Corporate Reporting Research 2015.

This year's research is focused on how accessibility issues are addressed in digital corporate reports.

Each year we conduct an extensive research, to gain insights on the actual status of digital corporate reporting. As in the 2014 research, we looked at both the annual and corporate responsibility reports of the 150 biggest European companies in terms of turnover (source: CNN Money / Fortune 500) on the one hand, and market value (source: FT Europe 500) on the other hand. The combination of both groups results in a total of 188 companies analysed this summer.

Following the assumption that companies want to make corporate information available for the biggest audience possible within their target group, we put the topic of accessibility in the centre of this year’s analysis and selected a few best practice examples below.

Different report formats for different target groups

Annual Reports

Across all researched annual reports, we find that there are huge differences in the way the corporate messages are presented. Regarding the report format, 49% of the analysed companies provide only a PDF report, while 51% report additionally in HTML. Furthermore, we can see that among the HTML reports the different versions rank from responsive full HTML versions, to HTML super summary pages:

Annual Reports 2015 (n=188)

Distribution of HTML vs. PDF versions among annual reports (pie chart)

Among the companies that provided their report in some kind of HTML version, 64% of the reports were designed responsive, thus making the report available for different screen sizes and devices.

Interesting fact: We experienced that one of the 188 reports was password-protected, with the company stating that the information provided was for banks and bondholders only.

Corporate Responsibility Reports

Looking at the corporate responsibility reports, we learn that 50% of the companies have a PDF report and 34% provide some kind of HTML report version. The remaining 16% do either not report on corporate responsibility issues, or have their reporting integrated into their annual report PDF.

Corporate Responsibility Reports 2015 (n=188)

Distribution of HTML vs. PDF versions among corporate responsibility reports (pie chart)

In terms of responsive design, again the majority of the companies that report in HTML, 62% to be exact, chose this option to enhance the accessibility of their corporate responsibility report.

Know your readers

Summing up, we experience a lot of different approaches when it comes to reporting format – and it is indeed a tough decision, especially in light of cost/benefit considerations. One that every company needs to take for themselves.

Starting with the target group, companies must ask themselves who they are reporting for in the first place and what impression they want to evoke among their users. Moving forward, it’s not the question of design that should matter the most, but the question of “how accessible?” the report shall be. Depending on the answer to this question, there are different roads to go down – from a neatly designed PDF available for download on the corporate website, to a complete cross-media reporting concept.

However, when it comes to web accessibility, it is no doubt that the best report format is HTML. It simply is the DNA of the web, thus fully accessible for any possible device, screen reader, search engine, etc. Therefore we clustered the following list to best reflect the accessibility of report content:

  1. (Responsive) Full HTML: best access, searchable
  2. HTML hybrid: combination of HTML and PDF, with essential parts of the report provided as HTML
  3. HTML super summary: super-short HTML version with the most important information at a glance, other information as PDF download
  4. PDF:
    •  Screen-optimised
      (double-sided where it makes sense, functioning navigation, searchability, readable font size)
    •  Interactive
      (navigation or linking, not optimised for screen, e.g. too small font, partially with animations)
    • Simple Print PDF

Whatever the circumstances and the chosen path, a good reporting concept will always seize the opportunity to transport the corporate information in the best possible way in order to increase (Google) findability and user rates. Getting back to our research, we chose a few best practice examples that illustrate creative ideas to make report information more easily accessible.

Highlights of the 2015 corporate reporting research

HTML reports


Philips Annual Report 2014

Interactive at-a-glance information in the Philips Annual Report 2014: A tab solution offers users various possibilities to discover the highlights of Philips’ financial year, including CFO and CEO videos, clickable infographics as well as highlighted fast facts linking to chapters inside the report.


Daimler Annual Report 2014

The Daimler Annual Report 2014 presents a great and user-friendly way to disclose highlights of the business year: at click on one of the interactive key figures in the right panel, the user jumps to the related text passage which is additionally highlighted in grey.


Generali Annual Integrated Report 2014

Enhanced navigation through interactive timeline in the Generali Annual Integrated Report 2014: on click on one of the presented key facts, the focus jumps to the related content on the page.

