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New survey shows that companies' annual reports are getting bigger but not better

Increasing regulation - OFRs in the UK, Nouvelles Régulations Economiques in France, social & environmental reporting in Scandinavia & the Netherlands - is forcing companies to report more and more detail making it difficult for shareholders to see the big picture according to a new survey. Europe's top 100 companies are facing a growing mountain of regulation, leading to thicker and thicker annual reports,  according to the latest edition of the Company Report Report, from Prowse & Co, the corporate communications consultancy.


The survey of companies? annual reports for the financial year 2003-2004 concludes that the increasing burden of regulation is polarising companies into two groups:  the majority, who adopt  a  tick-the-box  approach to reporting,  and the few who communicate effectively about their non-financial policies and performance.


According to the Report's author, Matthew Grenier, the greater burden of regulatory compliance is leading to a decline in the communications effectiveness of annual reports.  ?Reports are getting bigger, but not better,? he says.  ?The average score this year has increased from last year's levels, but this is more a reflection of the quality of those at the top of the pile than those in the middle and at the bottom.

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