Top 10 Online Annual Reports from Scandinavia

 

A leading solution in investor relations (IR), Tangelo conducts detailed research on annual reporting trends across the world.

Today, as part of our continuing series on digital IR communications and online annual reports, we’re releasing our findings on Scandinavia—including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

We’re thrilled to share these results ahead of this year’s Nordic Investor Relations Conference on September 14. Be sure to catch Tangelo’s team there!

For this research, we examined the 60 largest public companies in Scandinavia, drawing from the Fortune 2000 and the OMX Nordic 40 index. In whole, this report covers 26 businesses from Sweden, 13 from Denmark, 12 from Finland, and 9 from Norway.

Which Scandinavian country had the most impressive online annual reports? Read on to find out! Feel free to contact us to receive a detailed breakdown on the companies and our scoring.

How Scandinavia Stacks Up: Overall Findings & Trends

Before we dive into our Top 10 list, we thought we’d share some of our favorite findings uncovered during our research. So, how did Scandinavia compare to the other regions we’ve reported on?

Delightful Design

True to its reputation, the Scandinavian design we surveyed was generally clean, minimalist, functional, and engaging, with gorgeous photography and stunning videos. Overall, the design was quite impressive.

Online Adoption

Of the 60 companies surveyed, 20 (i.e., one in three, or 33%) offered online annual reports. This is fewer than companies in the DACH region (50%), and slightly more than Canadian companies (28%).

However, of the 20 online versions, a greater share on Scandinavia’s were “complete” annual reports—i.e., full annual reports complete with all the financial statements and notes, rendered into a single online experience. 60% of the Nordic online versions were complete, compared to just 12% in Canada and 42% in the DACH region.

Languages & Length

While it’s unsurprising that all the companies published an annual report in English—the lingua franca of the corporate finance world—almost 90% also published in their country’s native language (though some only published a “summary” report in their native tongue).

The average length of the English version was 158 pages, with banks and financial services companies publishing the largest reports.

Ending the Year in Sync

Virtually every surveyed company ended its fiscal year (FY) on December 31; the only two exceptions were Coloplast (September 30) and H&M (November 30).

Fading Flip Books

Thankfully, only five companies were still hanging on to the old school method of online annual report “flip books”—an antiquated approach where businesses let viewers scroll through PDFs on their site in lieu of real, interactive online reports.

While it’s great to see that the grand majority of Scandinavian companies sidestepped that pitfall, we still have a few “jeers” to follow the cheers of our Top 10 list.

Scandinavia’s Top 10 Online Annual Reports

How do today’s IR leaders engage shareholders and analysts? With dynamic online annual reports—the format outperforms static PDFs and paper reports with features like custom downloads, interactive charts, attention-grabbing videos, and intuitive navigations.

But not all online reports are created equal. Today, we’re ranking the 10 best reports of Scandinavia—just like we did for Canada—based on several criteria.

Get in touch for a detailed accounting, read on to which Nordic companies came out on top, and stick around at the end to see which reports need improvement.

#1: Sampo Group (Finland)

Why it’s great:

  • Its design is stunning, sleek, and responsive
  • It’s incredibly comprehensive and complete—you can even navigate to previous annual reports
  • It’s the only online report that allows users to create custom PDFs by selecting sections as you browse through

#2: Kesko (Finland)

Why it’s great:

  • It features the best background video we’ve seen—beautifully shot and deftly edited
  • It also boasts the best CEO video of the year, with a clean, clear presentation
  • Its design is bright, lively, and easy-to-read throughout

Where it can improve:

  • It lacks the ability to download financials to Excel, and the references in the notes aren’t clickable

#3: Aker Solutions (Norway)

Why it’s great:

  • It showcases Scandinavia’s most original design, with a strong, minimalist home page that conveys a wealth of information

Where it can improve:

  • Its note references aren’t clickable
  • It’s missing some essential tools, like a simple search feature

#4: Wärtsilä (Finland)

Why it’s great:

  • It’s extremely complete, and would have cracked the Top 3 if not for a key missing feature…
  • It makes smart use of video—from the background, to the home page intro video, to the CEO video message

Where it can improve:

  • Its design, shockingly, isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly—a simply inexcusable oversight in 2016
  • Its custom PDF creation tool is rather limited

#5: Electrolux (Sweden)

Why it’s great:

  • Its design is stylish, robust, and functional (just like ElectroLux’s products)

Where it can improve:

  • It’s almost entirely static—a few interactive elements would really elevate the user experience

#6: Novozymes (Denmark)

Why it’s great:

  • It’s very comprehensive, with an engaging CEO video

Where it can improve:

