THURSDAY 20 AUG 2009 3:49 PM


Business communications consultancy the Smiths Partnership has just completed its ranking of this season’s online annual reports.

Now in their fourth year, the ratings seek to provide an authoritative snapshot of the online reporting landscape and have this year refined the previous metric to focus more on defining value.

Two companies share the accolade of top online annual reporter: Royal Dutch Shell and Provident Financial, the latter reporting in HTML for the first time “and simultaneously showing everyone else how it’s done” says the report. Smiths also singles out Standard Charter as the biggest improver.

However, it expresses disappointment at the online report of BT for “reverting back to an image-based report that, for a company of BT’s size, is surely a dereliction of accessibility obligations.”

The firm studied 22 separate points in two distinct categories: best practice and engagement. Best Practice rating points are awarded for adherence to the best practice guidelines published by the Investor Relations Society, W3C and similar representative bodies. Engagement rating points are awarded for a report’s construction, navigation and communication.