The average length of a listed company’s annual report is now more then 100 pages, according to a report by Deloitte UK.
The study found that narrative reporting has increased substantially in recent years due to an increased understanding of accounting standards and additional guidance on going concern, business risks and key performance indicators.
“When the first of [Deloitte’s] surveys was produced in 1996, the average length of the annual report of a listed company was 44 pages. By 2000 it was 56 pages. In 2005, the average was 71 pages, increasing to 85 in 2006. From there, it increased steadily to 99 pages in the 2009 survey and it is now 101 pages,” Deloitte audit partner Isobel Sharp said.
The report, Swimming in words: surveying narrative reporting in annual reports, found reporting on environmental, employee, social and community information has increased by as much as 20% in the past year.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are also now clearly identified by 90% of companies (an increase of 6% from 2009) with seven KPIs listed on average.
Sharp said the main reason for the increase in pagination is the UK’s many rules on narrative reporting disclosures.
“The key question is whether companies are communicating any better or just more.”