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BEST PRACTICE: Annual reports - More than just a numbers game

"Many reports do not give you the basic information of who, what, where and how in a simple digestible form. It is dangerous to assume that you can get away without this overview, even for existing shareholders".

Keith Bamber, director of communications, says, "I have always thought it strange that many businesses who are financially underperforming seem to lose their communication skills. You can often tell the financial health of a company from the quality (or absence) of the basic information contained in their annual report.

Surely, when under pressure, the response should be to come out with all guns blazing? This is the time when added clarity and depth of communication is most needed. When clear presentation of the strategy and the unique qualities of the business can help to allay the fears of nervous shareholders".