A total of 32 winners in different categories were announced out of a field of 48 participating organisations (see below for full list of winners) at the 2020 National Annual Corporate Report Awards (NACRA) jointly organised by Bursa Malaysia Berhad (Bursa), Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA).
Now in its 30th year, NACRA 2020 continues to be a force for spurring continuing excellence and improvement in corporate reporting in Malaysia, in line with its evergreen theme, “Towards Accountability & Excellence”. Every year, NACRA guidelines are reviewed and enhanced to ensure that the standards and quality of the production of annual reports are in line with current requirements and the latest global developments. Earlier in 2020, NACRA introduced a new framework which integrates elements of sustainability and integrated reporting in line with evolving expectations.
Reflecting the pandemic zeitgeist, the awards presentation ceremony was held virtually. In congratulatory message, Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, Chairman, Bursa Malaysia highlighted the impact of COVID-19 and ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues on disclosure. “During this unprecedented health crisis, it has become more important for investors and shareholders to be kept apprised of the company’s financial condition, as well as the associated risks and outlook. This will help investors in determining their choice of action and in making informed investment decisions.”
He expects the focus on sustainability to accelerate as “this pandemic has proven the viability of the ESG agenda for both stakeholders and investors,” with investors pouring a record 12 billion dollars into ESG funds in the first four months of 2020 and 70% of ESG funds for all asset classes outperforming their competitors.
Dr Veerinderjeet Singh, President of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) stated that enhancing corporate disclosure and reinforcing its use as a tool for communications, stakeholder engagement and comparison will ensure that corporate and financial reporting remains ever relevant, despite the changes in the business and economic landscape. “This in turn improves the demand for accountancy as the primary provider of corporate and financial reporting and enhances the long-term demand for accountancy services and the ensuing sustainability and resilience of the profession.”
En Ahmad Zahirudin Abdul Rahim, Chairman, NACRA 2020 Adjudication Committee explained the salient changes in the new NACRA 2020 framework, which include streamlining the adjudication process from two stages to just one and assessing companies’ annual reports against their peers within the same tier of market capitalisation. “Beginning with the NACRA 2020 awards cycle, companies competing for the Excellence Awards will be subdivided according to different tiers of market capitalisation.”
Notwithstanding the changes to the framework, there was an overall high standard of presentation of annual reports among the entries, with strong contenders from new entries as well. “The Committee and the panel of adjudicators had a challenging task in selecting the winners, as they were of a very high quality,” said Ahmad Zahirudin.
Other than affecting disclosure trends and expectations, the COVID 19 pandemic and compulsory social distancing norms required NACRA to adapt its organisational and logistical matters. Stanley Teo, Chairman, NACRA 2020 Organising Committee explained that the submission deadline had been extended from 29 May 2020 to 15 July 2020, in parallel with the extension of time granted by Bursa Malaysia on the filing of annual reports with financial year-ends of 31 December 2019 to 30 June 2020. The annual physical NACRA 2020 Awards Presentation Dinner was also cancelled and participation fees revised due to the dinner cancellation.
NACRA is open to all companies incorporated or registered in Malaysia as well as the public sector and other organisations established in Malaysia.