An annual report is one of the most crucial elements when it comes to shareholder communications. It acts as a comprehensive statement which details both relevant activities and relevant results, of your company within the last 12 months. But while it’s vital for shareholder communications, annual reports are far from a yearly chore. Because they don’t need to cover financials exclusively, they’re also a great opportunity when it comes to outreach.
Still, producing a document with such high stakes can be taunting. In today’s blog, we’ll be providing you with 4 tips for creating an annual report.
Shareholder Communications: Best Practice for Designing Your Annual Report Header
First things first. At the beginning of your annual report, include your company’s name and logo, as well as the year your report will be covering. Make sure the colour scheme matches your current company branding; if you’ve had any overhauls in that department in the last year, update accordingly.
For the header of your annual report, it’s also effective to highlight a particular figure or quote that sums up the company’s year.
Once you’ve completed your header, your next step will be creating the table of contents. This will give your shareholders an indication of what you’re going to cover in the document.
Take Advantage of Multiple Mediums
Typically your annual report will exist in print form, but there are a number of other mediums you should be embracing. If you’re distributing the document in digital form as a PDF or as a post on your website, there will be numerous opportunities to drive website traffic, encourage shares on social media, and boost awareness of your brand. On your website, make sure you’re linking to any relevant resources for any extra information that your shareholders might be looking for. You can’t include everything in the annual report, after all. Collateral like case studies, press releases, and whitepapers will increase engagement and add even more value to the document.
Shareholder Communications: Audited Statements Regarding Income
Before you present them in an annual report, all of your income/expense reports must go through the professional audit process. It will help to paint you as the reliable company that you are, and instil confidence in whoever’s reading the report, whether that’s shareholders, prospective investors, or financial institutions.
The section that covers your income and expenses should include your company’s income for the past year, along with supporting statements. These statements will give shareholders a complete picture of your company’s current financial situation, and how this compares to the start of the year.
Finalise the Structure and the Content of Your Annual Report
An aspect of producing annual reports that businesses often find challenging is knowing what to mention, and what not to mention. It’s vital that you’re mapping out the structure of your document, and the content you’ll be including.
Once you have the basics (intro, letter from the chairman, business profile, and statements regarding income), think of the rest as if you’re telling a story. Shape your content around a narrative thread. This will make it far easier to spot information that could be removed.
Perivan can support your business with a range of shareholder communication documentation. Need a bespoke solution for your shareholder communications? Perivan can help.