4 ways to stay stress free while preparing an Annual Report

11 February 2019

It’s no secret that annual reports can be a monster task to undertake. Everything about these documents can seem overwhelming, from preparing the timeline to gathering and collating the content, organising photo shoots, managing stakeholders and designing it in a way that engages your readers.

Having managed the production of our fair share of annual reports, here are our tips on how to keep it under control and out of your dreams!

1. Planning, planning, planning!

Start early and map out your key deadline milestones, working back from when the document has to be lodged and printed. Be sure to think about who needs to approve content and by when, ensuring they have enough time to review and have their feedback considered and confirmed. Factor in time for photo shoots, sourcing information and flexibility. Knowing the key dates gives you the space to plan your workflow, but remember you need to remain flexible and be prepared to adjust to changes out of your control – so build some fat into your timeline!

2. Collaboration

Share your production schedule early with key stakeholders, including business heads, the finance team, legal team, external advisors, designers and printers to ensure everyone can deliver to the dates and their responsibilities. Buy-in from the outset helps to manage expectations and avoid nasty surprises.

3. Peer Review

The look and feel of Annual Reports are constantly changing. As part of the planning process it’s worth an audit of what current industry best practice looks like to see how you can make improvements to content, design, and how the report is ultimately shared with stakeholders. Make sure you communicate any proposed changes early in the process.

4. Creativity

While mainly designed for compliance and to share a company’s annual performance with primary stakeholders (e.g. shareholders), an Annual Report is an important piece of your marketing collateral and should be representative of and consistent with your brand. It’s ultimately another storytelling vehicle, so start with a strategically relevant theme and develop content around this. Bring data to life through infographics, case studies and imagery – let your imagination go a little wild to make it an engaging (albeit compliant) read and to support this working with an innovative and experienced designer is a must.

If preparing your Annual Report or major document still seems like a nightmare, let us know. Our team can make sense of the numbers, craft the right words and direct the design of your longest, most daunting documents. Looking to raise capital? We’ve also got some pretty good runs on the board with capital raising documents like pitch decks, information memorandums and prospectuses.