Four tips to ease your annual report angst

By August 9, 2018Uncategorized
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It’s that time of year again. Summer is a distant memory, and even though it’s been on your radar for ages, you still haven’t begun work on the company’s annual report.

Annual reports are a legal requirement for publicly listed companies, which if executed correctly, also act as a valuable marketing tool.

Putting together an annual report that ticks all the boxes including financials, governance and shameless self-promotion, requires a unique recipe of science and art.

Now all that sounds good in theory, but if you’re still staring at a blank document rocking back and forth and murmuring to yourself, then here are four top tips to that will get your project back on course.

1. Know your audience

The first question to ask before putting pen to paper is “who am I writing this for?”

Get as much information as you can about your audience to ensure that your content is targeted.

While it’s safe to assume that readers of your annual report will have at least some background knowledge of what the organisation does, it must still address your stakeholders questions, concerns and comments from the last year.

2. Project manage

Annual reports for publicly listed companies come with hard deadlines from shareholders and regulators alike requiring meticulous project management, which can be concisely summed up as ‘the four Ps’.

  • Plan: create a roadmap of each element you want to be in your report.
  • Processes: delivering an annual report on time and budget requires a system of predetermined processes such as archiving financials, gathering content and managing approvals. Understand these and be careful not to miss a step otherwise you might have to go all the way back to the beginning.      
  • People: define your contributors and ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities. Keep them honest and follow up regularly.
  • Power: understand who your final decision makers are and engage them early. You don’t want to be asking the boss to proofread your report the night before it supposed to go off to print.

3. Book suppliers early and budget more than expected

The workload for good suppliers – designers, writers, photographers, printers, etc. – fills up quickly, especially around annual report time.

Chat with your suppliers about the timeline and give them a brief about the project in advance.

While you’re still pulling together content, designers can be working on a creative concept; writers can get to work on a narrative, and photographers can book times to snap busy people within your organisation.

You may need your elite team of suppliers to work on elements outside of the original scope – like that infographic that the CEO decided he must have at the last minute – so make sure that you budget for extra work at the start of the project to avoid invoice-anxiety at the end.

4. Make it work alongside other brand assets

An annual report doesn’t exist in a vacuum. When released to the public the document goes on to become part of your company’s marketing and communications catalogue for all to view.

That means making sure that your annual report doesn’t jar (both design and content-wise) when placed alongside your brochures, website, presentations, advertisements, press releases and more.

Keeping it consistent is critical.

If all this sounds too difficult, then it’s not too late to give us a call and let Platform relieve your annual report stress. With competitive packages on offer and a current list of clients, what’s stopping you from engaging Platform Communications to help write, design, project manage and print your annual FY18 report?

Contact Lauren Prater on 6467 7640 or at lauren@platformcommunications.com.au for a free annual report quote today.