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

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“The key question is whether companies are
communicating any better or just more.”