The digital world demands digital documents, and annual reports are no exception. With the rise of digital accounting, more and more finance departments are now preparing and filing annual reports electronically. Therefore, it’s no surprise that digital annual reports have quickly become the new normal.
Besides being more user-friendly than their paper-based counterparts, digital annual reports help companies reduce their environmental impact, convey a modern image, and attract more investors.
This article highlights the main benefits of digital annual reports and the opportunities they create for businesses of all sizes.
1. Global reach
Digital annual reports are readily available to investors, analysts, and stakeholders across the globe.
When you publish your annual report online, anyone with an internet connection can find it, read it, and share it. By making it easier for investors and analysts to access relevant information, digital annual reports open up new investment opportunities for companies.
Furthermore, online media outlets can easily share or link to your digital annual report, which increases its exposure.
Last but not least, a digital annual report has the potential to help businesses increase their customer base. People everywhere can find the document online, feel inspired by your company’s story, mission, or vision, and choose to become your customers.
With a digital annual report, you can reach a broader audience and significantly grow your business.
2. Valuable marketing tool
Organizations can also use their digital annual report to communicate their achievements, highlight their competitive advantages, and share their future business goals.
Thanks to its digital format, stakeholders can easily share the report via social media, email, and other online channels. Social sharing increases the company’s visibility and raises brand awareness.
3. Increased reader engagement
Conventional annual reports only contain text and static images. Therefore, they are rather dull to read.
On the other hand, digital annual reports can include videos, animations, gifs, or links. Interactive elements grab the attention of your readers and keep them engaged.
Not only are digital annual reports an exciting read compared to paper-based ones, but they are also more user-friendly. It’s significantly easier to find the information you’re looking for within an electronic document. You don’t have to read the entire document to get to the specific parts that interest you. All you have to do is use the search function, and you can get the data you need in a matter of seconds.
4. Lower costs
Even though the initial cost of a digital annual report might be slightly higher, the investment will most likely save you time and money in the long run.
Once you have a template for your annual report, you can easily edit and reuse it every year. Your employees will spend far less time preparing the document, and the entire process will be more cost-effective.
5. Easy to edit and correct mistakes
All humans make mistakes. However, correcting those mistakes is much more difficult when dealing with paper-based annual reports.
Digital annual reports, however, allow you to edit and correct them as many times as necessary. You can fix typos and other mistakes, save the correct version, and upload it on your website.
6. Reduced environmental impact
Digital annual reports are also better for the environment. By preparing and filing annual reports electronically, you reduce your environmental impact.
As consumers and investors become more and more concerned with corporate sustainability, businesses need to reduce their reliance on paper and find more environmentally friendly alternatives.
7. Better tracking and monitoring
Companies that publish their annual reports on their website can use digital solutions to track how many people accessed them. They can also measure user engagement and see what links, videos, and buttons the readers clicked within the report.
This type of data provides organizations with valuable insights that they can use to create even better annual reports in the future.
8. Compliance with legal obligations
The Transparency Directive requires all issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market to prepare their annual reports digitally in the European Single Electronic Format.
Therefore, preparing digital annual reports in ESEF is a must for companies listed on EU regulated markets to ensure compliance.
9. Easier comparison
When all the digital annual reports of a company are readily available online, investors and analysts can easily access them and compare the current financial results with those from past years.
As a result, investors can get a comprehensive overview of the company’s performance and analyze trends without the hassle of finding or storing copies of paper-based annual reports from past years.
10. Additional value
When preparing a digital annual report, finance departments can leverage automation tools to reduce time-consuming tasks such as manually gathering financial data from multiple sources.
By automating the preparation of annual reports, digital accounting solutions allow finance departments to focus on the story behind the numbers and provide more valuable insights to stakeholders.
Sign your digital annual report with Penneo
Companies across many EU countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and Finland use Penneo to sign their annual reports digitally.
Penneo Sign signatures meet the eIDAS requirements for advanced electronic signatures, which means that documents signed with Penneo are legally valid in all EU countries.
Our solution seamlessly integrates with the different tools that finance departments use, so you don’t have to juggle between multiple systems anymore.
You can also leverage our automation capabilities to ensure that the signers receive and sign the annual report in a specific order. The system allows you to upload multiple documents, for example, appendices to the annual report. The signers will only need to sign once to approve all the documents.
With Penneo, you can track who opened, viewed, or signed the annual report and when. To ensure that everyone signs on time, you can also schedule automatic reminders.
Our solution records all the steps of the signing process in an audit trail to help you demonstrate compliance. Eventually, Penneo stores the signed annual report in your archive in conformity with the GDPR.
Request a free trial of Penneo Sign today and get your digital annual reports signed in no time!