Free End of Year Report Templates
Smartsheet Contributor Joe Weller
August 20, 2019
An end of year report provides key information about a company’s performance and can help with strategic planning. Here, find the top annual report templates — all of which are free to download — and learn how to write a year end report.
Included on this page, you'll find a variety of free, helpful templates, including a simple year end report template , an annual financial report template , details on how to write an end of year report , and tips for writing an end of year report .
Simple Year End Report Template
This is a simple annual report that provides the basic sections: title page, executive summary, table of contents, annual financial report, and conclusion. The template comes with pre-built tables for you to add financial totals, but you can also customize the tables to include more in-depth financial information, or insert a separate financial report. Additionally, the conclusion provides space for an auditor’s report, if necessary.
Download Simple Year End Report Template
Word | PDF | PowerPoint
Annual Financial Report Template
This template provides an in-depth breakdown of your organization’s financials for the previous and reporting years, so you can see changes in fiscal health over a one-year interval. The template includes a table with space to input revenue, operating expenses, operating profit, net profit, and tax, as well as room to add other budget metrics. The Excel version will automatically calculate totals, and you can easily cut and paste this template into your larger, written year end report.
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Excel | Word
Annual Business Report Template
This simple spreadsheet template provides a detailed view of your company’s financials over time. Enter your planned revenue and expenses by month, and then track those estimates against actuals for the year. This template separates income from expenses, so you can clearly view cash flow, which enables you to get an accurate 12-month snapshot of your business finances.
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Excel | Smartsheet
Annual Sales Report Template
Use this annual sales report template to report on sales data from the past year, and also break down finances into monthly and quarterly activities. In addition, you can use this template for future planning by reviewing previous monthly and quarterly sales trends. Insert this sales report — available in a spreadsheet style — into a larger financial or year end report, so stakeholders can gain insight into the specifics of your sales figures.
Download Annual Sales Report Template - Excel
Annual Marketing Report Template
This is a formal template for reporting on marketing department activities over the course of a year. The template includes an editable title page, a table of contents, an executive summary, and a conclusion page, as well as a comprehensive financial report. Input quarterly planned and actual costs, and the table will automatically calculate fiscal totals. Attach any supplemental material directly to the template, and then present this full scale marketing report directly to stakeholders.
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Word | PDF | PowerPoint | Smartsheet
Department Year End Report Template
Use this Excel spreadsheet to create an annual financial overview of any department within your organization. Simply input details about every project (deliverables, client, etc.), the planned versus actual costs, and total income, and the template will automatically calculate the total net income. You can edit this template to fit the needs of a particular department, be it sales, marketing, or IT, and you can easily cut and paste it into a larger written document.
Download Department Year End Report Template - Excel
Annual Expense Report Template
Use this annual expense report template to document all profits and losses over the course of a year. The template includes sections to list revenue, reductions, and expenses (including professional services, banking and finance, general business, vehicle/travel, and taxes) in monthly intervals, and then combines totals to provide a full annual budget report. Once you’ve entered your totals for each month, a built-in, color-coded graph will depict gross profit, total expenses, and profit and loss. You can find additional templates in our collection of free expense report templates .
Download Annual Expense Report Template - Excel
Nonprofit Annual Report Template
This is a formal, comprehensive annual report template intended for nonprofit organizations. The template includes pages to reiterate mission statement, note all significant accomplishments, relay targeted impact stories, and list notable donors. Additionally, it provides an in-depth financial overview in a spreadsheet layout — simply add quarterly income from foundation grants, corporate and individual contributions, government contracts, and other donations, and then calculate tax, expenses, and other losses to provide an accurate annual financial summary.
Download Nonprofit Annual Report Template
Additional Project and Financial Tracking Templates
In this section, you’ll find additional templates that may assist in your annual reporting efforts, including a variety of financial planning and budgeting templates, a cash flow statement, project planning templates, and more.
Client Projects and Budget Overages Template
This comprehensive budgeting template tracks client projects (including individual tasks) with emphasis on planned versus actuals in labor, materials, and other costs (i.e., travel, equipment, and fixed costs). The template will then automatically calculate actual costs (which you can compare against planned costs) and produce a color-coded over/under balance. Use this template over time to improve budget planning and become more realistic when projecting client costs.
