PracticeConsultingFinancial results by e-mail could mean end of road for annual report

Financial results by e-mail could mean end of road for annual report

Plans to make the release of company information more democratic to access could spell the death of the traditional annual report, according to the chairman of the committee which developed the proposals.

Deloitte & Touche chairman Martin Scicluna, who has led a sub-group of the government’s Company Law Reform Steering Group, said a major concern was shareholders’ inability to access financial information before City institutions.

‘The aim is faster reporting, more transparency and more immediate information,’ Scicluna said.

The proposals would also see the emphasis shift from the annual report – which is normally published four to five months after the year end – to the preliminary financial statement which tends to catch newspaper headlines and influence the market.

Under the plans, preliminary results would be put on the internet and emailed to shareholders to allow ‘equality of information’ between finance professionals and shareholders.

‘It is a major overhaul in financial reporting,’ Scicluna said.’In years to come, the preliminary statement should go out to all and sundry electronically and at the same time. They would be the main financial statements.’

The plans emerged just two weeks after the Accounting Standards Board unveiled its proposals to allow businesses to give shareholders simpler and more accessible versions of annual accounts.

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