Since the 2014 Reporting Insights publication, what has changed in the global reporting arena? A few observations in relation to communication are outlined below. Further information can be gleaned from the articles throughout this publication.
- Integrated Reporting continues to gain traction globally, particularly in countries with a requirement to report this way, with a minority of Australian companies following suit.
- Some Australian companies have already moved across to reporting according to the 2013 G4 Guidelines.
- Online/Digital reporting continues to gain traction globally with new technology and innovation featuring in some reports.
- In an effort to make corporate reporting more engaging for stakeholders, augmented reality has been incorporated into some global reports to bring life to still images such as a photo of chairman in the print report linking through to a video message in the online reporting when the print report is scanned by a mobile device.
- Online Reports have begun to trend towards a summary version of the report online, rather than merely duplicating the print report. In some cases, the complete report is reproduced online in addition to the summary version to allow the reader to drill down for further detail without needing to access the PDF. Providing an easy-to-digest online summary ensures readers are able to access key information quickly across all devices.
- There have been some moves to explore reduction of reporting through simplification of reporting content and removal of duplication.
A growing number of reports broaden their scope from factual and financial information – much of it expected to comply with legal requirements – to more strategic content. This goes from developments on present and future company strategy in a special section to medium-term planning (in which Japanese annuals show strengths) or to a better attention to strategic execution. Some reports, but not all, now include a more substantial outlook (e.g. in German reports), and a growing percentage dares committing to next year or medium-term targets.
More reports go beyond the traditional key figures and selected historical data and are more specific about key performance indicators (KPIs) (e.g. in the UK), with many including non-financial indicators.
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility have come to the top of today’s reporting agenda. Issues are either reported separately – and often dealt in an online format – inside or outside the annual report or integrated as a component of business and operations.
Managing Director, e.com and Editor, ReportWatch