Time to adopt electronic annual reports?
A survey from the National Investor Relations Institute has found that more companies are moving toward online annual reports and printing fewer copies to cut costs.
In fact, "electronic annual-report budgets have grown 31 percent since 2010 and 44 percent since 2008, while budgets for printed annual reports have plummeted during the past decade," notes CFO magazine.
This is an entirely predictable trend that has grown along with Internet usage by investors. The entire proxy process in some ways is going online. I've noted before that some web-based annual reports are a wonder to behold, opening companies up to charges that they're embracing glitz over substance, which has long been a criticism of savvy paper annual reports,.
A good online example comes from Walmart, which has obviously invested heavily in its online annual report. For the record, the report is available as a traditional PDF download and through the company's investor relations app as well.
There seems to be twin trends underway. Some companies are embracing online annual reports, even as other opt for 10K wraps, which contain the basic 10K information and little else. Of the two approaches, companies will likely get more bang for their buck with the online approach. It might represent a nice opportunity for companies to utilize XBRL as a way to feed more financial information in interesting end-user formats to customers who care. -Jim