Sample Essay on Effective Communication of the Financial Position of a Company

  1. How do they use visuals to keep attention?

McDonald’s and Walt Disney have both employed visuals in the form of tables and line graphs to ensure the extensive statistics about both companies are summarized after lengthy literature. The essence is to attract stakeholders to various areas or elements of interest that will lead to perusal of the specific details in the literature upon summarization. The human mind is able to retain 50% of what it is made to see and only 10% of what it is made to hear (Information Resources Management Association, 2010, p. 1207).  This is why the tables and graphs are evenly scattered through the reports. However, McDonald’s has gone further in its visual intent through a colorful cover page and last page to its report that emphasizes the nature of their business at a glance. The network, processes and diversity elements are well captured to make a reader get attracted to details that are graphically represented including the line graph on stock performance (McDonald’s Corporation, 2013, p. 51). Walt Disney has failed in this area because the report only contains a black and white logo on the first page that gives no mental preview of what the business is about, to a first-timer.

  1. What differences do you see in the letters from the CEOs?
  • The opening address of McDonald’s is endearing with the CEO Mr. Don Thompson specifically referring to the shareholders by the phrase “To our valued Shareholders” (McDonald’s Corporation, 2013, p. II). Walt Disney is short of the warmth perceived from the opening sentiments for the CEO’s Mr. Robert Iger’s opening phrase is plain; “Dear Shareholders” (WDC, 2014, p. 1).
  • Thompson delves into specific details of the company assets and strategies while Mr. Iger concentrates on the strength of his team.
  • McDonald’s CEO approaches the company status prioritizing customer preferences and satisfaction while the Walt Disney CEO focuses on profit motives through acquisitions and increased sales.
  1. How do they present number-heavy information? Do they rely mainly on tables and graphs? Do they give prose summaries?

Both companies have relied heavily on tabulation and graphs to present number-heavy information. The summaries provided attempt to explain only isolated details deemed complicated within the tables or graphs.

  1. Is the writing easy to understand?

I find McDonald’s writing easy to understand because the language is less complicated as compared to Walt Disney’s. Furthermore, Mr. Thompson’s letter is categorical and summarizes the details in the rest of the document. The readers discern what they expect because the sections are brief and clear. Walt Disney’s approach seems technical and reserved for a privileged few. The content has a lot of numerical values despite having numerous tables and graphs containing the same information. The element of redundancy is not appealing.

  1. Do you see places where negative information is given a positive spin?

The Walt Disney report is full of praise to the company and rarely acknowledges shortfalls. Setbacks are briefly listed and never justified while positives are expounded upon (WDC, 2014, p. 30). However, the McDonald’s CEO’s letter was exemplary in terming their shortfall as related to the company’s high- expectations. The Company’s Chairman Mr. McKenna further neutralizes the setbacks through his letter with reference to them as being “globally challenging environment” (McDonald’s Corporation, 2013, p. III). The essence is in acknowledging such challenges as being universal and not restricted to McDonald’s. The CEO is able to immediately indicate challenges as motivations for immediate and long term excellence.

  1. Is one report easier to understand than the other? Why?

McDonald’s report is easy to understand because literature contains less statistics as they are reserved for the graphs and tables. Ideas are shared in a simple and straight forward manner without constant numerical interruptions.

  1. Is one report more interesting than the other? Why?

The McDonald’s report is more interesting to read because the literature is split into two columns in all pages. This provides an easy time in skimming through the document. The language used is less technical and provides a human touch (Bolten, 2012, p. 17). Walt Disney’s report sounds like a series of statements and facts providing little opportunities to engage the readers’ imagination.

  1. Is one report more convincing than the other? Why?

The McDonald’s report is more convincing than the world Disney report because it is brief and gives clear explanations that would not require the help of an interpreter. The report also focuses more on the company’s internal structures and initiatives to explain performance (Epstein, 2014, p. 40). It is easy to rank a company from its controlled internal environment than the external environment that is unpredictable. Walt Disney has highlighted new acquisitions as a means of enhancing profitability. This provides room for assumptions including individual viability of the new acquisitions.  Acquisitions have a weakness because the expansion costs sometimes override the increased revenue due to focus on the same market share (Epstein, 2014, p. 44).



Bolten, R. (2012). Painting with numbers: presenting financials and other numbers so people will understand you. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Epstein, L. (2014). Financial decision making: An introduction to financial reports. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Information Resources Management Association. (2010). Web-based education: concepts, methodologies, tools and applications. Hershey, Penn.: Information Science Reference.

McDonald’s Corporation. (2013). McDonald’s Corporation 2013 Annual Report. Retrieved from:

WDC. (2014). Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Financial Report And Shareholder Letter. Retrieved from: