How to?

Take part? Submit annuals? Have your report checked?
Best annual reports 2016

> Participate in our Annual Report on Annual Reports competition
> Get access to online versions or receive copies of past issues of the Annual Report on Annual Reports
> Get a quick overview of your report strengths and weaknesses (Report Scan)
> Get your reports evaluated, compared, benchmarked
> Use the logo as a badge of report value
Annual report submission deadline: June 1

Ten reasons for taking part in the Annual Report on Annual Reports

➢ Valuing reporting team’s work.

The preparation and publication of an annual report is a task than can consume hundreds of man-hours of valuable staff and advisers’ time and thousands of dollars, euros, yens… from company budgets. The process of preparing an annual report has a value that is independent of the published document. It is often difficult to judge internally how much is enough in such an area. An external perspective is therefore very useful.


➢ Praising investor relations and corporate communication managers’ investment of time and effort.

"Despite the numerous obituaries about the annual report, many companies still see the real value of delivering this annual message for communication and education purpose, and investor expectation setting." (Rob Berick, Falls Communications, U.S.)


➢ Rating the annual report independently and internationally.

“We are taking part in various annual report and investor relations competitions, but the one we take more seriously is the Annual Report on Annual Reports for its accuracy, balanced assessment, and a real international exposure." (A Canadian IR officer)
“The Annual Report on Annual Reports is a real international competition… without those big self-glorifying national celebrations and glitzy awards." (A financial communication manager in a blue-chip German company)


➢ Going beyond compliance only.

Publishing an annual report is mandatory for listed companies. However, as the then CEO of Canadian BMO bank (singled out a few times for its reporting practice) once wrote in his annual report message: “Reporting is not just about complying.”


➢ Showcasing year performance and medium-term strategy.

A recent survey conducted among buy-side investors worldwide by U.S.-based Rivel Research showed the clarity of business strategy and growth potential as the two major aspects considered for long-term investment. The annual report remains the principal document for presenting both past year performance and strategic objectives and their execution in a medium- to long-term perspective. By placing as much emphasis on strategic aspects as on last year items, the Annual Report on Annual Reports provides a balanced assessment of companies’ real fundamentals –the ones often missed in short-termist views of performance.


➢ Comparing reporting features with competitors and peers.

Having company reporting efforts and output evaluated is good, having these compared with competitors and peers is even better. Competitive analysis and comparisons have long stood among the plus points of the Annual Report on Annual Reports.


➢ Keeping up with best practice and latest report trends.

Spotting good, better and best practice is a net result of the Annual Report on Annual Reports scanning, scoring and rating process. Besides, as reporting is not only a static mandatory job but also has its own dynamics, it is worth watching recent and upcoming trends.


➢ Keeping existing shareholders in and/or attracting new investors.

According to reliable sources (e.g. PR Newswire), two-thirds of investors say that they read annual reports of companies in which they own stock. A majority of potential investors still consider the annual report as a primary source of information about a company. The annual report “has a huge online audience and (is) capitalized on by companies to communicate a strong message to attract investors and solidify shareholder confidence in the long run,” says Renee Carter, an Australian communication specialist).


➢ Lowering the cost of capital.

Research by C. Botosan and M. Plumlee (Accounting Review) and R. Fu, A. Kraft and H. Zhang (Erasmus, Rotterdam; Cass Business School, London; Nanyang Business School, Singapore) have found that the cost of equity decreases in the annual report disclosure level. Matters such as financial analysis, cash flows, risk management, internal controls et al., if reported fairly and properly have an effect on firms’ cost of capital (see e.g. H. Ashbaugh-Skaife, D. W. Collins, W. R. Kinney, R. LaFond; 2006). A significant number of CFOs and FDs believe that greater disclosure in reporting may increase the availability of capital or reduce its cost.


➢ Striving for higher standards.

Last but not least, the Annual Report on Annual Reports as a whole -in addition to e.com report evaluation services- allows report managers, makers, advisers, designers… to make progress on future reports and strive for higher reporting standards.

Files

Annual Report on Annual Reports

Report of the month

June 2016: UPM

Financial sector annual reports

Evaluation - Competition

Annual reports from the financial sector are no longer selected for the Annual Report on Annual Reports competition for consistency, comparability and credibility reasons. That does not imply that there are not (sometimes very) good and improved reports in the sector. On a customized basis, e.com keeps on evaluating and benchmarking financial sector reports.

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The report scan

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A KINGPIN WITH A FEW HATS

Mike 4 faces

e.com's co-founder and ReportWatch kingpin Mike Guillaume wears a few hats, including financial reporting specialist and international economist, and has therefore good vantage points for monitoring companies, reports and management; as well as for watching economies and economics work (or not). Learn more about Mike's experience and expertise here. Read about Mike's work and views, including his recent book "The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism", on www.mikeconomics.net.