Tips for your annual and financial reports.
These reports are designed only to meet legal reporting requirements, but to keep stakeholders abreast of company performance, in the most clear and concise manner.
But aesthetically, annual financial reports, along with annual reports, are often thrown together to ‘get it done’ and offer very little consideration for the end-user’s aesthetic requirements. In other words, they’re often pages and pages of boring black and white graphs and spreadsheets to meet the functional requirements of the organisation.
But with a little creativity and consideration for the presentation of your financial reports, your reporting documentation can not only be an important tool for promoting your brand in a positive light, and utilised as a promotional tool for your organisation for the year ahead.
Some companies go so far as to deliver exciting and interactive documents - both online and in print - to ensure that the company’s growth and development is showcased each year. While others go even further and create an ‘abridged’ version, typically called "A Year in Review", focusing on company milestones and events more than financial data.
How to create an amazing annual/financial report
Here’s a few tips on how to ensure that your annual and financial report does not get ignored or tucked into the bottom drawer (or worse still, the bin), and instead becomes an invaluable marketing tool for your business.
Less is more
Don’t feel the need to have large slabs of text to ‘fill out’ the document. Say what needs to be said in a succinct and precise manner, and get to the point quickly. Your readers will thank you for it.
Be transparent and specific
Be honest about your successes and areas that can be improved on, and use your statistical data to showcase and highlight these areas in your business. Transparency is key in building trust among your audiences and demonstrating opportunities to focus on for the future. Because people like to see progress, and nobody expects perfect.
Use colourful and interesting visuals
Use pictures and infographics to break up any large slabs of text, and create interest. Those who are visual learners will thank you for translating your business and financial information into something that they can easily recognise and absorb.
Just because you’re getting down into the details of your financials doesn’t mean that you need to completely de-humanise your business and what it’s been doing for the last year. Storytelling has long been used by marketers to help people warm towards a brand, and give a sense of a brand’s personality. Humanising the success of your organisation by profiling customers, staff, or details of your events and activities helps to draw readers in.
Consider how your report will be distributed and read
If your audience is primarily interested in receiving hard copy materials, consider how the print item resonates with your brand - from layout, to paper stock selection, to green credentials.
If you’re not sure how your audience would like to receive your annual financial reporting information, ask them, and give them a choice. Not only will they be a more engaged audience but reducing waste and tracking digital distribution can affect your bottom line, too.
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