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Annual Report Review

Updated: October 30, 2023
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The annual report review aims to ensure that all legal responsibilities and compliances are met when delivering the report. Most of the time and expenditure is incurred while reviewing every report individually.

The yearly report is thoroughly examined to verify that all requirements are satisfied and no detail is overlooked. The Rules are laid down in various procedures, such as Federal civil procedure and various state corporation acts that govern corporations in the United States.

At the time of review, a lawyer can request information that focuses on the financial and operational performance of the company. Your legal team must carefully examine, sort, and review each of these documents.

What Are the Things to Consider in an Annual Report Review?

These reports serve as an investor's main source of Information for analyzing the financials and learning about the company, industry, and management viewpoints. If you are a company shareholder, you may obtain annual reports via the company's website; investors generally receive annual reports by mail/email. Furthermore, many companies now offer annual reports on their websites or online platforms. Thus, before mentioning the annual report to the public, it is highly advisable to go for a lawyer's review of the report.

  • Corporate Information

    While reviewing Information about directors, bankers, auditors, registered offices, and corporate offices, certain parameters must be considered, considering their key role in the organization. The titles of each board member and whether or not the auditors have a solid reputation should be carefully considered.

  • Financial Highlights

    A thorough analysis of Information on a company's products, segment-by-segment performance during the previous financial years, important raw materials used, etc. Depending on the business type, some businesses must provide five to ten years' financial highlights in their yearly reports. However, there is no specific requirement for a certain number of years of financial highlights.

    From the income (profit and loss) statement, you can analyze the trends in sales, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization (EBITDA), and profit after tax (PAT/Net income/loss). Charts showing important ratios over five to seven years are also shown.

  • Director's Report

    This part offers a brief review of the financials, an explanation of the financial outcomes, and significant corporate developments. The company's operational metrics, including capacity expansions, CAPEX plans, and projects carried out during the year. The Director's role in order backlog as of the end of the fiscal year is crucial to look at while reviewing reports.

    Business operations vary by sector; therefore, a lawyer with appropriate expertise would suffice the requirement with a deeper understanding.

    Review on director report for the previous three to five years to determine whether management was successful in achieving the sales targets established throughout time, whether the firm benefited from the methods used at the time, and how well management fared in an economically unstable period.

    While reading the annual report, pay attention to the tone of the director report as well. In ideal circumstances, the director’s report should provide a fair and balanced assessment of the company’s performance and prospects.

  • Management Analysis

    Reviewing details on market trends, SWOT analysis of the business, insights on important financial statement line items, and risk factors and issues impacting the organization's operation.

    At the same time, understanding this part and reviewing it leads to learning crucial facts to help you understand the business. Reviewing at least three to five years of data is recommended to comprehend the company's tendencies in various economic climates.

  • Corporate Governance

    It provides Information on the corporate governance practices used by a company, the structure of the board of directors, a background summary of the company's directors and independent directors, the attendance of directors at board meetings and annual general meetings, the compensation of directors, their reappointment after their terms are up the makeup of subcommittees, etc.

    The board of directors structure, the subcommittees' membership, the directors' attendance records at meetings, and the correlation between director compensation and corporate earnings are the key factors to consider in this situation. Examine if the independent directors' profiles reflect the firm's demands given its sector.

  • Information on Shares of the Company

    Information on the company gives details on the historical performance of the share price, the shareholding pattern, the pledge of shares by promoters during the year, the splitting of shares, the distribution of bonus shares, etc.

  • Auditors' Report

    Provides an opinion on the fairness of the financial statement and the company’s compliance with accounting standards. Review and check to see who the company's auditors are and whether they have any credentials regarding internal procedures. If there have been any accounting policy changes, they will be indicated in this section.

  • Financial Statements

    Reviewing offers thorough details on the balance sheet as the year's end, cash flow statement, schedules of the financials for two years, and profit and loss accounts (income statement). We may examine the firm's financial health by analyzing the data from this part. In a subsequent piece, we'll review the critical indicators to look for in financial statements while conducting a company's fundamental analysis.

  • Notes to Accounts

    The company's accounting practices, depreciation technique, foreign exchange losses and gains, segmental reporting, inventories, liabilities, and leases are covered in the notes to accounts annually, providing detailed insights on every financial fluctuation. Reading the account section's notes from the previous three to five years will be beneficial.

    This will make it easier to learn about any adjustments to the accounting year or accounting principles that can increase the company's sales or profits, patterns in segmental revenues and profitability over time, cumulative contingent liabilities, related party transactions, etc.

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Conclusion

An essential step in the annual report review is examining the yearly report. Before distributing the report to the shareholders, this review must be completed. The annual report review also enables firm executives to comprehend the advancements made over the previous year and what adjustments are required to boost profitability.

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Key Terms:

  • Director: A director is a person appointed or elected to manage an organization's business or administrative functions. Directors manage the everyday operations of a company and organizations usually list their information on Companies Register.
  • Financial statements : It is a written record that conveys the business activities and the financial performance of a company. Financial statements are often audited by government agencies, accountants, firms, etc. to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes.
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