Manager’s nightmare is to prepare an annual report. What kind of report is it? I have never written it! What to do, where to run?
Let us calm down and tell you about the best ways to create a telling, attractive, and purposeful annual report design for both company and investors. Due to numerous information sources and a constant data flow, the annual report has not lost its value in building relationships with investors but partially strengthened it. In this regard, you have options either to use presentation design service or to rely on your own motivation in creating this meaningful document.
Investors see it as a document with 100% reliable information on all areas of the company’s activities, while also reflecting the management view. It is not just another information collection to speculate trading in the company’s shares. Otherwise, an annual report summary is a document explaining the basic components of an organization’s values and strategy.
The annual report in 2021 should be united by a single investment thesis and reflect on the company’s uniqueness and culture, while serving as a source of information for a wide range of counterparties. Besides, the annual report sample has also acquired the function of the company’s business card to judge its creativity or simplicity, formality or informality, corporate culture and leadership.
Annual report summary, explained
The annual report of the company is one of the reporting forms prescribed by law to provide information to shareholders and any interested person. Given the latest trends, the content of the annual reports, as well as annual report design templates, is not constant. Many external and internal factors influence both. First, the role of the annual report as a means of communication with shareholders, potential investors, and other interested parties has grown.
Secondly, online data reveal increased attention to the activities of corporations like schemes and amounts of remuneration for top managers, the construction of a risk management system, and analysis of financial results. Thirdly, powerpoint data visualization has proven its usefulness in delivering data more effectively to a highly visual and digitalized world. Thus, annual report graphic design is in demand to close the audience’s needs in charts and graphs.
The target audience of the annual report format can be roughly divided into four groups:
- owners (shareholders and investors, including potential investors);
- counterparties (suppliers and buyers);
- the state and the public (regulatory authorities, environmental protection organizations, the press, etc.).
The annual report mockup must build on specific objectives:
- to explain to investors and shareholders how/what for/when/where the company operates;
- to describe the company’s strategy and its implementation;
- to report on the company’s yearly results in the strategy and market conditions context;
- to explain the risks and factors that can affect the results of activities;
- to provide information on corporate governance;
- to comply with all legal requirements for information disclosure;
- to strengthen its reputation among a wide range of counterparties (investors, shareholders, employees, customers, partners, and so on).
How to write annual reports in 7 steps?
First of all, understand if your company needs to prepare a report. If so, here’s a checklist of the steps your company must take in your annual report layout template to get the wow effect. Following this algorithm will make your report an event in the market:
- Create a non-standard report structure to keep the target audience interested
- Select a financial report design that reveals its key message
- Create a report in multiple media formats, taking advantage of each
- Fill your report with interesting and useful content
- Use visualization to better explain the company and its activities to investors and clients
- Think authentic design for a digital annual report
- Take care of the annual report distribution – it is one of the most important stages
So far so good. How to design an annual report (with examples and explanations)?
A traditional annual report example includes the cover page, management’s message to shareholders, key performance indicators, narrative part, and financial part. The cover design is essential for the entire document look. First, it reflects the company’s image and positions its brand. It also sets the tone for the whole statement, creating the first impression before delving into the company’s investment thesis. Finally, the cover should make the reader want to at least open the report. Of the 20-30 companies’ reports, an analyst or investor will read only those that “hooked” them. Even though earlier the covers were made in a formal style, now, they often use humor, intrigue, and slogans in their design.
Company annual report templates can vary depending on the companies’ activity direction, type of results, representation requirements, size preferences, etc. A visual representation of your company will explain your business better than 30 presentation slides. Thus, anyone responsible for this yearly document can google plenty of templates for annual reports and find the most suitable one:
- annual report brochure;
- technology annual report;
- corporate annual report;
- sales annual report;
- small business annual report;
- nonprofit annual report;
- infographic annual report.
Except for yearly report templates multiple on the web, one can watch examples of popular campaigns to inspire and create their own radiant project with memorable and grasping design and visual elements.
Example 1. Girls who code
The text appears by scrolling the page, numbers on graphs enlarge while looking at them, and links are attached to watch the most engaging sections in detail. It is beautifully coded and incorporated into the website to promote the influx of nonprofits.
Example 2. Oatly 2018 Sustainability Report
The title page is narrative, honesty is vivid, and humor is used to attract the TA. Visual identity is achieved due to authenticity and barriers’ absence between the brand and the TA.
Example 3. MailChimp 2019 Annual Report
Several visually attractive posters and old records combined with simple and transparent content help TA to enjoy it and share on social media (due to only two actions available). Experimental formats are rewarded and engaged in 2021 given the incredible epoch people experience and thirst for creativity.