Download Client Projects and Budget Overages Template
Monthly Billing Statement Template
Use this simple billing statement template to invoice any clients for services completed in the past month. Simply list the date, type of service provided, the invoice number, and balance due, and send the sheet to your customer to square away any outstanding payments. If applicable, you can also include remittance information, or edit the template to reflect weekly, quarterly, or annual billing, as appropriate.
Download Monthly Billing Statement Template - Excel
Upcoming Projects Template
This is a simple project tracker template that you can use to list, track, and manage multiple projects. Document the status, priority, and deadline of each project, and then list information about each sub-task (description, assignee, deliverable, cost, percentage complete, etc.) as child rows. This template is useful for managing and reporting on projects within a portfolio, or when you simply need to track multiple projects simultaneously.
Download Upcoming Projects Template - Excel
Income Statement Template
This simple income statement template functions as a budget report. Note total income, cost of goods sold, and total expenses (broken down into categories such as wages and benefits, rent/mortgage, utilities, web hosting, insurance, etc.). The Excel template automatically calculates the total net income to give you a high-level snapshot into your organization’s financial position.
Download Income Statement Template
Balance Sheet Template
Businesses can create a balance sheet to provide a full financial overview by documenting all assets and liabilities. This balance sheet template prompts you to list all current and fixed assets and liabilities as well as the owner’s equity. Once complete, use the balance sheet as a summary of complicated financial data and share it with investors and other stakeholders.
Download Balance Sheet Template
Cash Flow Statement Template
A cash flow statement documents the net flow of cash into and out of an organization, which is useful for analyzing overall business performance and aiding in financial planning. This simple cash flow statement template includes space to list beginning balance, cash receipts, cash payments, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and other expenses, and then provides totals for total cash payments, net cash change, and monthly cash position. To learn more about these statements by reading “Free Cash Flow Statement Templates.”
Download Cash Flow Statement Template
Year End Reporting
A year end report , also called an annual report or end of year report , details an organization’s activities throughout the preceding year. The report typically communicates overall company performance, financial information, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) . Publicly-held companies must submit a year end report as part of their legal accountability to shareholders.
Collecting — and then interpreting — data on an annual cadence allows companies to reflect on their performance over the past year. This information is essential for making future projections, adjusting goals and timelines, and identifying any inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Annual reports can be intended for internal or external (stakeholder) use.
A year end report is different than a project management office (PMO) report , which is a document that a department creates to assess the performance or status of an individual project or group of projects.
All told, an annual report functions similarly to a school report card, taking into account various performance data and evaluating that data from multiple points of view. In addition to creating a year end report, you may choose to create quarterly or monthly reports in order to get a lower-rage view of performance.
Year End Payroll Reports
Use a year end payroll report to reconcile all the payroll information from the previous year. To create a year end payroll report, compile employee identification details (address, position, SSN, etc.), as well as all salary, benefits, and tax and deduction information. This report can fit in with an annual financial report and help plan the personnel budget for the upcoming year.
Benefits of a Year End Report
At its core, a year end report provides organizations an opportunity to evaluate their overall performance and reflect on the past year. The information in an annual report provides insight into what is and isn’t working, and therefore can prompt companies to reconsider their approach in multiple categories (operations, finance, hiring and staff retention, marketing, customer retention, etc.).
Additionally, creating a year end report will allow you to do the following:
- Make data-informed decisions for the future.
- Identify overages by comparing estimates and actuals in a project budget, timeline, and employee time (to ensure you aren’t over or under-working your teams).
- Gain an understanding of how you spend resources.
- Gain insight into staff and faculty success.
- Build organizational culture by demonstrating accountability and accuracy in reporting.
A year-end report can also double as marketing material — or at least serve as a jumping off point. Simply use the insights gained or data collected as content for public-facing materials.
How to Write an End of Year Report
Although annual reports may vary based on the industry or audience (i.e., internal or external stakeholders), a typical report — which should be a formal, written (typically Word or PDF) document — will include the following sections:
- Executive Summary: The executive summary presents an overview of the entire year end report. Clarify the purpose of the report (audience, intent, etc.), and provide a brief summary of the contents to follow. For more information on this section of the report, read "How to Write an Effective Executive Summary to Yield Results .”
- Total Projects Delivered: In this section, document the total number of accomplished projects. This KPI can reveal a lot about your organization’s efficiency and processes, but make sure to include context along with the numbers (i.e., project duration, complexity, etc.).
