Annual report complexity survey

A new international survey has concluded that annual reports are still a primary source of corporate information for users but that their length and complexity is undermining their usefulness. These results are contained in a report released by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) titled, ‘Re-assessing the value of corporate reporting’. Report users in the UK, US and Canada were asked about whether they used the information in the annual report or found their required information from other sources, how useful it was and what other information they would like included.

Of the 500 responses, 50% of users found annual reports useful but 47% thought the reports were too long while 35% felt they were too backward facing. 40% said that reports were too general purpose to meet their needs with 35% responding that they were too complex in their current form.

When asked about additional information which would improve the report:

  • 71% of respondents sought more information  on the potential risks that could affect company performance
  • 70% wanted reporting on how companies intended to manage or mitigate key risks
  • 59% stated the inclusion of social and environmental data through an integrated report would add value, and
  • Stakeholders generally expressed an interest in real-time, externally assured, reporting.

Article last updated 11 April 2014