Company reporting based on top dog’s performance

I’d like to believe that honesty and transparency will become the norm in annual reports (DW 12 June). But I’m not sure I will live that long.

I’ve been writing reports and accounts for more than six years, and it seems to me that no matter how closely the writer and the designer work together in the name of clarity, obfuscation rules, because clients (understandably) do not generally want to wash their dirty laundry in public.

Few chief executives want to appear to have been managing their companies anything less than perfectly; and some think that what is actually going on isn’t really anyone else’s business.

The starting point is often, ‘Don’t tell it like it is’.

And while telecommunications giant Ericsson might win plaudits for the ‘jaw-dropping frankness’ of its report, the plight of Ericsson was surely well known enough to mean that looking on the bright side was scarcely an option.

Martin Beaver

London SW17

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