Does your annual report present your annual figures in a concise and transparent manner?
Does it explain your management strategy in a compelling and credible way?
Does it act as a powerful sales tool for prospective business partners?
Does it enhance the credibility of your brand?
Does it act as a positive source of motivation for your staff?
Your annual report is the single most important measure of your company’s reputation. If it doesn’t do all of the above, then maybe it’s time to revisit your corporate communications strategy.
Your Annual Report is Your Company’s DNA
The best annual reports or financial reports help differentiate you from your competition and enhance your sector position. They can substantiate key strategic decisions and enhance the credibility of the management. They can demonstrate the depth of your team’s commitment and attract bright employees to your company. They can even help sustain your share price and ensure it trades at a premium.
In difficult economic times, a well-written, engaging annual report can strengthen a relationship with your community. It can genuinely help to make a difference. Honest, clear communication and great annual report design can build investor loyalty, attract the right people to your firm, provide insights to your long-term strategy and help people see your vision for the future.
In these days of instant communication, what is the importance of your company annual report?
Do stakeholders really need annual reports when they know your performance figures before it is even produced? Feedback from analysts indicates that it is a valuable source of reference, one investors regularly delve into. Ultimately, because the document is stamped with the authority of independent auditors, it simply carries a lot more weight and credibility than any other piece of communications you generate.
Whereas a preliminary announcement will certainly provide analysts with a good overview of business performance, the annual report puts the flesh on the bones, adding the context and understanding behind the figures.
The truth is that for most companies your annual financial report is the single most important strategic communications vehicle you'll produce. For many without large marketing budgets, it is the only way to communicate the company's strengths and growth strategy. Plus this information can be disseminated to the world with an online version that demonstrates innovation.
How to Rate Your Own Annual Report
We’ve developed a benchmarking system to allow companies to gauge the performance of their annual report against the main investor relation value drivers. Rate your annual report’s performance on a scale of 1 to 10 for each of the following criteria; 1 = not at all, 10 = absolutely. Tip: these could also be used to rate your company's sustainability report.
Can the reader get a clear understanding of your vision and strategy and where the value of your company lies?
Has the editorial content been tailored to the target audience?
Is there an over-arching theme running through the report that adds clarity and insight into the business strategy and the achievements of the year?
Do you cover your Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility requirements in a transparent and material way?
Annual Report Design and Imagery
Does the annual report cover design genuinely engage the reader?
Is the typographical treatment clean and coherent?
Has the report been designed to appeal to both the skim and in-depth reader?
Does the photography have story appeal and add value and context?
Is the printed document logical and cost-effective?
Does your online version demonstrate your company’s innovation?
Total Up Your Score
A score of less than 80 means you’re not exploiting the communications potential of your annual report.
So to help you create a truly exceptional one, we created a free guide you can access below.