How have Annual Reports developed? After fairly stable reporting trends 2000-2013, why was there a seismic shift in 2013? What are the threats and opportunities as we move into 2016?
On the 30th September we attended the influential “Evolution of the Annual Report” conference hosted by Communicate magazine at The Brewery in London.
Focussing on a number of themes, from Integrated Reporting to long-term sustainability; and from engaging with a broader audience to sweeping changes in digitisation.
Lack of vision in long term report
It’s critical to understand (and avoid any confusion) between what the Board talks about and how it’s reported to shareholders. Board packs can be up to 1,000 pages long and the “can’t see the wood for the trees” effect can cause issues in reporting.
The aim is to merge conventional reporting with a long term view of a company’s viability and sustainability. It may take three reporting cycles to achieve this and to integrate thinking across a whole company is not just a challenge but an opportunity.
Digitisation provides huge opportunities for companies to engage better with their audiences, so understanding your audience – which changes from institutional investors to private retail investors – and their needs is critical.
45% of FTSE 100 only use PDFs of the printed Annual Reports on their IR sites; with 70% of AIM companies and almost all Main List companies using Smart PDFs.