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Smart LabsTM

Research that powers our ethos

The importance of rigorous research

What does 25 years of research look like at The Annual Report Company? Since our inception we have continued to study key areas in annual reporting, both through Smart Labs – our research arm – and in collaboration with various universities. For annual report preparers who come under our wing this means that we already have many of the answers they are looking for.

For example, in 2014, 15 years after producing our very first comprehensive end-to-end online HTML annual report for a client, we conducted a global survey of listed companies – some 41,300 entities across 109 countries – and studied their annual reports for the reporting periods 2010-2012.

Our research helped annual report preparers to come to their own conclusions about whether or not their company’s key stakeholder groups would benefit from an online annual report. We have seen a slow but steady rise in HTML reports since our results were published.

Many companies have a plethora of other priorities that precede annual report preparation. We conduct the research that they lack the time or resources to do for themselves – in areas that range from annual reporting methodologies to annual reporting channels.

One of our key research projects to already have come to fruition is our own Smart Integrated Reporting MethodologyTM. While integrated thinking has revolutionised business models, our approach and methodology show the way for effective integrated reporting.

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Our research uncovered many interesting facts including:

  • Only 2.6% of all listed companies produced an online HTML annual report in 2012, but the numbers had been growing - at 28% YoY in 2011 and 24% YoY in 2012
  • Finland ranked first with 26% of listed companies producing online annual reports, followed by South Africa (24%), and Switzerland (16%)
  • Five countries produced online annual reports for the first time in 2012 and accounted for 10% of the total number of countries with online reports: Iceland, Hungary, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Zambia
  • The number of online reports increased steadily from 675 in 2010 to 866 in 2011, and to 1,074 by 2012

What does the journey towards Ideal look like?

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Partner with us? We would love to be part of your journey!