PDF reports


Bayer Annual Report 2014

Although the Bayer Integrated Annual Report PDF does not make use of bookmarks, quite a few steps have been taken to improve the accessibility on screen: most of the report content is displayed in one column, making up & down scrolling unnecessary. Double-page tables and images are merged and therefore displayed correctly at a glance, graphical information is implemented in vector format to maintain the sharpness of the graph when zooming in.


Ahold Interactive Annual Report PDF 2014

The interactive version of the Ahold Annual Report PDF is truly optimised for the use on screen: enough space for big tables thanks to landscape formatting, easy orientation through bookmarks and additional top navigation, fast access to information via linked notes references in the financial tables.

Our 2015 corporate reporting research shows the full variety of approaches to reporting. Some clearly explore the possibilities of the web communication channel better than others. In future, especially web PDFs must focus on increasing their accessibility or at least visual appearance on screen.

For more information, please find the complete list of all analysed reports including relevant cross-links below:

CompanyDue dateAR FormatCR FormatGRI-IndexAR ResponsiveCR Responsivescreen-optimized PDFinteractive PDFsimple PDF
ABB31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Accenture31.DecPDFHTML waterfallHTML hyperlinkedyesx
Adecco31.DecHybridHTMLHTML hyperlinkednonox
Adidas31.DecPDFPDFXLS hyperlinkedx
Aegon31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Ahold31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Air France-KLM31.DecPDFPDFx
Air Liquide31.DecPDFPDFx
Allianz31.DecPDFHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesx
Anglo American31.DecHTML waterfallintegrated ARin CR PDF includedyesyesx
AB InBev31.DecPDFHybridseparate PDFyesx
ArcelorMittal31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkednonox
ARM Holdings31.DecPDFPDFx
ASML31.DecHTMLPDFin CR PDF includednox
Associated British Foods13.SepHybridHTMLnonox
AstraZeneca31.DecHTML waterfallintegrated AR PDFnox
Atlas Copco31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFseparate PDFx
Aviva31.DecHTML waterfallPDFyesx
BAE Systems31.DecPDFHybridseparate PDFnox
Banco Santander31.DecHTMLPDFin CR PDF includedyesx
BASF31.DecHTMLintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Bayer31.DecHTMLintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
BBVA31.DecHTML waterfallHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesnox
Beiersdorf31.DecHTMLPDFseparate PDFyesx
BG Group31.DecHTML waterfallHTMLyesnox
BHP Billiton31.DecHybridPDFnox
BMW31.DecHybridPDFseparate PDFnox
BNP Paribas31.DecHybridPDFyesx
Bouygues31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
BP31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
British American Tobacco31.DecHybridPDFyesx
British Sky Broadcasting30.JunHybridHybridseparate PDFyesyesx
BT Group31.MarHTML waterfallPDFPDFyesx
Carrefour31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Casino31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFx
Christian Dior30.JunPDFNo CR reportingx
Compass Group30.SepHybridHybridnonox
Continental31.DecHybridPDFseparate PDFyesx
Crédit Agricole31.DecPDFPDFx
Credit Suisse31.DecPDFPDFHTML hyperlinkedx
Danone31.DecHTML waterfallPDFyesx
Danske Bank31.DecPDFPDFHTMLx
Delhaize Group31.DecHybridHTMLseparate PDFyesyesx
Deutsche Bahn31.DecHTMLintegrated ARintegrated ARyesyesx
Deutsche Bank31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Deutsche Post31.DecHybridHTMLnoyesx
Deutsche Telekom31.DecHTML waterfallHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Diageo31.MarPDFintegrated AR PDFPDFx
E.On31.DecPDFHTMLHTML hyperlinkednox
Edeka31.DecHybridNo CR reportingnox
EnBW31.DecHybridintegrated ARyesyesx
ENEL31.DecHybridintegrated ARnonox
Eni31.DecHTML waterfallintegrated ARseparate PDFyesyesx
Ericsson31.DecHTMLPDFseparate PDFyesx
Essilor International31.DecHTML waterfallPDFyesx
Exor31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Fiat31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Fresenius31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFx
Fresenius Medical Care31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Gas Natural31.DecPDFPDFx
GasTerra31.DecHybridintegrated ARHTMLyesyesx
Franz Haniel31.DecHTMLPDFnox
GDF Suez31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Generali31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