- Project Deliverables: The number of projects completed means little without context. Use this section to discuss the specifics of each project, from the deliverables to the client relationship, project scope, and how the project budget and schedule performed against estimates. Call attention to successes, but also own any failures or areas for improvement. Additionally, note both the tangible and intangible benefits of each project deliverable.
- Full Financial Overview: This section is one of the most important — especially for publicly-traded companies. You must include an income report, a balance sheet, and a cash flow statement, as well as a written summary of any big financial changes.
- Accountant Perspective: In some cases, you may also be asked to include an auditor’s report. An accountant can provide an external, unbiased review on the financial and operational health of the company, which is especially useful (and sometimes necessary) for public companies.
- Operations Overview: Provide a description of your operations to flesh out the financial report. This section can provide context for the numbers, and offer an explanation of any net losses or overages. Sometimes, you can include the operations summary as part of the financial report.
- Conclusion: Write a formal conclusion in which you reiterate the key points of the annual report.
Tips for Writing a Year End Report
Regardless of your industry, you should adhere to the following best practices when compiling your end of year report:
- Know Your Audience: Is the report intended for internal or external viewers? The answer to this question determines the aim of your report (i.e., are you trying to motivate internal change or drive external actions such as increasing sales, promoting your brand, or reassuring stakeholders?). Understand your audience’s needs and anticipate questions or objections they may have. Even if multiple parties will be reading your report, focus on the key recipients, rather than attempting to cater to everyone’s needs.
- Get to the Point: Before you start writing, ensure everyone is clear on the report’s objective(s). Identify what you’re trying to achieve and make your point(s) clearly and concisely. The data you include should speak for itself (or require minimal explanation and written analysis), and only include support material if absolutely necessary.
- Pay Attention to the Writing Itself: A strong annual report does more than simply relay facts and figures. For maximal impact, approach the report as a piece of writing, and therefore pay attention to tone, style, and writing quality. At minimum, focus on crafting simple sentences and using strong, active verbs. Use literal (rather than abstract) language, avoid cliches and jargon, and steer clear of confusing imagery or mixed metaphors. The writing doesn’t have to be bland, though. In fact, you can use the annual report as an opportunity to showcase your brand’s voice and personality.
- Be Sincere and Accurate: Remember the overriding goal of your report is to communicate information. Make objective, accurate claims, and don’t try to impress readers or be overly optimistic.
- Pay Attention to Quality: Regardless of your audience, remember that an end of year report is a formal document. Take your time, write multiple drafts (experts recommend at least three), and engage multiple editors to ensure quality of both writing and data presentation.
- Be Intentional about How You Communicate Information: Format the report logically (for a general guide of how to structure the report, read the section above). Additionally, look for opportunities to communicate complicated data visually; for instance, with infographics or visual dashboards.
- Be Proactive: Get in the habit of producing a year end report — even if nobody requests one. This way, you’ll be prepared in the event of a last-minute stakeholder demand, and will also have ample experience culling company data into a report. Regularly and reliably creating year end reports is an easy way to build accountability and trust with stakeholders and customers.
- Build a Process for Collecting Data: Institute a process for collecting data to ensure that you produce regular, timely annual reports. Doing so will greatly ease the experience of writing a report since you’ll only need to compile the data and add written context, rather than mine information in a last-minute scramble.
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How to write an annual report: 4 tips for preparing annual reports.
To write an annual report, the business operations and the financial position are listed, summarized and recorded. The annual report is a financial document that businesses provide to shareholders, potential investors and analysts. It is the best source of information about the business performance and financial well-being of a business.
Public companies are required to file comprehensive annual reports the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, small businesses and non-profit organizations also prepare the yearly reports to connect with customers and provide information about past performance and future goals.
What this article covers:
What Is Included in an Annual Report?
How do you write a good annual report, why is an annual report important.
The annual report is an integral part of corporate reporting. Since the annual reports are based on specific legal requirements, the items that are included in the report vary.
Most annual reports provide a fundamental overview of the business over the past year. The sections typically included in an annual report are an opening letter from the chairman, a business profile, analysis by management and financial information.
The annual report usually starts with an introduction and a letter from the chairman, primary owner or the CEO of the company to the shareholders providing a snapshot of the significant developments in the past year, company initiatives and a brief summary of the financials. Key elements included in this section are the challenges that the business faced, its successes and insight into the growth of the company.
