Tuesday, July 14, 2009

French to English: Annual Reports, Part 1

If you're a shareholder of a company, you regularly receive the financial statements and annual reports without the need to request for them.  And if you're not a shareholder but are interested in knowing how a company performed in the last year because you're thinking of investing, you call their Investor Relations Department and request financial reports.  annual reports1 Or you can consult an independent financial analyst like Hoover's or Bloomberg's (your broker is also a possible source) and read what they have to say about the company's financial health.  Many companies also post their annual reports on their web site.  In official bilingual countries like Canada, companies publish their annual reports in both French and English.




rapport annuel annual report
profil de la société corporate profile
compte de résultats consolidé consolidated income statement

How many of you read the annual reports that arrive in the mail?  Those who have a keen interest in the company's performance or who bought a significant number of shares would probably read the annual report from cover to cover; others would scan it without eyeballing the figures while others would simply tuck them away. 

For most people, however, annual reports are like legal documents (a.k.a. "boring").  They're standard compliance reports that companies must submit to securities regulators once a year. 

I've read very few annual reports over the years.  I read them not because I'm a numbers freak, but because they caught my attention.  Let's face it, how many annual reports are written in a very engaging manner with simple but effective English?  Even annual reports of creativity-oriented companies like advertising and marketing lack a certain something.

An annual report must go beyond the concept of financial reporting; it must tell a compelling story.  Readers should feel that they're reading a true story, not learning a foreign language.



intégration des bénéfices non-répartis consolidated retained earnings
revenus revenues
gains nets net earnings
bénéfice net par action net earnings per share

The Annual Reports Library (http://www.zpub.com/sf/arl/arl-tips.html) say that annual reports contain 9 sections:  (a)  chairman's (or president's) message, (b)  sales and marketing, (c)   financial highlights, (d)  management discussion and analysis, (e) auditor's statement, (f) financial statements, (g) subsidiaries, brands and addresses, (h) directors and officers and (i) stock price.  Items (e) to (i) are required.  The Securities and Exchange Commission requires (d) and financial analysts, according to the Annual Reports Library, insist on item (i) - stock price.



message du président du conseil d'administration chairman's message
marketing et ventes sales and marketing
points saillants financial highlights
rapport de gestion management discussion and analysis
déclaration du vérificateur auditor statement
états financiers financial statements
filiales, marques et adresses subsidiaries, brands and addresses
directeurs et dirigeants directors and officers
cours de l'action stock price

More annual report terminology in my next blog!

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