GlaxoSmithKline31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Glencore Xstrata31.DecPDFPDFPDFx
Heineken31.DecHybridPDFseparate PDFx
Henkel31.DecHybridHybridHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Hennes & Mauritz31.DecPDFHTML waterfallHTML hyperlinkednox
Heraeus31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Holcim31.DecHTMLPDFseparate PDFyesx
HSBC31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Imperial Tobacco31.DecHTML waterfallintegrated ARseparate PDFyesyesx
Inditex31.DecHTMLintegrated ARseparate PDFyesyesx
ING31.DecHTML waterfallPDFseparate PDFyesx
Intesa Sanpaolo31.DecPDFPDFPDFx
Investor31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
La Poste31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg31.DecPDFPDFPDFx
Legal & General31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Linde31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Lloyds Banking31.DecPDFPDFx
L’Oreal31.DecHybridintegrated ARyesyesx
Luxottica31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
LyondellBasell31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Mapfre31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Metro30.SepHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Migros31.DecHybridintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
MOL Group31.DecHybridintegrated ARnonox
Munich Re31.DecHybridintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
National Grid30.MarPDFHybridseparate PDFnox
Nokia31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Nordea Bank31.DecPDFPDFx
Norilsk Nickel31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkednonox
Novo Nordisk31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFx
OMV31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Orange31.DecHybridHybridseparate PDFyesyesx
Pernod-Ricard31.DecHybridNo CR reportingx
Philips31.DecHTMLintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
PKN Orlen31.DecHTMLintegrated ARyesx
Poste italiane31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
PPR – Kering31.DecPDFPDFHTML hyperlinkedx
PSA Peugeot Citroën31.DecPDFPDFx
Rabobank31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFseparate PDFx
Reckitt Benckiser31.DecHybridPDFyesx
Renault31.DecHTML waterfallPDFx
Repsol31.DecHybridPDFHTML hyperlinkedyesx
Richemont31.MarPDFHTMLHTML hyperlinkednox
Rio Tinto31.DecHybridHybridseparate PDFnonox
Roche31.DecHTML waterfallHybridHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Rolls-Royce31.DecHTML waterfallintegrated ARnonox
Royal Bank of Scotland31.DecHybridPDFyesx
Royal Dutch Shell31.DecHTMLHTMLyesyesx
RWE31.DecPDFPDFHTML hyperlinkedx
SABMiller31.MarHTML waterfallPDFseparate PDFyesx
Sampo31.DecHTMLNo CR reportingx
SAP31.DecHTMLintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkednonox
Sberbank31.DecHTMLintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkednono
Schneider Electric31.DecPDFHTML waterfallyesx
Siemens30.SepHybridintegrated ARHTML hyperlinkednonox
Sistema31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFx
Société Générale31.DecPDFPDFx
Standard Chartered31.DecHTML waterfallPDFPDFnox
Statoil31.DecPDFPDFHTML hyperlinkedx
Svenska Handelsbanken31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Swatch31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Swedbank31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
Swiss Re31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Swisscom31.DecHybridHybridseparate PDFyesyesx
Syngenta31.DecHybridPDFHTML hyperlinkedyesx
Telecom Italia31.DecPDFHybridPDFyesx
Telenor31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
TeliaSonera31.DecHTMLintegrated ARyesyesx
Tenaris31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
ThyssenKrupp30.SepPDFintegrated AR PDFHTML hyperlinkedx
Total31.DecHTMLPDFseparate PDF
UBS31.DecPDFPDFseparate PDFx
UniCredit31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFHTMLx
Unilever31.DecHybridPDFseparate PDFyesx
Vattenfall31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFPDFx
Veolia31.DecHybridintegrated ARseparate PDFyesx
Vinci31.DecPDFNo CR reportingx
Vivendi31.DecPDFintegrated AR PDFx
Vodafone30.MarHTML waterfallHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Volkswagen31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesyesx
Volvo31.DecHTMLHTMLHTML hyperlinkednonox
WPP31.DecHybridHTMLHTML hyperlinkedyesnox


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