The section is followed by a table of contents.
This section includes the vision and mission statement of the company, details of directors, officers and registered and corporate office, investor profile, the products or services that are the main source of revenue for the business, competitor profile and risk factors of the business.
Management Discussion and Analysis
The section provides an overview of the business performance over the past three years and discusses profit margins, sales and income.
If the business has launched a new product or service or there are drastic shifts in sales and marketing efforts, they should be included in this section. The other topics of discussion include new hires, business acquisitions and other information that the management thinks would be beneficial for the stakeholders.
The financial statements are the most important part of the annual report that allows current and future investors, shareholders, employees and other business stakeholders to determine how well the company has performed in past, its ability to pay off its debts and its plans for growth. The statements that are included are:
- Balance sheet
- Cash flow statement
- Income statement
- Statement to shareholders
These statements show whether the company has made a profit or loss in the past year, how much earnings it has retained and the proportion of revenues to operational expenses. Apart from the financial statements, information about the market price of shares of the company and the dividends paid have to be provided.
Other elements included in the annual reports are:
- Notes to accounts with details about the accounting policies
- Comments by auditors on the financials of the company.
- Disclaimers about forecasted income and expenses
- Stories, infographics and photographs
Annual reports are important elements of a brand’s transparency and accountability. However, rather than writing a ponderous document that only a few can understand, businesses are creating annual reports that speak to a broad group of people.
These reports communicate the values and goals of the brand. Producing creative reports that are highly visual and narrative-driven can help businesses connect with shareholders, investors and customers.
Determine the Key Message
An annual report is a perfect opportunity to highlight your accomplishments and the impact of these accomplishments. The investors and employees want to know what you did and why you did it. By connecting your activities and your accomplishments to the final goals and mission statement, businesses can build trust and foster long-lasting connections.
Finalize Structure and Content
One of the most difficult parts about writing an annual report is deciding what to include and what to leave out. It’s important to map out the content and the structure of the report.
Apart from the basic elements such as introduction, chairman’s letter, business profile and financial statement, the annual report should have a storyline that defines the overall structure of the report and shapes the content around a narrative thread. This makes it easier to identify and cut out information that does not actively move the story forward.
Use clear, precise and unambiguous writing. Maintain a professional and unbiased position throughout the document. The content of the annual report should be transparent and honest. Don’t inflate accomplishments or disguise the losses that you faced.
Use Compelling Design
A well-designed report that is engaging and professional can be used as a marketing tool by a business. Ideally, readers should be able to scan through the document and get the information they need. Here are some pointers for a good annual report design:
- Use headings and subheadings
- Devote space to photographs, infographics and other compelling visual elements
- Keep the text short and simple
- Use a bold and complimentary color scheme and layout techniques that are in sync with your brand
- Emphasize key areas with colored text boxes, quotes and captions
Plan in Advance
Creating an annual report is a long-term process that requires an organized system for recording and tracking data, media clipping, photographs and a list of business achievements. While a number of companies create the annual reports in-house, others may hire a design firm to compile, proofread and finalize the document.
Both public and private companies use annual reports to provide important business and financial information to customers, investors, employees and the media. Here are some reasons why an annual report is necessary for businesses:
- Provides an opportunity to highlight a company’s key achievements, expectations for the coming year and overall goals and objectives
- Gives information on the company’s financial position
- Introduce you’re the key members of the business to stakeholders and the general public
- Tells shareholders and employees the company’s strategy for growth in the coming year
- Useful as a decision-making tool for managers
The annual reports keep your critical business information up to date. A failure by public companies to update the investors and the state might result in late fees or even dissolution of your company.
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How To Write An Annual Report
Updated August 20, 2022 by Xtensio
Corporations, small businesses and nonprofits use the annual report template to give shareholders and other key stakeholders information about the organization’s activities and financial performance in the previous year. The goal of this report is to give stakeholders a comprehensive overview about the organziation’s mission, year-end highlights, projects, financial information and industry highlights. Use this step-by-step guide to create your annual reports, easily.
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Annual Report Template
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Your guide to creating an interactive annual report for your organization
Annual reports are a crucial part of your business and its yearly operations. The annual report is a financial document that businesses provide to shareholders, potential investors, employees and analysts as a source of information about the past year’s performance and financial well-being.
