Online annual reports – three ideas for listed companies

Here we look at the value in online reporting and the variety of online annual reports that IRM clients provide for their investors.

In our previous annual reporting posts, we provided some tips on how to best plan for the annual report process, and the important checks and balances to consider when creating reports.

In today’s post, we consider the value of online reporting, and the different sorts of reports IRM clients are choosing to adopt.

Reporting trends

Since ASIC changed the rules on annual reporting several years ago, more companies have chosen to publish their annual reports online.

For listed entities, as a PDF copy of the report needs to be lodged with ASX, an electronic copy is generated for that process, but the question is – with more and more shareholders reading reports online, does just providing the flat PDF file, with no other viewing options, provide shareholders with a good experience?

In our view, the answer is no.  Here is why.

There are two major reasons:

  • Increasing use of mobile devices means that many investors are still short of both the bandwidth gobbled by large PDF’s and the time the download takes on slower connection, and
  • Once the PDF is downloaded, it’s still tedious to page through it to find the information sought.

Most investors know what they want to read about in the Annual Report – whether it’s the financial highlights, the Chairman’s report, or just the remuneration report. They like to go straight to the right section.

IRM can assist you to provide a better Online Annual Report viewing experience, whether you are an IRM website customer or not.

Here are three ways that IRM clients provide investors a better experience through the online annual reports process:

The Bronze Online Annual Report

A simple, but important revision to the flat PDF file.  With our bronze online annual report package:

  • IRM breaks out each section of the annual report into a separate, smaller PDF file, with a table of contents, and
  • The report is highlighted on the Annual Reports page of the corporate website.

The benefit for investors is that they don’t need to browse through a long, heavy PDF file online.

Bronze annual reports are a great option for companies that want to provide shareholders with a good usability experience at a minimum cost, but don’t need the bells and whistles that come with the silver and gold packages below.

See examples of bronze reports at Cue Energy and Cape Lambert corporate websites.

The Silver Online Annual Report

With the IRM Silver Online Annual Report package we provide a PDF page turning option:

  • Annual reports are displayed in a PDF page viewer for a book-like usability experience
  • Investors can use a range of interactive facilities, such as page turning, zoom, full screen mode, advanced search and text selection tools
  • Contents are broken out down the left of the reading pane, and the reader can choose to view as text or thumbnails
  • A bookmarking facility is also available, and reports are easily downloaded as individual pages, sections or full PDFs
  • Sharing buttons are integrated into the viewer, allowing investors to easily share parts of, or the whole report with peers, and
  • These reports are created in responsive design, allowing them to be viewed across mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, Android, etc. 

See examples of silver online annual reports at Treasury Group and Northern Iron websites.

The Gold Online Annual Report

The Gold Online Annual Report package is an excellent option for companies that want to bring their reports to life. Featuring the Annual Report in a mini-website, this annual reporting option:

  • Is a fully customised, user-friendly, micro site, which works across all devices
  • Allows companies to customise key highlights and financial messages, showcase images and case studies so that investors and analysts can digest the report with key messages in mind
  • Can incorporate video, audio, webcasts, AGM data and a range of other assets, such as image galleries and downloads of financial data
  • Includes search, sharing, download, print, and full accessibility, and
  • Is mobile friendly and comes with full tracking statistics, allowing clients to evaluate how important each section of the report is to investors.

View an example of a gold annual report at the AWE website.

Integration into the corporate site

To ensure that online annual reports are well noticed and used by shareholders, IRM works with clients to ensure they are well integrated into the corporate website.  We often suggest:

  • Promotional buttons for the corporate site’s home page
  • Buttons directing investors to the report from the investor centre landing page or other parts of the site, and
  • Special purpose email alerts which are sent seamlessly on lodgement day, and other promotional tactics.

Selected the best option for you?

We appreciate your choices early so that we can make sure we schedule the high quality result you need at the same time as the release of the PDF document. Just let us know which option you prefer and leave the rest to us. Contact Danny Hunt via: email – danny.hunt@irmau.com or phone: +61 2 8233 6168.

Need support with your printed annual report?

Along with online annual reporting, the IRM team develops engaging, printable annual reports at competitive prices.  To speak with us regarding print, online reports or both, please contact Matt White via: email – matthew.white@irmau.com or phone: +61 2 8705 5444.