The language of finance: how you should write your corporate reports

by Stratton Craig

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The new language of finance is increasingly central to reporting and corporate communications, with a focus on honesty and transparency to build trust among stakeholders.
Integrated reporting
As well as redefining the language of finance, the global financial crisis brought the effect of globalisation into sharp focus. Financial organisations are inextricably linked to people and knowledge creation all over the world, and integrated reporting offers a tool to address this increasing connectivity in your corporate communications.
Integrated reporting is gaining traction as a broad and cohesive measure of business performance. This form of corporate report brings together a company’s financial performance and its sustainability metrics. Sustainability is a comprehensive issue and includes all non-financial performance measures and the company’s societal and environmental impacts.
South Africa is at the leading edge of integrated reporting, making this form of corporate report a mandatory requirement for all companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. You can read more about its pioneering approach here.
At its heart, integrated reporting is about measuring value creation of six ‘capitals’: financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, natural and social and relationship. Through this form of corporate reporting you can communicate a more complete picture of your business to stakeholders, with sustainability issues integral to the business model. For investors with a social and environmental conscience, this is increasingly important among their criteria.
Case story: Aegon
Aegon is a large multinational financial organisation with three strands of business: life insurance provision, pensions and asset management. Aegon produces both an annual report and a review of the year, which provides a complete overview of its financial and non-financial performance.
The annual review is written concisely and engagingly and is supported by an easily accessible online summary. Aegon’s user-friendly data presentation is a prime example of its commitment to transparency, with infographics of the value chain and simple graphs of its sales and revenue figures.
Case story: CIMA
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has been producing a yearly integrated report since 2012. CIMA emphasises the importance of creating and preserving value, influencing business leaders around the world to drive the sustainability agenda in the private and public sectors. Stratton Craig was instrumental in helping CIMA tell this story; we crafted their integrated report three years in a row and got to know the company inside out.
If you would like know more about the corporate reporting services we offer, you can browse our case studies at

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