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Annual Reports of UK listed companies grow, for a sixth consecutive year

Growth in narrative offsets efforts to streamline financial statements

20 October 2015

  • 54% of companies now giving prominence to non-GAAP measures;
  • Narrative reporting improving and driving an increase in report length;
  • Integrated reporting is making slow but steady inroads.

Annual reports of UK listed companies continue to grow according to new research from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

This year the average UK annual report reached 135 pages, up three pages on last year - despite companies making positive inroads in ‘clear and concise’ financial statements which dropped by an average of two pages. Front-end narrative reporting is driving the overall page increase, with non-GAAP alternative performance measures taking greater prominence.

Veronica Poole, partner and head of corporate reporting at Deloitte, said: “For a number of years we have seen an increase in the volume of annual reports, much of it driven by the growing regulation in the wake of the financial crisis, coupled with requirements for further disclosure. However, more recently, it would seem that there is a growing trend for companies to harness their annual report as a channel in conveying their story around strategy, culture and external impact. This storytelling is a key component of the strategic report and one companies are actively embracing.

Poole continues: “It is interesting to note that this year seven per cent of the companies we surveyed have either embraced <IR>, or are en route to do so. This builds on the efforts of over half the companies who are now talking about a wider range of inputs and outputs as part of their business model in a move towards integrated thinking.

“The use of alternative performance measures continues to be an essential part of telling a company's story. The FRC has previously voiced concern around over-prominent presentation of non-GAAP measures. Worryingly, 54% of companies gave more prominence to these adjusted measures than to the statutory numbers. Also, 42% of those companies adopting alternative performance measures as key performance indicators did not reconcile these clearly to their financial statements.”

End

Notes to editors

About the survey
The annual reports of 100 UK listed companies were surveyed to determine current practice. This sample excluded investment trusts due to their specialised nature. The overall sample is, as far as possible, consistent with that used in last year’s survey. As a result of takeovers, mergers, de-listings and changes in market capitalisation over the last 12 months, the sample could not be identical. Replacements and additional reports were selected evenly across the two size sub-categories analysed. For more information or to access the full report visit www.deloitte.co.uk/annualreportinsights.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Fern Hammond
Deloitte LLP
+44 020 7303 2329
+44 078 2689 1752
fhammond@deloitte.co.uk

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