Hot topics in corporate reporting

6th October 2016|Corporate Reporting|

As we head into the main corporate reporting season, it’s time to have a look at some of this year’s hot topics.

The good news is that there are no additional disclosure requirements for the strategic report this year. Companies therefore have more freedom to focus on improving their annual reports.

Hot topics in corporate reporting

The less good news is that even though the rules haven’t changed, there are several areas that are interesting the government, the Financial Reporting Council, the media and even the general public. In no particular order, these are culture, risk, tax, executive pay, boardroom behaviour and business models. We think every company should be looking hard at how they discuss these items. (more…)

Business writing in a low-trust, post-truth world

1st July 2016|Copywriting Tips|

Our politicians have declared the fact extinct. You can say what you want, disparage the experts and claim to be an anti-establishment billionaire. It doesn’t matter. They know we’re living in a post-truth world.


Politicians lie because in the short term, it’s effective. In the same way that fun beats data, the well-told political lie trumps the fact-checked rebuttal. Politicians also have a single objective: winning the vote. Once in power they know they’ll be judged on what they do, not what they said to get there.

The erosion of trust is dangerous for business

Political lies work but they’re also corrosive. Survey after survey shows politicians are among the least trusted people in society. If you can’t trust your leaders, who can you trust? Even charities are finding trust is at an all-time low.

This is dangerous territory for businesses. IPSOS Mori’s survey at the start of this year found that only 35% of British adults expected business leaders to tell the truth. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that while trust in business is at a post-crisis high, that’s only true for the better off. Among people earning more than £100,000 a year, trust in business stands at 67%. Among people earning less than £15,000, that falls to just 35% – a trust gap of 32 percentage points.


Is your annual report shrouded in FOG?

9th September 2015|Corporate Reporting|

Annual report season is approaching fast for December year ends. Most companies will be looking to improve on last year, to communicate more clearly and concisely what they’re trying to do and how well they’re doing it.


Often, that process focuses on the technicalities of corporate reporting: linking strategy to your KPIs, integrating sustainability, reviewing your risk disclosures or refreshing your business model. That’s all necessary and we’d encourage you to do it.

But there’s something else you can do, which could massively improve your report and even boost your share price: use different words. (more…)

Copywriting projects – June 2015

1st June 2015|Client Projects|

This is the latest in an occasional series of posts, in which we keep you up to date with the ways we’re helping our clients.

If you thought we only wrote annual reports – and we write a lot of them – you may be surprised by some of the other things we do.

Annual reports

Since our last update, we’ve done a ton of work on annual reports, including:Jupiter Annual Report 2014


Sustainability reporting in your strategic report

20th April 2015|Corporate Reporting|

Sustainability disclosures in your strategic report

Over the last few months, we’ve written two posts on sustainability reporting for our friends over at CLT envirolaw.

The first post looks at the basics. In particular, it covers the main areas that sustainability information is likely to appear in the strategic report section of your annual report (more…)

We’re UK Corporate Reporting Firm of the Year

29th October 2014|Corporate Reporting|

We’re delighted to say that the readers of Finance Monthly magazine have voted Richard Hollins & Associates the UK Corporate Reporting Firm of the Year for 2014.

If you voted for us, then thanks very much. Corporate reporting is a huge part of what we do and it’s great to know that we’re doing a good job for our clients.



Spotlight on Corporate Reporting

17th October 2014|Corporate Reporting|

We’re in October’s Finance Monthly magazine, giving our views on annual report developments as part of the Spotlight on Corporate Reporting feature.

In the article, we talk about:

  • why good reporting adds real value for companies
  • how to be a good reporter
  • improving your annual report, including the key areas where companies need to do better
  • the importance of strong corporate governance reporting, and
  • the benefits of corporate reporting for private companies.

Click on the image below to download a copy of the article.

annual report developments

What’s next for the strategic report?

6th October 2014|Corporate Reporting|

Most companies have now published their first strategic reports, so this seems like a good time to look at what comes next.

In this free white paper, we consider how companies can make their next strategic report as useful as possible for investors.

Strategic Report White Paper


Copywriting projects – September 2014

4th September 2014|Current Projects|

We sometimes find that clients don’t realise the full range of things we can help them with. So from time to time, we’re going to post what we’re working on, just to highlight what we can do for you.

Annual reports

We’ve just wrapped up two annual reports for FTSE 250 companies, which are both repeat clients.

The first required us to write the strategic report from scratch, based on interviews with the chairman, chief executive, finance director and divisional MDs. At the same time, we edited the sustainability report and wrote an introduction for it. (more…)

How to write an annual report

7th March 2014|Copywriting Tips, Corporate Reporting|

Many people come to this site looking for advice on how to write an annual report. This post is for you. We’ve assumed that you’re writing it for a UK public company but most of the principles here apply to any kind of organisation.

1. Work out your timetable

It’s a basic point but you need to give yourself enough time to get the report written and published. Don’t underestimate this.

Writing an annual report can easily take eight weeks or more, bearing in mind that you need to gather the information, produce a draft, get it reviewed (often several times), then signed off by management and (probably) the board. Then you’ll need to allow time for artworking, proofreading, printing and mailing.


You should have started weeks ago…


Eight steps for writing a successful white paper | Copywriting tips

1st November 2013|Content Marketing Tips, Copywriting Tips|

You need to think before you write your white paper

A successful white paper needs careful planning if it’s to achieve your business goals. Here we outline eight key steps to pain-free white paper copywriting. (more…)

Writing a strategic report | Annual report copywriting

28th October 2013|Corporate Reporting|

Strategic report content

The strategic report is the critical part of your annual report. It’s where you set out what your business does, what you’re looking to achieve and how well you’re progressing. This makes the strategic report fundamental to your investors’ understanding of why they should own shares in your company. In this post, we’ve picked out the key things you need to think about, so you can produce a strategic report that works for you.  (more…)

Four tips for improving your sustainability reporting | Sustainability copywriting

31st July 2013|Copywriting Tips, Corporate Reporting|

Sustainability Copywriting

The best Alex cartoons skewer the City’s hypocrisy like nothing else. This cynical and outdated dig at sustainability isn’t one of them – not by a long shot. Even so, it does contain four excellent lessons for any company wanting to improve its sustainability reporting. (more…)

Are you ready for the strategic report? | Annual report copywriting

20th June 2013|Corporate Reporting|

BIS logo

UPDATE: if you want advice on how to implement the new regulations, go to our post on writing a strategic report.

Last November, the government published its proposals to reform narrative reporting for UK quoted companies. The new regulations to bring this into force were finally laid before Parliament last week and were pretty much as expected, except they now include requirements to report greenhouse gas emissions which had been subject to a separate consultation process.


Three reasons that pie charts suck | Financial copywriting tips

10th May 2013|Content Marketing Tips, Copywriting Tips, Corporate Reporting|

Pie charts are everywhere. If you’ve ever had to present numbers, you’ve used them. They’re easy to create, look (superficially) smart and fill lots of empty space in your presentation or paper. I’ve used a ton of them, right up to the point that I found out they suck.

This revelation came courtesy of Randall Bolten’s Painting with Numbers. Bolten, an experienced Silicon Valley CFO, lists what he calls the deadly sins of presenting numbers. (more…)