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Digitalisation and sustainability are two megatrends that companies and their departments will have to continue to deal with in the coming years in order to remain fit for the future. Our study "Digitalisation in Accounting" shows that in many companies, however, the two important topics often run side by side rather than intertwining. 

The majority of the companies surveyed still have a low level of digitisation in their non-financial reporting. Only 30 percent of the companies surveyed have digitised at least 50 percent of their reports. 64 percent estimate their level of digitisation to be between 0 and 40 percent. A similar picture emerges for the EU taxonomy.

Lack of data basis for sustainability reporting

Sustainability aspects are increasingly being taken into account in annual reports. The aim is to create transparency about the environmental and social impacts of companies' business activities in addition to purely financial indicators. The survey makes it clear that the data basis for sustainability reporting is still insufficient in many cases. In order to be able to meet the reporting requirements on the environmental, social and governance aspects, detailed data is needed. However, 42 percent of the companies surveyed are not very satisfied with their available data.

Case studies: How companies approach sustainability reporting

For our study, we looked at how companies are dealing with the digitalisation of sustainability reporting. In the interview, the Chief Financial Officer of the car rental company Sixt, Prof. Dr. Kai C. Andrejewski, provides insights into how his company is tackling the challenge. Allianz manager Dr Roman Sauer (Head of Group Accounting and Reporting) also talks in the interview about how the insurance group is working on solutions. 

Blockchain does not play a major role in accounting

Another major topic in accounting is the alignment and homogenisation of system landscapes and internal processes. Companies are now well-positioned in this area – especially thanks to many digitised processes. Compared to last year, an increase in self-service reporting and an increased use of in-memory databases can be observed. Blockchain and virtual reality are still hardly used in accounting.

Increasing digitalisation also means that many employees work from home offices and the resulting data should be protected. This is another reason why the topic of cyber security is becoming increasingly important in accounting. Firewalls, virus scanners and data replication are widespread. Almost all of the companies surveyed use these measures in accounting.

As in previous years, the study was conducted in cooperation with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.