‘Video’ a solution to impenetrable company reports

Company annual reports running to hundreds of pages are the target of a new review into the ways in which companies provide information to shareholders and stakeholders.

The Financial Reporting Council will look at all aspects of corporate reporting including the streamlining of the annual report.

Corporate reports have been criticised for being impenetrable, with The Times reporting that many run to 200-300 pages, topped by HSBC’s 594 page annual report in 2013.

The review is certainly a welcome one. Last year I presented our own work on Rethinking Reports at an Audit Futures event hosted by the FRC.

I made the case that video has a significant role to play in simplifying communications with stakeholders.

The proliferation of online video and its relative ease of consumption versus text makes it the ideal medium for communicating headline facts and figures.

But it needn’t end with the video equivalent of an executive summary; a series of videos laid out in a logical manner, or using an interactive menu, can be used to convey the key points of various chapters of a report again in a much more easy to consume format.

Paul George, executive director of corporate governance and reporting at the FRC said: “Importantly, in a technology-enabled world, the FRC will consider other methods to facilitate the delivery of information to stakeholders.”

We think video should be foremost among those ‘other methods’, and will be watching this review with interest.

Here are some examples of ‘annual report’ videos that we have produced.  

British Land Half-Year results 2018

Go Ahead - End of Year Financial Results 2017

By Nathan Coyne