Generally, the first half of an annual report is devoted to company information, industry trends, and other important business news, while the second half usually contains financial data. Sometimes companies use the annual report as a marketing tool or a reminder to shareholders of their business achievements.
The annual report will allow you to:
- Provide investors and shareholders with a thoughtful and visually appealing annual report design to share information on key milestones and the company’s financial information.
- Highlight your company’s key achievements and goals for the coming year.
- Introduce key team members who joined during the previous year.
The annual reporting process should include members of all the departments within your company to get a full view of your organization’s financials and cash flow. Loop your team in to edit. Share the link so your managers and key external stakeholders are always updated.
1. Create your annual report header and table of contents
Introduce your annual report with your company or your client’s company name and logo, add the year you’re reporting for and update the folio color scheme and background to match your company branding. You can also include an introductory quote or notable figure that has fueled your year.
Annual reports provide a fundamental overview of the business during the previous year. Typically, the annual report contains categories such as a letter from the company CEO, data regarding the business’s finances and information about business activities. Use the table of contents to outline what the report will cover.
QUICK TIP: Once you set up your header section, you can save a custom template to easily repurpose for your ongoing annual reports.
2. Introduce your report with a message from the CEO
This is your cover page. Talk about your company’s mission and vision. How would you describe your company as a whole? What were the major goals for the previous year? How about your vision looking towards the future?
Some things to include in the CEO message:
- Talk about the history. Talk about how the company began. What was the inspiration behind the company? Were there significant figures or people that were involved in starting the business together? How has it progressed into what it is today? Give a general overview on the company.
- Who is your company? Talk about what type of people you guys are. How would you describe your company as a whole? Are you a team of innovators, curious thinkers, generalists?
- Explain yearly targets. What were the major goals? Did your team reach these goals, or did the strategy change? Maybe you had specific growth goals that shifted as marketing and sales strategies came together.
- Describe your company’s future. Talk about where the company wants to be today and tomorrow. Think about the major goals that your company is determined to reach and what type of impact it is looking to make.
3. Highlight year-end achievements
Detail key business growth using numbers, clients’ names, partnerships, etc.
- Yearly growth: What major sales did your team make this year? Highlight key business growth using numbers, clients names, partnerships, etc.
- New products: Did you introduce new products or services this year? Showcase what your team accomplished this year in terms of launching new products and services.
- Marketing initiatives: Here’s your chance to show stakeholders what you’ve done to attract new customers. Did you start a monthly webinar series, launch a new workshop or campaign?
- Company accomplishments: Give an overview of any awards, accomplishments or major lists you were included in this year. Were you ranked on the top place to work? Do you have high customer satisfaction?
4. Detail key financial data
This is what your shareholders really care about in the annual report. Showcasing your company’s financial statements allows current and future investors, shareholders, employees and other business stakeholders to determine how well the company has performed in the past, its ability to pay off debts and its plans for growth. You could include financial statements such as:
- Revenue growth
- Balance sheet
- Cash flow statement
- Income statement & profit
- Customer growth statement
Quick Tip: With Xtensio’s pie/donut chart, you can enter data points and easily switch between bar and donut graphs to visualize the data however works best for your specific purpose.
5. Create an overview of your market & industry
Create an overview of where your market stands by outlining a few of your competitors. Where does the market stand? What did your competitors do well last year? Where did they fall short?
Use the competitive analysis template to do a deep dive into your competition.
6. Introduce your leadership team
Putting a face to your company is important, especially if you’re using your annual reports as a marketing initiative to gain new interest from investors. Add a high quality cover photo for each team member and describe how each team member plans to help reach your company vision.
- What is their background?
- How did they come to start or join this company?
- What are they responsible for?
7. Highlight key projects and say thank you
Give your investors more to explore what your company has been up to over the past year. Include links to case studies or major projects that align with your growth goals. Describe what you achieved in each project and how it highlights your yearly goals.
And finally, close the report by giving credit to employees, partners, clients and investors. Tell them how much their support and dedication has helped your company reach this year’s goals
Share your annual report as a link, monitor & evaluate
When you’ve finished creating your annual report with Xtensio’s editor, you can send the live link to your folio to share it as a responsive webpage (and add password protection). The annual report template is adaptable just like other Xtensio tools , it can and should be repurposed, revisited, and revised regularly throughout the year – we recommend quarterly.
