In 1987, the SEC eased some of its regulatory requirements. Thereby it would suffice if corporations would present a “Summary Annual Report” instead of the traditional report which was more detailed. Transparency and accountability was still expected, but the procedure was simplified to filling a 10K Form. However, many corporations do not yet issue the “Summary Annual Report”. They still adhere to the more detailed format.
It is required of all publicly held corporations to declare quarterly results. These Financial Reports are not as elaborate as the Annual Reports. These reports are also different in that they try to capture the general trend of various transient performance indicators. Business corporations also release Operational Reports that delves into the technical aspects of revenue generation. These days more and more companies are addressing their potential customer base through “Reports to Communities”, where the implications of the company’s success to the welfare of different communities are dealt with. But since this report is not mandatory and does not fall under any regulatory laws, companies have come to treat them as Public Relations exercises. So the veracity of these reports can be dubious.
Just as business corporations have a set of reports to publish, government agencies and public enterprises have their own standards. It is required of major government sector enterprises to comply by the Government Performance and Results Act (GRPA). Accordingly, GRPA Annual Performance Reports are issued.
These days “environmental stewardship” and “corporate social responsibility” have become catch phrases in the business world. This is an acknowledgement of the fact that consumers nowadays expect high ethical standards from corporations. Partly to cater to this demand and partly to indulge in a Public Relations exercise, some multinational corporations over the last few years have issued reports covering these concepts. Again, these reports have to be read by keeping in mind the motivation behind all corporate action – “Boosting the Bottom-line”. Apart from the 10Ks and 10Qs, corporations also prepare proxy statements, prospectuses, 20Fs and 6ks. Some of these reports are of formal nature and laymen may find it difficult to interpret or analyze. But of all the reports that a business corporation has to present during the course of its functioning, the Annual Reports are the most sought after and most comprehensive compilation of company information.
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