Annual report accessibility checklist

  • Author: Tim Lohman
  • Date: 25 Jun 2014

With the end of the financial year fast approaching the time has come to consider annual reports, and more specifically, making sure they’re accessible.

Regardless of whether your work for a government agency, a not-for-profit or publicly-listed company, chances are that the most important document your organisation produces is its annual report.

It’s the one that everyone — including the one in five Australians with a disability, older Australians, those with differing education levels and those from a non-English speaking background — read first. And more often than not, they read it online.

For that reason, it’s really important that a PDF, Word and HTML version of the report is available and that those versions are compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers.

To make sure your annual report — any other document you produce — is accessible, Access iQ recommends making sure you follow the global standard in web accessibility, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).

You can also get in touch with us to see how we can assist your organisation produce accessible documents through our on-site training and digital accessibility consultancy service. These services help organisations identify what is needed to ensure their documents, websites and mobile device applications are accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.0.

In the meantime, here’s a brief but handy checklist of accessibility issues for you to address in your annual report:

  • Make Word, PDF and HTML versions of the report available
  • When linking to your reports, make sure you use the accessible name convention that includes software type and file size.

When looking at components of the report itself, make sure you have addressed the following:

  • Content: headings, colour contrast, image labels.
  • Charts – don't use colour alone, label the data ranges, and provide source in a text alternative under the chart.
  • Ensure that financial information contained in tables is correctly marked up with header row and first column tags.
  • Supply a summary explanation in words for all financial reports.
  • Offer people who have difficulty in accessing the information an opportunity to make contact with the organisation to obtain further detail.  Ensure that these processes are publicised and documented within your organisation and that the process works.
  • Decorative images (those that don’t convey important information) don't require alternative text.  All other images will require that you include alternative text.
  • If text overlays an image, ensure there is sufficient colour contrast.

Access iQ has also put together an accessible content writing starter kit, covering everything you need to know to make your content accessible.


Media Access Australia, as a leader in accessibility, has a wealth of resources for organisations looking to make their workplaces, systems and processes more accessible for people with disabilities.

These include expert guides such as the Service Providers' Accessibility Guide and Sociability: social media for people with a disability. We also have a dedicated web accessibility hub, Access iQ and provide professional accessibility services and practical advice. For those seeking professional development in web accessibility, we have partnered with the University of South Australia on the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility