As year end continues to approach at a rapid rate of knots, IRM Art Director Matt White covers some more of the common questions clients have when formulating the best content and structure for their annual reports.
This is a second post in a special annual report planning series. View our first post here.
IRMatters: Annual reports are usually long documents. How can you avoid your key points from getting lost in the detail?
Matt: To avoid the trap of losing your key messages, it’s good to preface each section with a summary paragraph recapping strategy and outlining results… and language must be kept simple.
Check out examples of our clients' annual reports on this page.
IRMatters: How important is including a mission and vision statement?
Matt: Including these statements up front in an annual report is usually a favourable approach – here’s why:
- Readers need to understand quickly and simply why you did what you did and the difference you made. Recap your mission, vision and values and allow your achievements to shine.
- One of the best ways to get your message across is through vision.
- To go with your vision/mission, a relevant, well captioned, photograph helps depict an outcome and reaffirms achievements. Infographics work well, too, as do pull quotes and eye-catching headings.
Highlighting your company's mission and vision in your annual report is a favourable move.
IRMatters: How important is attention to detail?
Matt: Attention to detail is absolutely vital to the whole annual report process. Here are some basic principles to keep in mind during the proofing process:
- Ensure you have proof read your document.
- Remember that when you’ve been looking at the same document for a long period of time, glossing over things becomes easier. It’s a good idea to have a second (and sometimes third) pair of eyes who can proof read for you.
- More often than once, companies have made errors with their financial statements due to lack of attention to detail. Work to ensure that all figures in the financials add up.
- Check that names of staff, donors or partner organisations are spelt correctly. Make sure they are spelt in full in the first instance, before applying acronyms.
Attention to detail is vital in your annual report process.
IRMatters: What sort of options are available for companies planning annual reports?
Matt: These days there are many options available to clients – from less complex annual reports, which incorporate a well-designed, colourful cover alongside a basic print and table structure; through to full colour, image and graphic-rich reports. IRM works with clients across the full spectrum.
It’s also important to note that where we design a print report for a client, we also recommend including an online interactive report, so that investors can read the report in the format that they prefer. See some examples of our online annual reports here.
Get a free online interactive version of your annual report with your printed document.
Special offer with every annual report order
Contact us today to get a no-obligation quote on your annual report. All clients that order an annual report will receive a free online interactive report to accompany the printed version. To request a quote, please fill out your details here.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to discuss your requirements, please contact Matt White via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +61 2 8705 5444.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.