Financial reporters, when it comes down to it, are storytellers: they are telling the story of a company using a combination of clear, objective language and comprehensive, incontrovertible data. When you’ve finished reading their financial report, you should have little doubt where that company stands—or where it’s going.\nA company’s annual report highlights the past year’s results within the context of corporate strategies, competitive strengths and industry fundamentals. Leaders in financial reporting remain true to the foundation of transparency and accountability while exploring innovative ways to help readers understand key information. \nOnce again, PotashCorp>— our winner in 2016 — demonstrates why it is a recognized Canadian leader in this field. Its financial reports tell an organized and complete story: the information is balanced and comprehensive, while strategy is clearly linked to performance. Our honourable mention, Intact Financial Corporation, also impressed judges with the clarity and specificity of its disclosures. \n5 ways to stand out in financial reporting\nHere are five key tips to help you stand out in financial reporting:\n1. Draw attention to the most significant data first. \nThe sheer volume of financial and other data in corporate reports is overwhelming. Think about the information your reader will value the most. Emphasize the most significant and relevant information first and layer in more detailed information based on relevance and importance. Open with a succinct executive summary and organize subsequent information in such a way that additional details can be easily found.\n2. Make the narrative more accessible and understandable. \nDense and wordy narratives do little to communicate effectively with current and potential investors. Tables, bullets, charts and graphics help make the information easier to capture and help readers understand trends and future plans.\n3. Replace technical and obscure terminology with clear and concise language. \nClear language trumps verbose and ambiguous wording every time. Scrub each story for industry jargon and overly technical descriptions. While it’s challenging to pare reporting back to its essence, the upfront investment in time—to edit and curate information—is worthwhile.\n4. Align the narrative and reports to avoid apparent inconsistencies or contradictions. \nThis is particularly important when matching disclosure on corporate objectives and strategies with performance. Scorecard information that is forthcoming and insightful impresses judges – and more importantly, investors.\n5. Judiciously cross reference. \nHelp the reader connect the dots. Truly effective disclosures cut out repetitions and redundancies, and make intelligent use of cross references (parenthetical explanations that communicate direct relationships between assets and liabilities).\nIn search of inspiration? Check out the companies that won awards in this category in 2016. \n\n Award of Excellence in Corporate Reporting (Financial Reporting category), PotashCorp \n Honourable Mention, Intact Financial \n\nFor more information on this and other categories, check out the 2016 Judges’ Book for profiles on last year’s winners.\nEntries for the 2017 Awards of Excellence in Corporate Reporting are open May 1 – June 30.