An interesting post by investor relations consultant Dominic Jones: very few bother to read a company's annual reports.

It is easy to understand why. Annual accounts consist of 2 parts. One, the financial data. This is read by those who need them (analysts). Two, an attempt by the company to sell its strategy to investors. Here is why this section does not work:
  • The pages are written in a verbose PR style, full of buzzwords and cliches. 
  • The pages contain verbal description of financial data that is much better displayed in graph or table form. "Europe grew by 5%, Asia grew by 10%"
  • Long-hand text does not work very well to communicate business strategy, and the annual report is no exception
  • The slick, polished, permanent look of the annual report instantly reduces its credibility. The audience likes real, genuine, authentic stories. 
A lot of money is invested in the layout, design, and printing of these annual report. Is this money not better spend by improving the quality of that earnings announcement presentation PDF that everyone IS reading?