Current Trends in Reporting Financial Information
BY PRESLEY S. FORD, JR. Partner, Tulsa Office
Presented before the Oklahoma Control of Controllers Institute of America, Inc., Tulsa — January 1959
JANUARY has arrived once again. As controllers many of you are presently engaged in closing your books, in cooperating with your certified public accountants in completing the annual audit, and in preparing your annual report. It is appropriate, therefore, that we think together this evening about current trends in reporting financial
As a practicing certified public accountant, I am best acquainted with and shall confine my remarks to trends in reporting financial information in the annual report to shareholders. This leaves untouched
the whole area of financial reporting to management, but many reporting techniques which are used in annual reports are equally useful in reports to management.
The fact that your program chairman suggested the title "Current
Trends in Reporting Financial Information" indicates that you are interested in changes in reporting practices, that you want to know the direction in which reporting practices are headed.
Most of us, I believe, realize that the annual report has changed significantly in the post-war years. Twelve years ago the typical annual report was an unimposing document containing the financial statements, the accountants' certificate, and a brief letter to shareholders.
Today the typical annual report is a colorful booklet, sometimes
containing more than fifty pages, replete with photographs, drawings, and charts, in which a wealth of information is presented in an attractive and readable style.
This trend toward more elaborate and more expensive annual reports reflects, I believe, the realization by American industry that the annual report is an important medium of corporate expression. The annual report tells the company's story. It tells the company's story to various groups—to shareholders, to creditors, to investors, to employees, to competitors, and to the general public. If it tells the company's story effectively, relations with each of these reader groups may be improved. If it does not, relations with each of these reader groups may be adversely affected.
As controllers and accountants, therefore, we ought to strive to