Annual Report formats in the new digital frontier

Posted in IRM News

Annual Report formats

Annual Reports are changing in the new normal where digital communication channels are increasingly preferred over traditional ones. As investors are more online now, companies are addressing the digital demand for information with new opportunities to get their messages across, even with their annual reports.

However, selecting the best annual report format can be tricky. Should you go for a printed document, an online interactive version, or a combination of both? Which medium is best for your organisation?

Before you make a decision, consider the unique benefits of these printed and digital annual report presentations below.

1. Printed Annual Report

As a tried-and-true design, the printed annual report still has its place for many companies. It continues as a major staple for bringing the past year’s accomplishments to light. What with skillful printing and finishing techniques that can help make a statement in your business performance.

As a static medium, a printed annual report with signed financial data substantiates your company's accomplishments. Committed to print, your chairman or CEO's message provides physical evidence stakeholders trust.

The printed annual report is likewise a tradition for investors who want to keep a personal tactile experience. Spending time on each page can leave them wanting to learn more as they go through your organisation's story on paper.

Printed annual reportThe printed annual report continues as a major staple for many companies.

2. Online Interactive Annual Report

With the shift to the current digital-first environment, many companies are bringing together the traditional printed annual report with its online interactive version. Yes, a digital form of the same annual report but with more engaging features than a boring PDF file. One that can be accessed from a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

An online interactive version of your annual report incorporates a flipbook-style that animates page turning with a flicking sound, as though reading it on paper. Investors can choose zoom or full screen mode, and use advanced search or text selection tools to quickly find data.

What’s more, this user-friendly setup shows a table of contents on the left side of the reading pane with a bookmarking facility to note pages of interest. Stakeholders can even opt to download or share individual pages, sections or full PDFs. 

Online interactive annual reportThe online interactive annual report has a flipbook-style with responsive features.

3. Microsite Annual Report

If you want to take your annual report to the next level, go for a microsite of your annual report. Compared to its printed or PDF counterparts, this small website created for your annual report will have responsive content that works across desktop and mobile devices.

A microsite annual report will heighten your financial data’s visual appeal to what might otherwise just be numbers on paper. This design integrates interactive elements, like videos, webcasts or animated infographics, for investors to experience your business achievements with impressive results.

Among its many advantages, you’ll be able to customise important highlights and messages, showcase images and case studies so investors can digest the report with key points in mind. This web-based format includes search, download, sharing, print and full accessibility as well as tracking statistics to evaluate how stakeholders engage in each section.

Plus, a microsite annual report empowers your company to quickly reach targeted investor groups online. This digital format can also be updated, giving it a longer shelf life stakeholders will reference, share and revisit.

Microsite annual reportThe microsite annual report empowers you to reach targeted investor groups online.

Achieve more with your annual report design

So, how will your annual report format be for you this year: printed, online interactive or microsite? Perhaps a combination of print and digital?

The best annual report format would communicate who you are as a company in a style that aligns with your brand. Carefully think through how you want your business recap to impact investors and you’ll be on your way to an annual report stakeholders will want to read cover-to-cover – on paper or online.

One less thing to worry about

ASX-listed companies have been entrusting their annual report designs with us for about 20 years now. Whether you're deciding on print or digital, find inspiration from our latest works here.

If you have questions with your annual report design, call us on +61 2 8705 5444 or email You can also get a no-obligation quote for comparison in this link.