Mark Hynes - thoughts on corporate disclosure

Opinions on changing rules, changing best practices, and their effect on investor relations officers.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Taking the opportunity to communicate – not just save money

It's early days yet, but as companies consider their options under the electronic communications provisions of the Companies Act, they need to think differently about how their website delivers the contents of an ‘annual report’.

Research produced this week by Smithsinteractive - - an online reporting consultancy, suggests that few are taking full advantage of the power of the internet to create a more user friendly experience in their corporate reporting.

And this despite having lobbied hard for electronic communications.

The survey concludes that individual investors still struggle to retrieve the information they want from an annual report. As most companies still place a (large) static PDF on their site, investor organisations have accused companies in the past of simply passing the costs of printing to the investors.

This suggests that, as the survey highlights, companies are missing the opportunity to create intelligent interfaces to company’s information, or indeed versions specifically thought through for different audiences.

The opportunities are potentially almost endless. The story of the company told in video; heat maps of sales; virtual factory tours; interactive CSR data, illustrating more strongly the company’s efforts on global warming. The financials presented in a format that is easily useable in common analytical applications. The ability to create on the fly simple “what if” calculations.

The ratings that Smithsinteractive have produced show that many companies are still thinking in “print” terms in their annual report. This is very likely to change as time goes on.

And finally, as you know, transparency does matter to me. So I can confirm that the Hynes mentioned in the report is indeed related; he’s my brother. 2 communicators in one family. Whatever next.


Post a Comment

<< Home