Dematerialization, data analysis, risk prevention, fraud detection and many other functionalities, technology is now present in all areas of the finance department. The annual report is no exception to this rule. Analysis.
A true instrument of the company’s financial communication, the annual report brings together the annual accounts (balance sheet, income statement and notes), the company accounts and all the information concerning the company. Generally intended for investors, the annual report is also addressed to all the company’s stakeholders. While trust between the company and the latter had eroded during the 2000s (Enron scandal, financial crisis, etc.), technological advances, which have continued to grow in recent years, have come at the right time to enable financial management to restore the confidence of the past.
The digital transformation and massive processing of data makes it possible for financial functions to support their annual accounts in a more comprehensive way. We still have to do it. In the study “How does the use of technology enable the annual report to increase transparency and trust in companies? “published by EY, 49% of CFOs surveyed said they spend more time collecting data than analyzing and exploiting it. While robotization and the use of artificial intelligence could automate tasks, predict scenarios and thus overcome the pitfalls of data scraping, 41% of CFOs deplore the lack of communication between IT and financial services. This deficiency would then be a barrier to the integration of new technologies.
The requirements emanating from stakeholders (employees, State, local authorities, local residents, NGOs, etc.) have increased over the years, as evidenced by the evolution of CSR regulations. Thus, according to the same study conducted by EY, while 62% of investors say they have confidence in the quality of annual reports, this statistic disappears when companies include non-financial data (83%). In addition to providing assurance on environmental, social and government strategy, non-financial data are essential to the measurement of intangible assets, as reported by 73% of CFOs surveyed. These assets represent 59% of the market value of the companies in the S&P 100 Index.