Generally speaking, annual reports are written by companies listed on stock exchanges. Some publicly-listed companies may find the need to publish annual reports as a way of complying with the Financial Services Authority (OJK) regulations.
It would be completely understandable if these companies simply did the bare minimum by writing and publishing annual reports to be submitted to the OJK to fulfill their legal obligations, especially since annual reports aren’t exactly easy to make.
In reality, there is more to annual reports than just simply being done to comply with government authorities. Annual reports serve to transparently reflect a company’s synergy in corporate governance in a way that allows shareholders, stakeholders and the general public to accurately assess a company’s performance. It also tells them how responsibly a company has been managed during the year’s time frame encompassed within these annual reports.
It is through these annual reports that companies can disclose information on their policies, strategies and accomplishments throughout the reporting year, as well as the challenges they faced. Annual reports also allow companies to share with the public any potential opportunities as well as targets and corporate policy strategies those companies execute to gain achievements in the next fiscal year.
Of course, writing such an appealing annual report is easier said than done. It has to be presented in a way that not only is in accordance with regulations but also done in an eye-catching way. It also can’t just merely sound off on all the company’s accomplishments. It also has to demonstrate to shareholders, stakeholders and the general public how a company has provided them with added value.
As a matter of fact, publicly-listed companies aren’t the only types of companies that produce annual reports. Any company that is legally incorporated as a Limited Liability Company is required to submit annual reports to their respective general meetings of shareholders, in accordance with Article 66 of Law No. 40 of 2007 concerning Limited Liability Companies.
As such, it is advisable to produce eye-catching annual reports even for private companies whose shares are not listed on the stock exchange. This is pivotal for the said companies’ sustainability and positive image in the eyes of shareholders and stakeholders.
These reports will help gain the public and shareholders’ confidence in your company’s prospects for long-term sustainability and your company’s added value to society as a whole.
So, how exactly does one go about writing an annual report that attracts readers and has selling value?
Come Up with an Exciting Theme
Your annual report covers a year’s worth of company operations. All these operations–targets, strategic programs for reaching these targets, business plans and so on–should be summed up as part of a grand theme. It should be a theme that makes readers want to dive in, but it also shouldn’t deviate from the major programs the company was carrying out during the period of the report.
Provide an Eye-catching Visual Design that Represents the Theme
The design in question should be embodied in the form of something visual. The design overall should have an eye-catching color composition. Make sure that your choice of colors is consistent with the overall theme of the annual report itself.
The main design should be on your front cover, but you should also make sure that each section of your report is designed in as attractive a manner as possible while also ensuring that the designs accentuate each particular section.
Your focus should not be limited to just page design, but also the appropriate layouts of your images, illustrations and photos. All of these are important in making your annual report more interesting.
Systematic and Structured Writing
Another thing that should not be overlooked is writing your annual report in a way that is made systematic and structured. This makes it easy for readers to understand your aims and objectives. No matter how visually appealing your report is, you can’t get readers to understand your annual report if it is written in an unstructured and unsystematic way.
One thing you can do is use different colors to highlight the information you consider important, or to use bolded print for keywords or sentences you want readers to focus on. Typography is also an important consideration that helps convey messages properly.
Graphics, Diagrams, and Tables
Your annual report will contain a lot of information and data. Your report will make for excessively lengthy reading if all of this information and data is conveyed in purely written form. This is why you need graphs, charts and tables to better convey such complex information in your report.
Be sure to include descriptions in each of these graphs, charts and tables to better help readers understand what these infographics are trying to convey.
Information Disclosure and Accurate Analyses
What you present in your annual report must be reported in a transparent manner. Industry dynamics make it very possible for a company to experience a decline in performance or to fail to reach a particular target. Many things can influence its accomplishments.
It is for these reasons that transparency in your information delivery is essential. Readers will understand that things don’t always go as planned. You have to make sure your report analyzes why things happened the way they did and makes comparisons with the industry as a whole.
We hope this article can help you to prepare and produce even better annual reports in the future. (ALV)