Corporate reporting best practice – our top tips

by Stratton Craig

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Is July too early to start thinking about your next corporate report? Not according to speakers at Communicate Magazine’s ‘Best practice: corporate reporting’ conference. Addison, a leading corporate design agency, mentioned their research shows that companies in the UK spend a grwat deal of time trying to communicate through their report, rather than just comply. Increasingly, we are doing more than simply ‘ticking the boxes’, and that takes time.

Here are a few other key points that we took away from the Communicate seminars:
Include the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the ‘what’. The recent focus on top-tier salaries by the media has detracted from what those people actually do in their role, and this needs to be highlighted. Stakeholders want to know what value they’re getting for their investment, and showing the benefits that board members and leaders add helps to justify their position.
Start again every single year. The definition of ‘best practice’ changes constantly, and your company isn’t the same as it was 12 months ago. At the conference it was argued that the best reports don’t rely on the previous year’s content and format; instead they start again from scratch.
Plan ahead, and give yourself as much time as you can. Starting to discuss the potential themes and content of your report as far as six months ahead is a definite advantage, helping you cement the narrative early on.
Tell your company’s story. By starting to plan your report early in the year, you’ll be able to provide readers with a better and more informative breakdown of the previous 12 months. What’s more you may find the insights you gain are useful for channelling into the year ahead.
Be concise… Attempting to bury bad news in jargon is unfair on readers and doesn’t reflect your true annual performance. The report should be readable and understandable on the first read alone.
…But don’t condense. However, slimming down a report by omitting useful information is also unwise. Your annual report should be something of a ‘chocolate box’ for investors, containing information that’s relevant to everyone and allowing them to pick and choose the sections they read.
These are tips that we’ll also be keeping in mind with our corporate reporting services for the coming year. We’re also regular bloggers on the subject – head over to our copywriting blog to see the latest news, views and trends.

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