Annual reports for public companies, at their most basic level, need to include;
- Balance sheet
- Statement of cash flow
- Income statement
- The market price of the company’s stock
- An overall description of the industry or industries in which the company is involved.
- MD&A of the business’s financial condition along with the posted results over the prior two years.
- A brief description of the company’s business in the most recent year.
- Information related to the company’s various business segments.
- Listing of the company’s directors and executive officers.
While it is not required to have a fancy, colorful, or beautiful annual report, simply only including the necessary basic information can be a costly mistake. A Rochester Institute of Technology survey found that “80% of investors, portfolio managers, and analysts agree that the annual report is the single most important publication a public company produces.” Annual reports are your chance to tell owners, partners, and shareholders the story of their business during the last year. It is also your chance to show them the work you have done for the previous year. It’s your chance to show off a little. Reach Reporting wants to help you accomplish both objectives in less time.
Below are five ways to make sure your report stands out and impresses those who read it. Plus five ways Reach can help with each of them;
1. Create and use infographics.
Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly. They improve understanding by combining graphics and information (hence the name) to simplify the reader’s ability to see patterns and trends. Using infographics works wonders if you have found yourself with a lot of significant numbers and information to present but are having a hard time making them easy to digest. Infographics are easy to create with one of the many design software options available.
Adding infographics to your report in Reach is as easy as a few mouse clicks. Once created, use the “add image” feature.
2. Integrate photography.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” An annual report is not just the numbers of a business; it is the story of the company. Adding photos is a simple yet highly effective way to tell the story. Let’s be honest here, everyone who receives the annual report may not read it from cover to cover, but I guarantee they will flip through and look at the pictures. Knowing this can and will change what images you choose to include. Did the company have a summer party? Do a service project? Move locations? High-quality pictures will show, rather than tell, what the business is about and not just the numbers. Lastly, don’t forget to caption them!!!
You can add photographs the same way as an infographic, use the add image button. You can then resize, move around and wrap text around your photo.
3. Include a consistent footer.
Any website you have visited, at the bottom, you will find a footer. It most often contains contact information, the company logo, social media links, and other things. It appears on each page and doesn’t change from page to page. A footer on a website lends consistency. You know you can find pertinent information there, and you don’t have to look far and wide to find it. The same concept applies when adding footers to annual reports. Your readers, no matter where they are in the report, can, with a glance, know who created it and find their information.
Reach Reporting makes it easy to add footers to your reports like crazy easy. The footer will match the color theme you choose and contain your name and contact info — no extra work by you.
4. Use graphs and colors.
Annual reports can be beautiful! Long gone are the days of black and white, bland reports. You have a myriad of places to include visuals, colors, and graphs. By adding these features to your presentation, it will become eye-catching and more enjoyable to your readers. By adding graphs, figures, and charts to the financials section, and using colors to complement the brand, you are presenting an intriguing report that not only is beautiful but informs.
Reach shines when it comes to adding those extra graphic design touches. Our design team takes pride, making you look good! We have 14 different color themes for you to choose between, so you are bound to discover one that works. Fancy yourself a designer? Reach includes the ability to create your color palette and design. These themes and colors are used throughout your report in your titles, live text, graphs, charts, and KPI’s.
5. The small details.
Double-check for typos, number your pages and, place the company logo once on each page. These small, but crucial, edits will make a big difference to your reader. Before you present it, have a 3rd party read over it, the second set of eyes may find typos easily missed by the author. Doing these smalls things show you didn’t rush it and took the time to create a beautiful and informative report.
Reach has a spell check feature built right into our software, auto page numbering, and the functionality to upload and add the company logo. We do our best to cut down on those tiny mistakes that can make a big difference. We still suggest that second set of eyes, though!
Following these easy steps will send you on the path to amazing and informative annual reports. Think of the report as a marketing tool. Take the time, make an effort, and with the help of Reach Reporting, you will be able to create something both you and the business owner will be proud to send out.
If you are ready to send out beautiful, informative, and easy to create annual (or monthly or quarterly) reports to your clients, take a look at Reach Reporting. Our annual reports are included in the subscription, so no additional fees to access annual reports. Use our free 14-day trial to see what we can do! Head on over to reachreporting.com
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!