Annual reports

Tips to write an award winning annual report

Raymond Buchanan, head of communications and public affairs at Weir Group, offers his advice on tackling an annual report

How has the role of the annual report changed?
If you look back at Weir Annual Reports, you will see that they are getting larger, like many other companies. That is a result of regulatory changes, but it also reflects changes to the way we communicate. It used to be largely a financial document but now it is also an opportunity to talk about all the non-financial drivers of the business as well. As such, I think it is an even more compelling channel than it was previously.

How do you see the role of the annual report changing further?
We will doubtless see many more references to purpose to reflect changes to the UK Corporate Governance Code. I also expect the people element to be emphasised further. But fundamentally, the annual report needs to be an accurate account of what really matters to the business and that requires good story telling.

What advice would you give somebody tackling an annual report for the first time?
Don’t be too daunted. Think of it as an excellent opportunity to really understand your business. You will be surprised at just how much great work is being done by your people and by emphasising those stories your stakeholders will get a much better sense of what underpins your success.

How do you measure success with an annual report?
We survey our investors and analysts and pick up anecdotal evidence from other stakeholders, both internally and externally. The litmus test for me is does this feel like a Weir document and if the answer is yes, then I consider it a success.