Company Reports – Chisman ups clarity in reports

Neil Chisman, finance director of hotels group Stakis, won praise last week for injecting plain English into his company’s report and accounts, from Edinburgh-based accounts monitor Company Reporting.

Chisman was credited with introducing explanations about why certain policies have been adopted and even how they may evolve in the light of policies recently established by the Accounting Standards Board. The report and accounts also contain a glossary of accounting terms and jargon used in the hotel and gaming businesses.

‘It would be a positive development if other companies were to take Stakis’ lead in this respect,’ said a spokesman for Company Reporting.

Chisman said he spent several years concentrating on making the accounts clearer, but this was the first time he had focused on the text.

‘We asked ourselves what was behind the idea of putting in the accounting policies and then asked what shareholders would really want. There was some concern the report was getting bigger, but we decided to press ahead because it is the only genuine communication with shareholders all year.’

He said the company had sent out 200 comment cards to shareholders and the majority had appreciated the new format.

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