NIRI’s annual report survey finds Web presence, costs on the rise

VIENNA, VA: While producing an annual report remains a company-wide effort, IR pros usually find themselves in a leadership role. But with production costs climbing and more companies looking to the Web to showcase their reports, the task has become more comprehensive than ever before.

VIENNA, VA: While producing an annual report remains a company-wide effort, IR pros usually find themselves in a leadership role. But with production costs climbing and more companies looking to the Web to showcase their reports, the task has become more comprehensive than ever before.

VIENNA, VA: While producing an annual report remains a company-wide

effort, IR pros usually find themselves in a leadership role. But with

production costs climbing and more companies looking to the Web to

showcase their reports, the task has become more comprehensive than ever

before.



These were some of the main findings from the National Investor

Relations Institute’s (NIRI) fourth Annual Report Survey, released

earlier this month.



According to the survey, 56% of respondents identified the IR department

as project manager for the annual report (up from 44% in 1996). However,

almost all agree that the project requires significantly more expertise

than a typical IR department can offer - meaning that all of a company’s

communicators usually wind up pitching in.



The survey places the average budget of producing an annual report at

dollars 138,000, a figure that includes production and distribution but

not postage.



The average cost per copy jumped to dollars 4.38, up from dollars 4.01

in 1996.



Not surprisingly, use of the Internet to disseminate annual reports is

way up - 76% are placed online, up 45% from 1999. ’There’s been a

dramatic increase,’ said NIRI president and CEO Louis Thompson. ’This is

a phenomenon that’s been surging over the last two years.’ An additional

11% of respondents said they plan to debut online versions of their

reports within two years.



Still, many industry experts, such as Newsletter on Annual Reports

publisher Sid Cato, feel that the technology has quite a way to go.



’A lot of people want to do bells and whistles,’ he said. ’It’s really

exciting, but the technology isn’t there right now to make it friendly

enough for novice users.’



Meanwhile, 76% of those polled put the online report together at the

same time they plan the traditional printed version. With a watchful eye

on disclosure rules, 91% of respondents said they do not include

additional information in the online version.



The survey, conducted for NIRI by the Rivel Research Group, drew upon a

random sampling of the institute’s database. NIRI currently boasts

approximately 4,500 members in 31 chapters around the country.



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