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How to Tell a Great Story in Your Annual Report (Plus Examples)
by Katy French
We’ve talked at length about why your annual report is such an important piece of content for your brand. It doesn’t just satisfy a legal requirement; it’s a bold statement about who you are, what you do, and how you are succeeding. The stronger your annual report, the more you can increase your visibility and connect with the community who supports you.
Of course, we know crafting an annual report can feel intimidating or taxing. That’s why we’re giving you a step-by-step guide to help you create an engaging report.
How to Create a Great Annual Report
The key to a great annual report is to turn the information you’re including into an interesting story, using every storytelling tool at your disposal. From copywriting to design, the tips you’ll find here will help you bring your annual report to life on every page.
1) Choose the right format.
Annual reports have evolved over the years (and in the best ways). Whereas they used to be dry, dull print reports, there are all sorts of exciting and engaging ways to tell your brand story, whether it’s on paper or on a screen. How do you know what format is right for you? The whole point of an annual report is to showcase your brand’s achievements in a meaningful way, so the format you choose will probably be influenced by your audience and your brand’s product, service, or mission. If you’re not sure how to decide, here’s a simple rundown of your options.
Print The good old standby, print annual reports are the most user-friendly format. They are usually simple and straight forward, but they can be just as exciting as other formats, depending on your presentation. Example: The Sonae 2012 Annual Report by Ivity Brand Corp. featured colorful gears that readers could manually turn.
Digital If you’re not limited by page count or printing costs, digital can give you more opportunities to be creative. Also, because digital content is so easy to share, it is the easiest way to get more people to engage with your content.
Even if you’re just posting a PDF slideshow to your website, think of ways to promote your report online. An interesting data visualization, pull quote, or statistic can be great visual content for social platforms.
Example: Canadian Hearing Services includes a click-through slideshow of their print report on their site, making the content easy to consume.
Example: Goodwill of Southern California shares a simple stat about their achievements—a great way to promote their mission on social media.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Goodwill Southern California (@goodwillsocal)
Interactive Interactive content is a great way to encourage people to engage with your content. Whether you create a structured interactive that guides them through the story, or an exploratory experience that they can poke around on their own, the more time they spend in your content, the more invested they’ll become. Interactive annual reports are especially effective if you have large data sets to explore.
Example: Girls Who Code is a nonprofit that teaches teens girls to code. Since their work is all about professional computer programming, a slick interactive annual report was the perfect way to showcase the value of what they do.
Video People are busy, so offering them quick and succinct information is much appreciated. Video is a great way to deliver your annual report highlights in a short amount of time. It’s also a great way to humanize your brand and let people tell your story.
Example: Juvenile Welfare Board’s video annual report lets families strengthened by JWB’s services share their stories.
Tip: If you really want to make an impression, brainstorm alternate presentations. When it comes to format, you can be as creative as you want to be.
Example: Try something novel like the Banques Alimentaires Québec 2012-2013 Annual Report by LG2 Boutique, which came wrapped around a paint can.
Example: The Well Done 2006 Annual Report by Bruketa & Žinić required readers to bake—yes, bake—a booklet to see images appear inside.
No matter what story you’re telling, make sure that you have the resources and knowledge to produce whatever content format you choose—before you dive into the writing process.
2) Craft a narrative.
It’s a shame when brands just compile their numbers, add a letter from the president, and call it a day. There is a lot of valuable content to be shared in an annual report, but if it isn’t presented appropriately, much of it goes to waste. As a cornerstone piece of content, your annual report should effectively communicate your brand story.
Anchor your annual report around a core narrative. Is there a theme that influenced your work throughout the year? Was there a successful initiative that encapsulates your message? Did your work affect change in a significant way?
Crafting your report with a meaningful through line makes it easier to digest what’s in the report and lets you showcase your brand in its best light. (This core story should also influence your design.)
Tip: Sometimes your strongest story will come from the numbers in your spreadsheets. Follow these 5 steps to find compelling stories in your data .
Example: The National Association of Realtors 2014 Annual Report was crafted around the t heme “You are NAR” to reenforce how important each member is.
3) Demonstrate your impact.
An annual report is an opportunity to highlight your accomplishments, build trust in your organization, and show your stakeholders your success.
But to really make an impression and help your viewer emotionally invest in your brand, you need to highlight the impact of these accomplishments. How does your work affect individuals, businesses, communities, or even the world?
Tip: Instead of just listing a timeline of highlights from the year, use data, testimonials, quotes, individual stories, or other information to provide context and show the real impact of your efforts.
