Rather than writing a ponderous document that only a few can understand, businesses should create annual reports that speak to a broad group of people simply and clearly –highly visual and narrative-driven reports that can help businesses connect with shareholders, investors, customers and other stakeholders.
An annual report is a perfect opportunity to highlight your accomplishments and the impact of these accomplishments. The investors and employees want to know what you did and why you did it. By connecting your activities and your accomplishments to the final goals and mission statement, businesses can build trust and foster long-lasting connections.
One of the most difficult parts about writing an annual report is deciding what to include and what to leave out. It’s important to map out the content and the structure of the report.
Apart from the basic elements such as introduction, chairman’s letter, business profile and financial statement, the annual report should have a storyline that defines the overall structure of the report and shapes the content around a narrative thread. This makes it easier to identify and cut out information that does not actively move the story forward.
Use clear, precise and unambiguous writing. Maintain a professional and unbiased position throughout the document. The content of the annual report should be transparent and honest. Don’t inflate accomplishments or disguise the losses that you faced.
A well-designed report that is engaging and professional can be used as a marketing tool by a business. Ideally, readers should be able to scan through the document and get the information they need. Here are some pointers for a good annual report design: