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Creating a winning annual report

A good Annual Report is an essential part of a company’s communications strategy yet many businesses continue to overlook the significant marketing and branding opportunities on offer from a professionally designed and developed Annual Report.

Judges for the 2010 NZICA Annual Report Awards commented that overall quality of entrants had remained had shown little improvement over previous years and there were still obvious holes in some areas of reporting, such as sustainability. On the upside, an increase in supplementary material provided online was a very positive development.

The NZICA Awards identify five criteria against which an Annual Report is measured. These evaluate how well an organisation explains the following:

  • What it set out to achieve
  • How well it has performed, both financially and non-financially
  • Its current position and strategic outlook
  • How well it is managed and governed
  • Anything else that may be relevant to the particular needs of an organisation’s shareholders.

Design also plays an important part in producing a readable, clear and concise Annual Report, with the use of graphical information and images helping to enhance the reader’s understanding.

In the 2010 Awards, a number of areas were noted for improvement including the separation of the Chairman’s and the CEO’s reports, inclusion of sustainability reporting, more current information on board activity during the year and the reporting of any bad news and controversial issues as well as the good news.

With companies no longer required to send printed reports to all shareholders, online annual reports have grown in prominence. These should be available in both PDF and html formats and provide businesses with the opportunity to include additional supplementary information. This could be profiles of employees, case studies from within the group or more details on a particular project, product or service.

Spice communications group can work with your company to produce an winning Annual Report that communicates the purpose, objectives and operations of your company in a compelling and engaging manner. To find out more about producing an effective Annual Report, please contact Jackie Ellis at spice on 360 8500.