Example: We collaborated with Goodwill of Orange County to create an annual report that told the story of “The Good Effect,” how the things they do help their larger community and have a lasting effect.
4) Humanize your work.
People want transparency from brands. This applies to your financials, of course, but it also means that people want to know who you really are as a brand. Who works for you? Who do you work with? How do you interact with the world? The more you let people behind the curtain to see these things, the more likely they are to trust you.
As you craft your annual report, look for opportunities to humanize your brand in every way. Write in your brand voice to show off your personality. Use images of people, whether it’s your employees or customers. Include interesting or entertaining anecdotes that showcase who you are. This is one of the best ways to turn a dull report into a lively piece of content.
Tip: See our guide to culture marketing for more ideas to incorporate your company culture into your brand storytelling.
Example: For the Krochet Kids intl. annual report, we put the stories of the women they work with front and center.
5) Visualize the numbers.
We’re huge proponents of data visualization because it is both aesthetically pleasing and an effective form of visual communication. (Fun fact: Our brains are pre-wired for visual communication, so visualizing data makes the information presented easier to comprehend and recall.)
Of course, presenting data effectively is crucial, so make sure you’re following data design best practices. And if there is particularly pertinent information that supports your story, include callouts or additional context to ensure your reader understands the data’s significance.
Tip: See our data visualization 101 guide for more info on how to design common charts and graphs, and try these 25 tips to improve your data visualizations .
Example: The 2020 EggTrack Interactive Report is an annual report that showcases the progress 100+ companies have made toward using 100% cage-free eggs by 2026. The report features a wealth of data that viewers can explore to see each company’s individual progress.
6) Follow design best practices.
The visuals you include tell your story as much as the words on the page. Your choice of illustrations, photos, colors, and fonts will all affect the viewer’s interpretation of the information.
As you move forward with design, think about how you can use every design element to enhance the experience. Depending on your core narrative, you may want to choose a particular visual theme or metaphor that relates to your story. It may also be influenced by the format you choose.
This is an opportunity to get as creative as you like. However, make sure your annual report design reflects your visual identity.
Tip: To design your report effectively, a void the most common design mistakes , and follow our tips to keep your report on brand .
Example: We designed the Pacific Life 2015 Annual Report around an aquatic theme. It helped present the brand as a living, breathing, energetic entity to remind the reader that Pacific Life is more than a life insurance company.
7) Surprise your readers.
If you challenge yourself, you can really break the mold with your annual report. This extra layer upgrades your readers’ experience, making your annual report truly memorable. Some ways to do that…
- Share a delightful photo, story, or tidbit. Warby Parker’s 2013 annual report mentioned the time their team ordered so many sides of bacon from Seamless that the service was sure there’d been a mistake.
- Include a fun little freebie. Flywheel’s 2015 Year in Review showcased the CEO getting a tattoo of the company’s logo. In honor of the event, they made custom temporary tattoos to send to anyone who requested them.
No matter your budget, you can always come up with something creative. Remember: Your annual report is a huge opportunity to make a bold statement—don’t waste it.
Tip: If you need a little more inspiration, take a look at these 50 examples of truly inspiring annual report design.
Look For More Ways to Tell Your Brand Story
Whether it’s an infographic on social media or an e-book on your website, every piece of content you create is an opportunity to tell a consistent, cohesive brand story that grabs attention and turns people into lifelong customers. If you’re looking for more ways to upgrade your content game…
- Find out what 5 ingredients you need to tell a strong brand story .
- Try these 7 tips to tell your brand story in different ways.
- Mix up your designs by experimenting with these different storytelling formats .
And if you need a little help bringing your story to life, we’d love to chat .
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How To Write An Annual Report
How do you write an annual report?
1. start off with the shareholder's letter.
This vital communication is written by the CEO or manager of the business and its tone sets the mood for the entire report. Care should be taken to remain inspiring and positive and inject a hint of personality into this personal communication.
2. Add a general description of the industry
In this section you want to create a positive an inspiring picture of the industry as a whole. Here, you should include numeric data about your market share as a player in the industry or positive predictions that indicate the upward trend in the growth of customer awareness of your business, positive reviews or regard and your networking among key players in the industry. In this section the aim should be to inspire optimism among major stakeholders.
