To have a good annual report in hand, one may need to consult an expert in his field. It is a must that you find a finance consultant in the process of giving out your annual reports because it may be hard for you to handle all the numbers and data by yourself. If you want your report to stand out from the rest, you need to follow these tips:
1. Make your annual report design brief and simple.
Annual reports tend to be dry, so try your best to keep your writing style as brief and concise as possible. The more facts you present in the better, but do not overload them with unnecessary details because most of them will go unread by your employees.
2. Memorize these acronyms: TLA and ROI
It would also be best if you use acronyms and abbreviations in making your report because it is time-saving for both of you and your employees; plus, it makes the report look fancy and official. Try to focus on the main points like total labor hours (TLA) and return on investment (ROI).
3. Add photos, charts, graphs, and images to your annual report template.
If you are dealing with voluminous reports like monthly reports or quarterly reports, it is best to add photos, charts, graphs, and images to make your report more interesting to read. These visual aids can help your employees comprehend some difficult numerical data.
You can make your graph and flow chart on Venngage.
4. Remember the 5 Cs for your report: Clear, Concise, Complete, Consistent, and Correct.
What is an annual report for? You cannot do anything about the length of your annual report but you can always make sure that it is clear and concise so that employees will no longer bother you about confusing information in your report. Always make sure that all data and information included in your report are correct and up-to-date.
5. Use company lingo sparingly.
While it is important to use abbreviations sparingly, you also do not want to go too heavy on the company lingo because it will only confuse your employees and render your report ineffective. Use common language that everyone can understand and be concise in your explanations.
6. Limit the use of technical terms.
Just like with company lingo, you do not want to confuse your employees with too much technical jargon. If you have to use them, make sure that you explain them in layman’s terms. Use analogies if you have to but always make sure that your employees will be able to understand the concepts you are trying to explain.
7. Stick to the facts of your target annual report.
When writing your annual report, stick to the facts and avoid using adjectives as much as possible. Do not editorialize; just present the data in an orderly fashion. This will make your report more credible and trustworthy.
8. Use a clear and easy-to-read typeface.
Make sure that you use a typeface that is easy to read so that employees will not have a hard time deciphering the data in your report. Sans-serif fonts are usually recommended because they are clean and easy to read. However, if you want something simpler, you may use a serif font as long as it is not too ornate.
9. Present the data in an organized manner.
To keep your readers from being confused by the information they are reading, try presenting the data in an organized manner so that they can easily discern one data from another. Do not put too much information in one graph because it will only confuse them; likewise, do not cram related data in different graphs to avoid confusion. If possible, use charts and graphs that are similar so that your readers will be able to compare the numbers more easily.
10. Keep things straightforward.
The best way to make an effective annual report is to keep things straightforward. Your employees will not appreciate a convoluted and confusing report; rather, they will prefer one that is easy to read and understand. Do not try to be too clever in your writing; just state the facts as they are and let your employees decide what to do with the information.
11. Use a table of contents.
A table of contents will help your employees locate specific data in your report quickly and easily. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of data included in your report. Plus, it makes your report look more professional.
12. Have someone proofread your free annual report.
And finally, before handing over your completed report to your employees, make sure that someone proofreads the document for typographical errors and omissions. A final check of the data is also recommended so you can be sure that everything included in your report is accurate and up-to-date.
Writing an annual report can be a daunting task, but with these 12 tips, you can make sure that your report will be informative and insightful. Remember to keep things clear, concise, and correct so that everyone who reads your report will have a better understanding of the company’s performance. And lastly, make sure that you have someone proofread your report before sending it out to your employees.