It’s a Beautiful Thing

May 8, 2015

When it comes to annual reports—or reports to the community—print is preferred.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the case of annual reports, including those offered by non-profit organizations, a printed report is a beautiful thing.

A recent study shows that eight out of 10 investors and analysts prefer a printed annual report to an online version*. Citing various reasons, from ease of viewing photos and other visuals to the ability to take notes and mark it up, the preference can be summed up simply: printed reports are more enjoyable to read.

Interesting, considering the vast majority of respondents do investment research online. But when it comes to annual reports, they don’t care to spend their time downloading and printing off pages of relevant content or detailed financial information they want at hand. The bottom line? Investors and analysts prefer print, but expect both versions.

Are you putting the power of your organization directly in the hands of your readers?

In the eyes of the beholder

Annual reports are an important tool in making investment decisions. In fact, close to 80 percent of participants state that the annual report is the single most important publication a public company produces.

A special investor relations website, in addition to the company’s main website and printed annual report, is something 75 percent of respondents would be interested in visiting.

Look beyond the numbers

Annual reports—and reports to the community—are far more powerful when they contain a blend of necessary financial data and compelling, custom content. Why?

Ninety percent of participants in the survey believe an annual report’s content should be enhanced by including issues facing the company and its industry, along with other important concerns (e.g., environmental sustainability, corporate governance), and not just the company’s financial and shareholder issues.*

And the payoff broadens: More than 78 percent of respondents believe traditional, printed annual reports are useful for sales, recruitment, sharing company philosophy, and positioning the company.

Top 5 reasons to print

Survey respondents cited these reasons for why they prefer printed annual reports:

More enjoyable to read


Able to file for future reference

Able to mark up and take notes

Easy to view photos and other visuals