Searching the web for strategic reporting throws up a number of prospective articles from 2013, speculating the effect of the new BIS and FRC regulations and advising on the next steps. Now, well into 2014, we are already seeing the benefits strategic reporting brings – not only for shareholders, but also for the company.
Strategic reporting calls for greater transparency. This is not only about good reporting, it’s about good business sense. Being transparent about your business model, policies and practice encourages reflection and analysis, allowing a company to look inwardly for areas of improvement.
How you manage your relationship with the external world is key to competitive business. Forging strong relationships relies on productive communication and engagement. Through clear communication, straight-line thinking and structured summative overviews you can guide and engage the reader. The new style of annual report acts as a tool for this; presenting a good opportunity to define what you contribute to your market and showcasing your knowledge to key stakeholders by exampling areas of good management.
A chance to tell your story, only better. Thanks to strategic reporting your narrative can now run through the entire document, creating an altogether more cohesive, fluent business story. This offers companies the opportunity to be really innovative with how they explain their business and its strengths. A great narrative can enhance both current and prospective relationships, strengthening ties, trust and longevity.
4. Forward thinking
The new style encourages forward thinking. Disclosure of a company’s principle risks and uncertainties stimulates inward analysis and displays a short, medium and long-term outlook, which can be just as beneficial for the company as the investor.
Increase in the use of smartphones, tablets and devices has led to a rise in the use of online summaries; meaning accessibility to annual reports is greatly increased. The content of the report becomes more accessible to a wider range of investors and has the potential to attract the wider public.
Looking forward, the strategic report promotes clear and transparent communication and engagement, forward thinking and greater accessibility. Together these combine to build trust and confidence in shareholders and the wider public. The strategic report requirements also encourage companies to build a better business.