3 tips for creating a better Annual Report

Posted in IRM News

Your Annual Report deadlines are just around the corner.

Thankfully, you’ve got it all covered -- the figures and the statements. Details of your activities, financial results and strategies. Well… almost.

You just need a better way to present your report and achievements over the past year.

No, not the old boring Word file PDF, please.

This year, you want to provide a more impressive format. A higher quality presentation that could lead stakeholders to a more decisive engagement with your company.

How about some help from an expert? One with solid experience designing Annual Reports for ASX listed companies.

Listen in on IRMatters’ quick chat with IRM’s veteran art director Matt White and pick up some tips for a well-designed Annual Report.

IRMatters: How important is a company’s Annual Report?

Matt: While an Annual Report is a compliance document, it can also be a critical marketing tool.  Properly structured, written and designed, an Annual Report can allow your company to:

  • Highlight the contribution and the impact of achievements on all people involved in delivering your objectives across the period. This includes both your internal people and those external to your organisation, like contractors and partners.
  • Reassure your existing investors and attract new ones.
  • Provide an attractive, point-in-time marketing piece, which you can use for a period after it is published. It will communicate your company’s achievements and articulate milestones of interest to your investors.
  • Your Annual Report can also be used as a significant summary of what your company does.

printed annual reportYour Annual Report is a critical marketing tool.

IRMatters: What is the most important consideration before companies embark on their Annual Report creation process?

Matt: Planning is key to a successful outcome. This will properly manage costs and define appropriate success metrics for your Annual Report. Consider these points during your planning process:

  • Set your timeframe early and make each milestone count
  • Prepare a list of inclusions based on your previous year’s report
  • If you have existing content you can reutilise, choose it early to make your job easier and ensure consistency in messaging
  • Work up a list of outcomes and nominate a staff member to obtain related images for possible inclusion in the Annual Report. If you don’t have photos on file, work with a photographer early to have some taken. These photos can also be used across your other collateral.
  • Make sure your selected images are at least 300dpi for print reproduction.

annual report planningPlanning is key to a successful Annual Report.

IRMatters: Are online versions of annual reports important these days?

Matt: While most companies still prefer the printed Annual Report, the online interactive format is now used more frequently. So, when you’re putting together your online Annual Report remember these two things:

  • Ensure you provide an easy-to-navigate, accessible HTML Annual Report that is easy to read.
  • Since Annual Reports are scanned quickly – often less than a few minutes at a time – make sure your report has impact and relevance. And that it can be viewed across a number of platforms, such as tablets and mobile devices.

online annual reportMake sure your online Annual Report can be viewed on tablets and mobile phones.

There you have it

Your Annual Report is not only a compliance document, it’s also a critical marketing tool. That’s why planning is key to come up with a successful Annual Report, whether it’s printed or in an online format.

Leave it to the pros

Why get bogged down by your Annual Report process when you can have the pros do the work instead? We’d love to lend you a hand.

Matt and the IRM team have been working with ASX-listed companies for their print collateral and online corporate resources. Check out some clients’ Annual Reports here.

Call us today on +61 2 8705 5444 or email clientrelations@irmau.com for your enquiries.

You can also get a free quote for your Annual Report through this form.


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.