In Scope

Building the Best in Corporate Reporting: The 2017 CR Awards

Works Principal Lorie Brière os photographed in her office.

“In an ever-evolving and complex global economy, organizations must adapt to changing expectations and new environments while remaining accountable for their financial, social and environmental impact,” says Joy Thomas, president and CEO of CPA Canada. “We applaud all of the CR award winners as well as the dedicated judges who assessed the entries for playing an active and significant role in advancing corporate reporting in Canada.”

In November, 27 organizations were named finalists for the 2017 Awards of Excellence in Corporate Reporting (CR Awards), presented annually by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). With a legacy of more than 65 years, the CR Awards are like the Oscars of corporate reporting for nerds like us – and tomorrow, representatives from our team will join nominees (which include our clients BMO, Canadian Tire, Goldcorp, Maple Leaf Foods and EDC) at the gala ceremony to announce the winners and to celebrate CPA Canada’s commitment to enhancing the quality of corporate reporting. With that in mind, we wanted to take the opportunity to sit down with our very own veteran judge and talk about what makes the CR Awards such a valuable program to our community.

A disclaimer: yes, reports that The Works helped produce are among the final nominees and yes, Lorie Brière and our very own Wesley Gee helped judge some of the entrants, but make no mistake, CPA Canada ensures that there is no conflict of interest. “We have a judging Code of Ethics that ensures fairness in the process. In any case where a judge discloses a direct personal or professional involvement with an entrant, they are reassigned to a submission where they have no connection with the subject matter being judged,” says Bernie Sutton, manager of CPA’s National Awards.

Goldcorp's "Materiality" matrix displays both relative priorities on an interactive matrix, and how important each of the issues is to a range of stakeholders.
Goldcorp earned the Award of Excellence in Sustainability Reporting last year, recognized for its “top-in-class narrative” that clearly connected the company’s corporate strategy with sustainability and its strong focus on materiality. Goldcorp also took home the 2016 Award of Excellence in Corporate Reporting – Mining.

That’s not to say that we don’t have a stake in the program itself. “The CR Awards support our view that quality reporting is key to sustainable business. We exist to help companies communicate, and being a part of a process that encourages improvements in the way organizations inform their investors is an extension of our service,” Lorie says of our participation.

Having served as a judge for over 12 years, Lorie is excited by the rapid evolution of electronic financial disclosure in the last few years: “Since the option for notice-and-access was made available, companies have become increasingly innovative in the ways that they share their financial information. When I’m evaluating the entrants, I’m no longer looking at a single report. I look at a company’s complete investor briefcase, from analyst-focused landing pages to webcasts and, more recently, performance databases.”

Intact's 2016 Online Annual Report features an an underwriting performance tool.
Intact Financial’s 2016 AR was given last year’s Award of Excellence in Electronic Disclosure. Judges touted the online report as being a “beacon of innovation” with an underwriting performance tool that made conducting valuation and analysis as simple as a click of a mouse.

Win or lose, every entrant walks away with a prize: a comprehensive report card with constructive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their reporting. This robust assessment contains valuable consultation from subject matter experts who evaluate reports according to their integration with financial statements, completeness and materiality, forward-looking orientation, strategic perspective and overall usefulness. “It is heartening to receive feedback from entrants about how the program helps them make year-over-year improvements in their reporting,” Bernie says of the program. The CPA also publishes a Judges Book, which features insights from the winning companies and examples on how to produce a leading report.

Congratulations to all of this year’s CR Awards finalists and a big thank you to CPA Canada for making this important program such a pleasure to be a part of! We’ll see you at the gala.

Alex Berry

Alex is part of our writing team and specializes in digital content ranging from social media and blogs to video scripts and SEO strategy. She bikes to work every day, rain or shine – and for that, people call her hardcore. You can find her on Twitter at @imallyberry.

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