How to Create an Annual Report

How to Create an Annual Report

When the time comes to create an annual report for your organization, you may be less than excited to begin the process. By following these simple steps, creating an annual report for your company will be less difficult and complicated. With most businesses that are publicly traded, an annual report is required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, also known as the SEC. Implement the following steps to make your annual report creation as smooth as possible:

  1. Prepare Financial Statements

The first step of creating your annual report is to get together your financial statements and notes. This is the core of your report. Nonprofit organizations must focus their annual reports on financial data too, because donors want to know where their money is going and if it’s being used effectively. Three items you have to include on your annual report regardless of your size or business model include:

  • Statement of cash flows
  • Statement of earnings
  • Statement of financial position

There are many other features that you might want to include in your company’s annual report, like notes about your company’s accounting system or a summary of your company’s risks. You can also consider consulting a financial advisor if you need help deciding which optional details and elements to incorporate into your annual report as well as a designer to help you organize and design the report.

2. Add Some Detail

Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of your company’s information. You can include things like your company’s accomplishments for the past year, any interesting stories from people that you may have helped or from employees, thanks to past donors, or any other pertinent information.  An annual report is a summary of the year, so readers want to know what your company has been up to.

3. Long-term Financial Data

The third must-have section of an annual report focuses on your business’ financial results from the past five years or longer. This allows the readers of your report to gauge how your company is doing financially compared to past years. If your company has improved financially, this section of the report should stand out. A fun yet effective way to show off your business’ progress is through visually appealing infographics. This approach of showing instead of telling, allows for information to be more easily absorbed by readers as well.

4. Anything else?

You are only required to submit four main sections for your annual report according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission but the majority of annual reports go beyond that. Include information that will build your company’s reputation and will encourage people to contact your company. You should hire a graphic design agency to create a professional polished report, that is not only attractive, but also accomplishes your company’s goals. A digital copy should also be available online.

We hope that these steps have broken down the process of creating annual report for you.  Don’t get lost in the details. Start with these four sections and then add on as desired. We encourage you to hire a graphic design agency to design your report. Great annual reports are professional as well as captivating. This is an opportunity to boost your company’s name and highlight your achievements so take advantage of every resource available.