Annual Reports – an ancient paper tiger or an invaluable bible for investors?

The weeks after Q4 earnings are an extremely hectic period for Nordic IROs as the production of the annual report peaks. Even though more and more companies prefer integrated on-line reports instead of printed (and expensive), fashionable designed versions, tremendous amounts of time and money are spent on the production of the annual report. According to IR Insight 2009, Nordic IROs spend 85 % of their budget for external consultancy on the annual report. Even though I to some extend agree that a cost effective and well-produced annual report with reusable content (videos, CEO interviews, strategic messages etc) is a useful marketing tool and financial dictionary for investors, this is a horrific number for me. A Finnish IRO told me that she actually had saved 30 000 € by skipping the printed version of the annual report!

The online reports have evolved rapidly from PDF-format to integrated websites. Novozymes and Wärtsilä are some examples of Best Practice online reports.

But is it common practice that the IRO is overall responsible for the production of the annual report? I just received that question from an IRO working at large cap company where she is the only one in the IR-team serving more than twenty Nordic and European analysts. My advice to her was that if you as an IRO work alone at a large cap company and at the same time act as project manager for the annual report; the communication with investors and analysts will suffer. Especially during Q1, after the Q4 earnings have been published. To be on roadshow several weeks during that period and at the same finalise production of the annual report is a mission impossible

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About irinsights

Senior consultant at PR and Communications firm Springtime in Stockholm, Sweden. Focus on IR, social media & perception studies. Blog about trends and challenges for Scandinavian IR professionals, providing insights on how to use social media, corporate blogs and on-line communication to reach out to investors in a changing media landscape. Everything I post here is my personal opinion, and does not represent the views of my employer.
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One Response to Annual Reports – an ancient paper tiger or an invaluable bible for investors?

  1. Pingback: Nordic firms embracing web optimized annual reports | IR Web Report

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