Awards 2007: Annual Report & Accounts – Business

AA Awards

Sponsored by ICSA

Winner: WPP

From the chief executive downwards, WPP says it takes the planning and
execution of its annual report very seriously. The cynics out there will
probably say that this is another bit of boiler-plate rhetoric, rolled out by
FTSE heavyweights saying what they think investors want to hear.

But in WPP’s case, this rings true for myriad reasons.

In a financial reporting climate the demands for segmental disclosure can be
crippling. And it is fair to say that a parent company with more than 100
different divisions worldwide, and which employs 98,000 people in advertising,
media investment management, information insight and consultancy, public
relations and public affairs, branding and identity, direct marketing and
healthcare and specialist communications, has a lot to communicate to

The WPP report managed to fill two extremely challenging remits: the first
was to present a single face and a set of easily understood set of figures for
shareholders, with enough detail to allow them to make an informed decision on a
financial, professional and ethical basis.

The second was to expand on the huge diversity of the component companies.
This was not only done well on a large scale, but also expertly summarised in
‘The Six Minute Read’, which simplified the complex, while avoiding distortion.

The judges said: ‘This report is beautifully presented and really gives a
flavour of where the business is going. It rejects jargon and offers excellent
detailed breakdowns of the company’s performance. It clearly states the
opportunities and foreshadows the risks to the business. It demonstrates that
WPP really knows what its business is and amounts to a cracking report.’

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