According to the ongoing evolution of technology, online annual reports have a strong ability to convey and transmit the company’s investment message in a more energetic and engaging manner, not only bringing forward the corporate identity, but also by providing a greater feel for the company’s management team, which is critical for many investors. In other words, a good online annual report has the ability to "sell" the company better.
While the printed report will continue to play an important role, many investors enjoy online annual reports for their speed and access to latest information versus printing and flipping through large amounts of text. The transition from printed to online reporting highly depends on companies encouraging their public to use the online version, not to mention the environmentally friendly approach that can be argued in favor of the online reporting, which in the long-term can provide significant cost savings for the company.
To be considered for this category, companies must have an online report in English and in HTML format and not simply a PDF file of the printed version, which is not considered for evaluation purposes.
The ranking is executed through the following technical criteria:
The content of the online annual report must meet the same requirements as the printed version. Making sure that the level of content details provided in the online and printed versions are consistent is one of the criteria taken into consideration by IR Global Rankings. The basics should be included, such as message to shareholders, industry highlights, management and discussion analysis (MD&A) of the yearly results and a complete set of financial statements.
Design & Navigability
For the online annual report, design and navigability is as key as it is for general IR websites. Visual effects and creativity can make significant differences for the report but should reflect the printed version, demonstrating the company’s image and values.
Online annual reports can give viewers a better and more dynamic understanding of the company and in order to achieve this, interactivity comes into scene. IR Global Rankings also analyzes tools that are used to enhance the user’s experience with the document.
Technology and Data Handling
There is no reason for developing an online annual report if it cannot be viewed by the widest audience possible and the correct and most efficient use of technology must be taken into consideration to make the effectiveness of the report worth the production cost. Companies should consider including a clear and comprehensive site map and search facility and also, provide information in HTML format as well as options to download in PDF format.