Opinion: Why you should treat your CSRD data as you would your financial data

The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) brings with it a range of new requirements for large organizations and listed SMEs. But by applying processes already in place for financial data, you’ll be off to a strong start, writes Impero’s Business Development Director Jeanne Koch Rasmussen.

If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done.

Spend any time around an auditor or someone in compliance and you’ll hear that said. While demands and regulations can shift the scope of auditors and compliance teams, the fundamental principle of solid documentation always rings true.

So as 50,000 large organizations and listed SMEs grapple with the practicalities of the EU Green Deal, and the CSRD that means the largest companies must start reporting in the financial year 2024, there are guideposts in good systems and reliable documentation.

The disclosure requirements and data points might be complex, but there’s no reason your process – or some spreadsheet you retrofit for CSRD – needs to be.

Jeanne Koch Rasmussen
Business Development Director, Impero

It starts with focusing on what matters to your company. Assess the materiality across sustainability topics to define what you should report on.

Next you have an understanding of which reporting requirements your company is subject to. That forms a starting point by clarifying what information you need, and automating the way you gather it, you can create a smooth and agile process to meet these requirements every year.

Then comes the part you’re probably dreading – the information gathering. But this is where the lessons from financial data gathering can bear fruit. Make it simple for your team to answer and to document disclosure requirements with a checklist that not only makes sure the job gets done, but also creates efficiency from the outset.

This process will identify gaps and empower your team to address those gaps over time. Finally, you’ll need insights and reports. With this system in place, you can easily track your progress, store documentation all in one place, and guarantee clear audit trails.

Or to put it another way, it is about ensuring solid documentation of your reporting requirements prior to the increasing scope of audits, exactly as is the case with financial audits.

The question is whether your spreadsheet can keep up with it?

CSRD Simplified

CSRD in 6 steps - Everything you need to get started

Introducing CSRD Simplified – an agile, easy-to-use solution from Impero.

It cuts through complexity to help you make sense of the new requirements, and align your processes and actions to get the job done.