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Beyond financial statements: narrative reporting on value creation

The growing attention devoted to the sustainability of a firm’s business model and to social and environmental impacts of a company’s operations, has led to the establishment of teams and committees devoted to communication about sustainability and value creation by several entities. Professionals in those roles are required to have interdisciplinary competences and basic knowledge of the aims and structure of narrative reporting in order to develop adequate non-financial communication practices in the annual report.
The course aims to offer basic understanding of narrative reporting. As such, it integrates traditional financial accounting classes, which focus on financial accounting standards, on the content of the financial statements, and financial statement analysis. The course also complements corporate communications classes and courses about strategy, value creation, and sustainable development by illustrating how those issues can be represented in companies’ reports. Hence, the course could be useful for students in the field of accounting and for students in the fields of management and communication. Narrative information allows managers to convey information on aspects related to value creation mechanisms, sustainable development, and social and environmental impacts of the business to a variety of stakeholders, including investors, employees, local communities, and governments. For this reason, narrative reporting is receiving great attention by companies and regulators, and several frameworks for narrative communication, such as GRI, Management Commentary, and Integrated Reporting framework, have been developed in recent years. The course will also provide students with the skills to read and analyze the content of narrative reports. The capability to read narrative reports can help users of financial statements understand a business and provide context to financial numbers to make investment decisions. In this context, managers need to address issues related to narrative reporting to satisfy different stakeholder informative needs. In order to be credible, managers should also pay attention to the information conveyed through narratives. Academic prerequisites Students should have basic knowledge of financial accounting.

Exam info and full course description

Exam info and full course description can be found in the course catalogue.

Admission Requirements

Course specific:

A Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration or a related degree


Exchange students: nomination from your home university

Freemovers: documentation for English Language proficiency

You can read more about admission here.


Lorenzo Simoni


Academic profile

Lorenzo Simoni is a Research fellow in Accounting at the Department of Economics and Business Studies at the University of Genoa. His main research interests are related to financial and non-financial reporting, with a focus on business model reporting, risk reporting, non-financial key performance indicators, and earnings quality.