Printed Annual Reports damage the environment and are out of date by the time they’re read. They will soon be as rare as a bowler hat in the city.

Big and glossy must equal good

A whole sub-section of the communications industry has been predicated on the belief that, in order to be noticed, an annual report needs to be a big corporate tome with thud factor.

Finding corporate info

Corporate reporting has also, traditionally, been characterised by organisations trying to control the information they provide the reader. The world is changing fast and the industry that clings to this view is crumbling from within. Organisations are no longer in control of the information they provide. Almost anything one wishes to know can be found online.

Real facts in real time

The internet is the first port of call for anyone interested in how an organisation does business, treats its customers, values its staff and earns and spends money. So beyond meeting the statutory minimum requirements to publish results in print, the most meaningful communication with those who are interested in you must involve the web, email and/or the medium best matched to the reader’s preference.

Thin end of the wedge

The Companies Act 2006 requires quoted companies to make shareholder communications available electronically from January 2007. This is the thin end of a wedge that will eventually see the printed report become all but obsolete.