This guide aims to help you identify sources for annual reports.
In most jurisdictions, public companies are required by law or listing rules to publish annual reports. An annual report contains financial highlights, discussions of the previous year’s activities, projections, future plans, directors’ report, auditors’ report, financial statements and notes, etc. The content provides vital information, which helps us understand a company's performance, culture, business history, financial condition, risk areas, and long-term viability.
The stakeholders who read a company’s annual reports include its shareholders, customers, vendors, employees, financial institutions, potential investors, relevant regulatory bodies, researchers, and students.
If the databases do not have access to such reports, you can consider approaching Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). You can buy annual reports and filings for a small sum. This may be necessary particularly for private companies.
An annual report typically contains five major sections:
1. Corporate Profile
2. Management Commentary
3. Corporate Governance
4. Statutory Reports
5. Financial Statements
For detailed explanations, please refer to Case 01 of the following casebook by Dr. Themin Suwardy, the Associate Dean (Curriculum & Teaching) and MPA Programme Director at the School of Accountancy, SMU.
Call Number: HF5681.B2 S89 2010
Location: Reserves, Level 2, Li Ka Shing Library
Below are some selected companies that you can use to help understand the nature of annual reports. You would notice that the actual contents vary from one company to another, but the typical sections mentioned above are normally included.