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How to Create a Compelling Annual Report

By: Victoria Hill


How to Create a Compelling Annual Report

An annual report is a compilation of a company’s financial reports for the year ended. The report is a requirement for any public corporation listed with the Securities Exchange Commission. Other than that, all stakeholders need to see the annual reports to determine the performance of the said company.

What is Included in an Annual Report?

In most cases, an annual report includes the following:

  • An overview of the industry
  • A list of directors and other executive officers
  • A description of what businesses the company has engaged in the past year
  • Dividends paid to shareholders
  • Price of the firm’s shares in the market
  • Audited income statements

Why an Annual Report is Important

Companies use an annual report as a marketing tool to project their perspective to prospective stakeholders. Most importantly, companies use reports to attract potential investors. More so, revealing of annual reports also helps a company maintain transparency.

How to Create an Annual Report that People Actually Want to Read

Use data representation/visualization

Most people don’t like to read through numbers. However, visuals such as graphs make figures interesting and fun to interpret. Visually appealing images also trigger readers to delve deeper into understanding the full report. Annual reports don’t have to be back to back printed pages. Your annual report design can help you tell your story. In 2019, many annual report design trends engagingly tell brand stories.

Creative annual report themes

Theme that reflects what your company is about is more likely to evoke emotions on your readers. All you need to do is think about the occurrences of the past year. Come up with a theme and design that reflects the story of your firm and which readers can identify with. Long gone are the days when companies would just present numbers of their financial reports and a message from the directors. People want to read your brand story which can be effectively told by a theme.

Use language visualization

All through your illustrations, make use of adequate images, color, and fonts. If you already have an established company theme, then let the colors remain consistent with your language visuals. An illustration made using an image, or even a video is better understood than one written in words only. Pictures and videos increase interaction between your report and the readers. The more time they get to spend interacting with the content, the more investors your firm will get.

Keep it simple

You don’t have to present everything that happened in the previous year. Only offer what is relevant to your stakeholders. Short and concise reports are not only easy to read but also enable readers to recall the contents. Besides, the team tasked with the preparation of the annual report can now concentrate on producing a compelling report filled with quality content.

Make the report scalable

As you prepare the report, make it such that the viewers can share it. Also, link up the report so that the readers get redirected to other pages on your website. The aim of enabling readers to view other pages on the site enables them to learn more about the brand. The content can also contain links to other publications to offer interested parties a broader scope of information.


Annual reports are an essential requirement for any company and ought to be presented to stakeholders. Usually, the report contains financial statements, dividends paid, stock prices, and a message from the directors.

Annual reports used to be in the form of numbers. Few readers have the motivation to read through a list of intimidating figures in printed papers. Currently, it is possible to tell your brand story in compelling images, videos, and visualized data.

The report should also be simple for easier reading and understanding. Most importantly, make the reports scalable.

Published: May 20, 2019

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Victoria Hill

Victoria Hill studied communication arts and worked with the magazine editorial team in Sydney before joining an art team at another ad agency. She has been writing as a ghostwriter ever since she was in college. Her favorite topics covered human development, business communication, modern and pop art, minimalism, and self-development.

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