  • It opens with a corny, message that’s a bit too on-the-nose: “Welcome to the Novozymes Report 2015”
  • It’s complete, but nothing spectacular really stands out

#7: Sandvik (Sweden)

Why it’s great:

  • Its bold use of color and creative blueprint-style artwork

Where it can improve:

  • It doesn’t allow you to download to Excel or construct custom PDFs

#8: Ericsson (Sweden)

Why it’s great:

  • It’s simply one of the best responsive reports this year, with elements that adjust seamlessly to your screen size

Where it can improve:

  • Its user interface buttons and other design elements can seem a bit dull and plain

#9: OP-Pohjola (Finland)

Why it’s great:

  • It features our favorite home page of the year, with video, clean navigation, and graphics that unfold as you scroll

Where it can improve:

  • It’s surprisingly not responsive and is missing several tools—only the outstanding design earned its spot in the Top 10

#10: SCA (Sweden)

Why it’s great:

  • It’s quite comprehensive, with complete financials and notes
  • Its colorful navigation makes for a lively user experience

Where it can improve:

  • Its website design, while clean, feels somewhat outdated—especially the static sidebar on the left

Honorable Mention: Best Online Summary Report

While all the online annual reports in our Top 10 were “complete,” one summary-style report still deserves some applause. The engaging online report by Metso (Finland) stands head and shoulders above the other abbreviated sites.

The cleanly integrated CEO video was a major highlight in our eyes. One minor quibble is the slow, somewhat buggy “Open Preview” function on the company’s Reports and Presentations page.

Honorable Mention: Best Online Sustainability Report

A growing trend in the international IR world is the inclusion of CSR (corporate social responsibility), ESG (environmental, social, and governance), and sustainability online reports.

One noteworthy example of this trend came from Sweden’s Boliden. The subject matter of these reports naturally lend themselves to engaging, interesting presentations—Boliden did a great job of integrating best practices, features, and technologies from financial reports into its online GRI report.

How Scandinavian Online Reports Can Improve

There were plenty of outstanding reports from Nordic countries—but several left much to be desired, too. Let’s briefly explore a few areas where these online annual reports can do better.

Static Charts

The grand majority of charts and graphs in these online reports were simply static images. A couple companies offered a chart generator that users could play around with—but in terms of charts embedded in the content, only OP-Pohjola used dynamic web charts in favor of dull images.

Fortunately, Tangelo empowers companies to generate vector-based charts that function as images in the PDF and interactive web charts in the online report.

Awkward PDF Navigation

Several Scandinavian companies offered so-called interactive PDFs, which feature a few clickable navigation controls, often in the footer. By and large, these controls are simply superimposed over a PDF meant for print—and it shows in the clunky design. Additionally, many of these features are pretty impotent (who needs a “next page” button when every PDF reader already has one?).

Interactive PDFs have a place, but their features should be holistically considered as part of the whole design—not just tacked on at the end. Tangelo allows enterprises to generate separate PDF versions—downloadable, print-ready, and truly interactive PDFs—all from a single source.

While some companies added less-than-useful interactivity to their PDFs, others fumbled on a fundamental cornerstone of navigation: the table of contents! In some cases, the PDF reader won’t display the table of contents on the left-hand panel; in other cases, the table in the PDF itself isn’t clickable—both missteps are easy to avoid and make a big impact on user experience.

Downloadable PDFs generated by Tangelo always come equipped with clickable links, including table of contents, note references, and page references.

Fossilized Flip Books

As we mentioned earlier, nearly all Scandinavian companies have thankfully moved beyond the antiquated “flip book” PDF approach to online reports.

Only a few companies, like Atlas Copco and Danske Bank appear to be still stuck in the Stone Age. Pandora had a particularly cringe-worthy flip book in 2014, but it dropped this for 2015 and offered a simple download instead—definitely the right move.

Too Much Marketing

While an online annual report doesn’t have to be all business—it’s meant to engage users, after all—some companies don’t know how to hold back. We always run into a few reports that lay on a little too much marketing content.

For example, H&M opened its annual report like a fashion magazine—with eight (!) consecutive pages of models wearing the brand’s latest clothes. Similarly, AstraZeneca’s online report featured a “Year in Review” animation filled with key findings… after more than two minutes of marketing. Everything in moderation: a light touch lets your brand shine brighter.

See you in Copenhagen!

The Tangelo team looks forward to meeting everyone at the Nordic Investor Relations Conference in Copenhagen. And if you can’t make it to that conference or you’re reading this too late, check out our Events page—we’re bound to be somewhere close to you soon!

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