When Big Four professional services firm EY decided to create an online hub for Reporting in 2016, it gave Wardour an opportunity to rethink the kind of content we produced in partnership with them and experiment with new formats.
We had originally launched Reporting with EY’s global Assurance marketing team in 2011 as a biannual print publication; its primary target audience was board members, finance directors and audit committee chairs of large multinational companies. The aim was to showcase EY as thought leaders on the issues involved in communicating corporate performance, and we achieved this by commissioning experienced financial journalists to write in-depth features on topical issues around financial reporting, regulation, risk and corporate governance. The magazine also contained insightful interviews with CFOs, audit committee chairs, regulators and investors, as well as shorter first-person viewpoints.
When Reporting began the transition to an online-only content programme, with its own hub on EY.com, these articles were retained, but EY also took advantage of Wardour’s multimedia capabilities and added elements such as videos and infographics. By now, it was becoming clear that emerging technologies were going to transform the audit in the coming years, and we agreed with EY that animated videos would be the ideal medium to explore why and how this would happen.
The first of these animations set the template, using a simple (and sometimes quirky) animation style that exploited the possibilities of the EY brand and a concise, thought-provoking voiceover to explain why blockchain – still a relatively new concept at the time – had the potential to revolutionise the audit.
The blockchain animation was followed by a second that explored how artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the work of auditors; a third summarised the key points of an EY survey that looked at how new technology and skills can help rebuild trust in business; and the fourth returned to the topic of AI and how it can be used to measure new KPIs as companies increasingly focus on communicating how they create long-term value.
The animations Wardour has created with EY proved extremely popular with the C-suite Reporting audience. They are generally time-poor, so videos that convey key information and provide food for thought in less than three minutes are ideal for them. Indeed, the first AI animation has consistently been among the most viewed items on the Reporting hub, and in the Assurance section of EY.com as a whole, since it was uploaded in 2018.