4 mistakes to avoid when writing an annual report
There’s a lot of crucial information to include in your annual report, but the compulsion to include as much detail as possible often leads to such documents becoming overstuffed with padding. Some ‘fluff’ is certainly appropriate- it can’t all be hard facts and figures- but how do you strike the right balance?
It takes time to get your annual report right, and in today’s blog, we’ll be making that process a little bit easier. Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when you’re producing an annual report.
Don’t assume every word of your report will be read
While some of your shareholders are going to be reading the entirety of your annual report, most of your shareholders will likely be giving their attention to the most important stuff. If the start of your report is full of fluff, readers will be discouraged from giving the document their full attention. Unnecessary padding will also just make your report longer than it needs to be.
Always assume that the people reading the document are just as busy as you are. Make your formatting reader-friendly, and don’t overload with jargon. Excluding the sections that need to be technical, the best course of action is usually writing in a plain and easy-to-follow manner.
Don’t leave your annual report until the last minute
Every year of running a business is hectic, but putting off your annual report until the last minute could result in a shabby final product that reflects poorly on your company, and on yourself. Make sure you leave plenty of time to decide on your content, and who you’ll need to be liaising with in order to complete the document.
If you’ve never produced an annual report before and you’re not sure where to start, Perivan’s annual report team can help you with the process – but more on that at the end of the blog.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
Obviously, the content itself is key, but for many consumers of your annual report, the actual writing and syntax of the document will be just as important. Once it’s finished, proofread your annual report, and then proofread it again. Ideally, you’ll have multiple people to look it over, some of whom might notice errors you’d overlooked.
Those kinds of errors may be small ones, but inconsistencies (if picked up on by shareholders) could create a bad impression of your company. Watch out for things like bullet points. Do they all end with full stops, or only some of them? Are the semi-colons inconsistent? Ironing out your copy may seem like a lower priority, but a lot of people are going to be reading this report, and they just might be keeping their eyes peeled for syntax slip-ups.
Don’t lose your creativity
An annual report is an important document that should be taken seriously, but serious doesn’t always mean ‘dull’. Get creative with it by considering what you would be looking for in an annual report. Images and dynamic infographics are great ways to inject some more life into your annual report.
Amidst our range of Corporate Reporting Services solutions, we assist businesses with their investor and shareholder communications, including annual reports. To find out more about what we offer, check out our Design Studio page.