focus on the legal analysis of the importance of ESG factors.

Starting from the relationship that exists between ESG factors and the United Nations 2030 Agenda, it will be analyzed how at European level there has been increasing attention to them over time. The speech will propose references to the Green paper “Promoting a European framework for Corporate Social Responsibility” (18 July 2001, n. 366), and also to the Communication of the European Commission concerning “Corporate Social Responsibility: a business contribution to Sustainable Development” (2 July 2002, n. 347), and then to the Directive 2014/95/EU.

Further references to European Union law will relate to the European Green Deal and the importance that the Commission wishes to attribute to environmental factors in the future through this Communication.


Prof. Wojciech Sadkowski, MA – Assistant, Jagiellonian University: Quality costs calculation in a selected service enterprise in Poland


Research background: Advanced service processes, high customer requirements for the quality of services, and high competition mean that the cost information provided by traditional accounting systems is insufficient to make the right decisions in enterprises. Therefore, it is necessary to implement new cost accounting systems that will provide reliable information on quality-related costs. Quality costs calculation is such a cost accounting provides authentic information about these costs, which can be used as a tool supporting the management process. The implementation of this calculation allows to increase the efficiency of the processes, optimize costs and increase the efficiency of the entire unit.  Purpose of the article: The aim of the article is to present the quality costs calculation, rules for its implementation and estimation of quality costs, as well as an attempt to apply this calculation in a selected service enterprise. Methods: The main research method is the case study. In the conducted research, the procedure of triangulation of research techniques such as: analysis of the literature on the subject, analysis of the content of the documentation of the examined enterprise, observation, analysis of quantitative data and the synthesis of results played a crucial role. The research object was one of the service enterprises operating on the Krakow market. The article was based on literature studies from the fields of accounting, services and quality management. Findings& Value added: The implementation of quality costs calculation in a selected service enterprise made it possible to provide information on quality costs, indicate problem areas, as well as relationships between groups of these costs. The results obtained should constitute the theoretical and practical basis for implementing this calculation in any service enterprise.


Dr Elena Lombardo: Challenges, critical issues and potential hints emerging from the audit of Non-financial statement: an analysis in the Italian context


In recent years, the need of promoting financial stability associated with sustainable development has become global and businesses are asked to link investment decisions to corporate behavior and their reporting. As a consequence, many countries have seen dramatic shifts in the number of companies reporting on sustainability, driven by new laws and regulations and a growing understanding in the finance sector of the power environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have to impact financial performance and corporate value. Furthermore, it has been recognized that financial outcomes alone do not represent companies' business performance and related outcomes. Hence, to understand their output and impact, it is essential to consider both traditional financial and non-financial information (NFI). In this context, the European scenario has moved from a voluntary to mandatory disclosure of NFI in 2014 with the introduction of the Directive that expressly mandated specific requirements on sustainability issues and the disclosure of NFI to authorities starting from 2017, requiring to disclose non-financial statement (NFS). The Directive has been transposed in the Italian context through the Legislative Decree 254/2016 that states the need for control over the non-financial information. While the Directive does not focus on the need of assurance providers, it leaves on Member States to legislate about that. In Italy the D.Lgs. 254/2016 requests the auditors’ supervision on the content of the NFS for all public interest entities (PIEs) of certain size (number of employees, balance sheet and revenues).  Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to enhance our understanding of the conceptual foundations of assurance and provide an overview of the auditors’ perspective in the Italian context regarding the Directive 2014/95/EU and the D.Lgs. 254/2016. It aims to facilitate a discussion of the challenges and the role of assurance in light of this new scenario. The study explores aspects regarding the audit of non-financial information, addresses current challenges and brings potential hints and drivers of change. Two research questions are addressed: RQ1. What are the main critical issues in the audit of NFS, from the auditors’ perspective? RQ2. What are the potential hints and drivers of changes, regarding these issues? Thus, answering these questions, this study seeks to extend current research and promote an informed discussion of the challenges and the role of assurance within an increasingly complex and fragmented reporting regulatory landscape.