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The first challenge is to understand intangible value

The accountants’ report concludes:

‘Our 280 CEOs consider that the first challenge is to understand value – where it comes from and how much there is of it. They see people’s ideas, skills, knowledge and relationships representing the unique value of their companies. The need to measure and manage the human dimension, although difficult, has never been greater if companies are to achieve long-term sustainable success.

One thing we can be sure of in this uncertain world is that people – their ideas and relationships – will be more important than ever before. There is value to be gained by being open and transparent in that it will help organizations build better, more valuable relationships. But, we will have to improve our ability to measure and promote the value that comes from people – because it takes longer sometimes before the value coming from people becomes apparent, and we have to overcome the current emphasis on short-term leadership.’

Interestingly, the accountants drew special attention to the value of the radical transparency of the modern world:

‘Transparency comes in two guises. First, companies can choose an open and honest approach to reporting their activities and may be repaid by winning more trust among investors and other stakeholders. Transparency permits stakeholders a better understanding of the firm’s operations, though it places greater pressure on the firm’s management to produce acceptable results in all facets of their operations.

Secondly, organizations are finding that, despite their best efforts to do so, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep confidential or damaging information out of the public domain, with the outcomes being as damaging to corporate reputations as they are unpredictable. In an age where it seems that nothing is private, CEOs see transparency as a critical driver of growth. But it is also a juggling act as it is not always easy to find the right balance between openness and protecting commercially sensitive information. But ultimately, relationships are built on trust and openness.’

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