Identification of Integrated Reporting Indicators in Universities

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Accounting, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran.

4 Associate Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Education and Business, University of Gavle, Sweden.



Objective: This study aims to detect the indicators of integrated reports to identify the specific challenges of higher education. This research examines the content of the reports provided by the universities. It is based on the analysis of report contents provided by several pioneer universities in this field. It seeks to identify types of reports prepared in the universities and to designate the types of reports with more informational content to create an important base for moving towards effective integrated reporting. This study uses content analysis to investigate the disclosure of accounting and non-accounting information. Content analysis is empirically valid in corporate, social, ethical, and environmental reports. The study seeks to identify the framework of integrated reporting in universities and the research questions include 1. In general, what kind of reports are prepared in universities? 2. What is the most complete and comprehensive type of report in terms of disclosure of indicators and information content? 3. What are the components and indicators of integrated reporting in universities? 4. Which indicators have the highest frequency among the reviewed reports? The results of this research can be useful for policymakers and legislators who decide to implement and standardize sustainability or integrated reporting in higher education centers. In addition, the results can be valuable for managers and financial managers in universities who wish to follow such new trends. Also, the findings can serve as a learning process for institutions interested in implementing integrated reporting. In addition, the results of the present study are important for other stakeholders, such as students, academics, etc., to encourage universities to address integrated reporting issues in their reporting because this will increase their impact on society.
Methods: This study was implemented in two phases. Firstly, the texts related to reporting in universities were searched and reviewed, and then a thematic content analysis was done to identify the main topics and themes hidden in the search. This research is designed by exploring the reports submitted by 48 top universities in the field of reporting. These universities prepared 58 different reports based on their needs. The reports include annual, social, impact, financial, and sustainability reports. Purposive sampling was used to select the reports of higher education centers. Therefore, at least 5 top universities from each continent were selected based on the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking Score. In addition, a number of the top universities in the field of reporting, indexed in the GRI database, as well as the reports of universities indexed in the integrated reporting database, were also used to complete the work.
Results: The findings indicated that the components of integrated reporting in universities include 130 indicators: 1) an overview of the organization and the environment in which it operates (34 indicators), 2) Governance (7 indicators), 3) Business model (58 indicators), 4) Risks and opportunities (17 indicators), 5) Strategy (8 indicators), 6) Performance (3 indicators), and 7) Basis for preparing and presenting reports (3 indicators).
Conclusion: The findings confirmed that universities can officially accept an integrated report by combining and integrating different documents into a comprehensive document and creating a single accountability tool. Also, the results showed that some key elements of the international integrated reporting framework are included in university reports, but often in a scattered and non-homogeneous way. Therefore, the findings can be a good basis for developing integrated reporting to improve the reporting methods of universities and strengthen their accountability.


Main Subjects

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