An increasing number of companies are choosing to produce digital versions of their Annual Report & Accounts. This brings with it many benefits, including; maximising shareholder access to corporate information, enhancing companies’ online presence and reducing the environmental impact that high-volume printing can incur.
We decided to carry out research into how the top FTSE 100 companies approach their online reporting and embrace the different options open to them. The types of online reports being produced range from full HTML reports (often hosted away from their corporate site), summarised versions and also landing pages featuring a minimal amount of content.
For the purpose of this study, we have classified the reports into 4 main groups:
Full HTML report:
This is a digital version of the company’s Report & Accounts in its entirety. Most commonly hosted away from their corporate site, it is essentially a self-contained website that is often a duplicate of the printed report.
Summarised HTML report:
This report contains most, but not all, of the information found in the Annual Report & Accounts. It is frequently the Financial statements that have been excluded from this version.
This contains a very summarised version of the Report & Accounts, often pulling out the most engaging information from the report. This is sometimes presented as an Annual Review, reflecting on the previous year and pulling out key successes and other information which may not actually be in the printed version.
A one-page landing page within a corporate website that includes an extremely limited amount of information regarding the report but does usually include the Annual Report & Accounts as a series of downloadable PDF sections.
All information was gathered on 1st December 2014.
The below charts summarise how the FTSE 100 companies are approaching digital reporting. All of the FTSE 100 companies have included a PDF version of their Report & Accounts on their site, however 51% of these also have some form of online/ HTML information (as classified by the four report types above).
Interestingly, a recent study by Radley Yelder has actually discovered that the FSTE 100 are still ‘digitally immature’ and that there are tremendous opportunities for those companies seeking to exploit their competitive edge through enhancing their digital communication. Over the forth-coming years, it will be interesting to see how these organisations respond to the increasing digital expectations of their stakeholders. We anticipate that many more companies will be taking advantage of the benefits that digital reporting can bring.