MESSAGE, an Italian company that works on digital corporate communication, recently carried out a study on annual reporting trends that involved the top 800 listed European companies. Their research shows that among other trends, “integration and conciseness seem to be the main driving forces” in the reporting space.
What we think is particularly interesting is the fact that annual reports published through micro-websites have experienced an exponential growth. It is no surprise that this way of publishing annual reports is increasingly popular since companies see the advantages of digital platforms.
“The presentation of annual reports as micro-websites focusing on what is really material to companies and stakeholders shows that organisations are profiting from all the advantages offered by digital platforms: connecting business models to strategies and linking the value creation process to policies and performance by means of visual techniques, animated infographics, interactive tools and concentrated video clips.”
This study shows a few general trends in the reporting space:
Trend 1: Steady popularity of Annual Reviews
While Annual Reviews have shown a 52% growth over the last 4 years, there is a significant decrease of 24% on CSR reports (see Trend 2).
Trend 2: Integrating information in one single report
More and more companies are now publishing one single report covering different kinds of aspects by integrating financial and non-financial information. “In 2017, companies publishing one single report have grown by 13% compared to 2016.”
Trend 3: Digital reports are here to stay
During the last two years, 41% out of 800 companies have produced an HTML report. “Listed companies confirm that digital annual reports (…) have a stable place in their digital communication strategy.”
Also, the quality of digital reporting has been improving steadily. Through infographics, animations and interactive tools companies explain and communicate business models, value-creation models and sustainability plans in a more transparent and understandable way to all stakeholders.
The sector that is predominant in HTML reports is the Telecommunications sector with 69% of companies publishing a digital report. The quality in terms of design, content organisation and use of innovative features is also extremely high when it comes to reports within the Telecommunications industry.
See some best practice examples from the survey:
- Merck – Germany (Annual Report)
- AkzoNobel – The Netherlands (Integrated Report)
- Solvay – Belgium (Annual Integrated Report)
- TDC – Denmark (CSR Report)
- TIM – Italy (CSR Report)
- L’Oreal – France (Annual Report)
- Telefonica DE – Germany (Annual Report)
- Banco Santander – Spain (Annual Report)
Find the full study online: http://www.messagegroup.eu/research