Why Your next Annual Report should be Digital

There was a time when the annual report was seen as a cumbersome inconvenience, destined to gather dust on office shelves, but things have changed. It’s no longer seen as a series of accounting pages with a business forecast couched in staid language. These days an annual report can be a marketing tool as well as a means of driving staff, shareholder and stakeholder engagement; that is if it’s a digital report. So, what makes a digital annual report preferable and why?

Readability and Reach

Digital reports are user friendly and they are more likely to be read than a hard copy or simple PDF, which may or may not be downloaded by stakeholders. Having your annual report online means that it is accessible to staff, investors or potential clients. Using tools such as clever site navigation, CEO video addresses, images and a range of themes, can drive more people to read your report. Having a digital report with a unique web address, means that the people who need to see your report can do so easily. You can also customise access to different areas of the report. By doing this, you maintain a greater level of control of your own data and content.

Getting people to read any report can be difficult; but getting people to engage with a physical weighty tome is harder. One of the great things about a digital report is that you can readily find the area of the report you’re looking for, using a simple search function. The potential for more of your report being read by more people is much greater than a simple printed version.

Digital reports are also a tool for accessibility. They give greater access to visually impaired people who can use screen readers to access content. Subtitled video can also increase access. An online report can be used by more people, be easier to navigate and keeps the reader’s interest alive.

Cost Benefits of Digital

A digital annual report can give you savings in financial and environmental terms. There is no need for hard copies to be distributed to staff, saving a lot on printing. PDF versions do not need to be downloaded to print. All your information is readily available in a few clicks. The obvious environmental benefits of reducing unnecessary print, binding and plastic use are something which companies also value.

Your digital annual report can also help you use time more efficiently, with company video updates or content guiding stakeholders through the year. This can cut down on the need for lengthy explanatory meetings. You also will have a ready set of data at your fingertips. You can see who reads what, how successful your videos are and which parts of the report are having the biggest impact online. Having your annual report go digital optimises time and budgets.

Show Off a Little

More and more companies are using their digital annual report as a tool to spread the word about their ethos, vision and services. Not only can the report provide the essential financial and planning information, but it can be a place to show off a little. Big brands are now using annual report websites to showcase their innovation in a range of areas, from construction to cosmetics and financial services to the food sector. Your dynamic report can serve to woo clients and solidify stakeholder support. It can also be a valuable marketing tool.

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