Telling the company story
Not all awarding bodies recognise Small Cap companies within award categories, however in those that do three main themes can be identified. The first is that the judges wanted an Annual Report to tell the company story to stakeholders. Communicate Magazine’s annual Corporate and Financial Awards presented the award to the Cambian Group. For their first Annual Report, the company had an excellent approach, explaining clearly what they did and who they served in a concise and easy to read manner. The report painted a clear and concise picture of the company’s core services, despite the complex subject matter of mental healthcare provision.
The second theme was well executed and well connected subsections. 2015 saw Trifast continue their winning streak by taking the Investor Relations Society Best Practice Award for Best Annual Report. The strategic pillars described in the company strategy recurred throughout other areas including the KPI and Risk Management sections. Similarly, interconnectivity could be seen throughout with frequent references to other sections of the document. Whilst this may seem a small factor when examining the document as a whole, the continuous references to alternative sections and pages provides the reader with a sense of fluidity.
Open and Honest
The final theme that became apparent was the need for an honest and open approach to an Annual Report. This was a topic that was frequently stated in the ICSA guidelines who wanted a “warts and all” approach to Annual Reports, stating that transparency should be demonstrated. They felt that Premier Foods did an exceptional job of this. Not only did they feel that the company provided a good balance of KPIs, which were well explained and supported, but they also commented on the Chairman’s statement and the CEO Q&A. They celebrated these sections, stating how the passion the individuals had for the company was evident alongside an engaging and honest tone.
Whilst the themes explored in our two part article series have been identified from award criteria for FTSE 250 and SmallCap reporting specifically, they concern practices which all Annual Reports would benefit from adopting. For more tailored advice about how to bring your company’s Annual Report up to award winning quality, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.