Global accounting body CPA Australia has launched a free, plain-English guide to help Kiwi investors better understand annual reports and make more informed investment decisions.

CPA Australia’s "A guide to understanding annual reports: New Zealand" listed companies, produced in partnership with national accounting firm Staples Rodway, provides an explanatory overview of annual reports, financial statements, analytical tools as well as a glossary of financial terminology. 

“It’s all about helping investors make more informed investment decisions,” says David Jenkins, Country Manager – New Zealand, CPA Australia. 

“This is particularly relevant during company reporting season when investors are reviewing their investments and making decisions based on their ability to read what’s behind the numbers.

Mr Jenkins said the guide would help to unlock the immense amount of powerful information in a listed company's annual report.

“To the uninitiated or those not regularly dealing with financial data and reports, annual reports can be quite daunting.

“However, with the right guidance and a little bit of knowledge they can be quick and easy to demystify and reveal a heap of information not readily interpreted at first glance.

“This guide will provide existing or prospective investors with a whole new perspective on the performance of a company over the reporting period.” 

Mr Jenkins said the guide would also equip shareholders with the knowledge necessary to ask pertinent questions of the company both during a company’s annual general meeting and throughout the year.

“Annual general meetings provide a great way for investors to really quiz boards and executive teams on company performance and the rationale for decisions throughout the year.

“This guide will help less experienced investors in particular to build the financial literacy skills they need to become more active and engaged shareholders.”

Download a copy of the Guide to understanding annual reports: New Zealand listed companies (PDF).  Other free guides available from CPA Australia include A guide to understanding auditing and assurance: NZ-issuer companies (for investors) and the Guide to achieving financial success (for small-medium businesses) .


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