3. Include audited statements of income
Income and expense reports should always have been through a professional audit before being presented to shareholders, financial institutions, and potential investors. This instills an air of reliability and confidence in the reader. This section should include the annual income of the business, alongside the expense statements. Financial statements can include balance sheets, income or profit and loss statements and a cash flow statement - they sum up the financial position of the business.
4. State your financial position
In this section you can make use of colorful charts and graphs to indicate the true financial position of the business. Stakeholders want to see that the business is generating income, minimizing expenses, turning a profit and planning the next financial year according to accurate financial information.
5. Give details about cash flow
Details about the ready, inflow of cash into the business will be of great importance to those reading your report. This section should relate to the section about income statements and refer to information and graphs noted in this section. While the business may be rich in assets or potential profits, the cash flow is the total of finances being transferred in and out of a company's bank account during the financial year. This affects the liquidity of the business and is a true reflection of business stability.
6. Provide notes to the statements for line items
Your financial statements may not be easy for individuals who are not directly involved in the business to understand. For this reason, all the financial statements need to include additional notes to clarify each or several facts and figures in the statements.
Every small and medium business owner should compile an annual report at the end of the financial year. The annual report provides details about the company’s financial position and operational activities during the year. An annual report provides shareholders with information about the industry in which the company operates, audited income statements , the financial position of the company, cash flow, and notes relative to income statements.
A comprehensive annual report gives stakeholders, potential donors, and other interested parties information about the business, which they can use to make decisions.
In order to provide accurate details about the financial status of the business, the information used to compile the report must be as accurate as possible. Errors made during the collection process or compilation of the report can substantially affect the viewpoint of shareholders and fuel funding concerns as well as affect management decisions. In this segment we explain how a report is written, how to avoid mistakes during data collection and provide encouragement on how to begin the process.
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What should be included in an annual report?
The six basic components of an annual report are:
- The shareholder's letter
- General description of the industry
- Audited Income Statements
- Financial Position
- Explanatory notes
You may include brief additional sections, but it's generally recommended to adhere to these six basic sections This makes the report easier and less time-consuming to read and easier to understand at a glance. Aim for an inspiring, concise report that paints a positive picture of the status of company's finances.
Planning the annual report
The success of every financial report begins in the planning stage. In this stage you consult and involve the planning committee to determine the data you need, who is responsible for collating and compiling income and expenditure reports, data on operations or information on accounting practices and requirements. It is important to include all the relevant information, without making the report too long or tedious to read.
Remember : Shareholders and stakeholders are interested in finding out the results of your yearly operations.
The tone of the report
Aim to include relevant information in an inspiring report. To do this you want to include meaningful results, not just long lists of data. Try to use the facts and figures included in the report to tell a story. At this stage you will want to develop a basic framework for the data, graphs, charts, predictions and photographs you want to include in the report.
Pitfalls to avoid
When learning how to write an annual report, mistakes are inevitable. As already noted, making the report too long, confusing or tedious to read is a common mistake.
Tip : you want to stick to the shortest possible length, while providing ALL the relevant data. This data should be relevant to the particular stakeholders or potential donors you want to attract. Including too many details and information about daily operations will result in boredom and doesn't get down to the basic results that the parties need to know.
Make sure to answer the following questions:
- Why does the company exist?
- What is the vision or objective of the business?
- What is the strategy to reach this goal?
- How does the company make money?
- Online reports: What is included in the annual report?
These days many companies share their annual reports online. This is an effective way to reach many stakeholders at once and allow sharing of the document with interested parties in a network. While reports are similar to paper copies, online reports are an excellent way to get immediate feedback on your annual reports. By including an online feedback facility or response form, readers and shareholders can respond personally to the CEO, asking for more information, improved formatting or praising the content and structure of the report. So, don't forget to consider online cloud-based platforms and other online formats.
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Writing Your Year-End Review
Table of Contents
For some lucky employees, December is the time of year when their company rewards them with an annual bonus. If they have met or exceeded their goals for the year, they receive a bonus–sometimes a percentage of their salary and sometimes a fixed amount.
Bonuses are not automatic. Often employees have to evaluate their own performance, telling their manager (and anyone else who approves the bonus) how well they have done in accomplishing their goals. This is called a year-end performance review, or a year-end summary.
For you enviable readers who are expecting a bonus, here are a few tips on how to write about your performance this year. The rest of us can use these suggestions anytime we are describing our accomplishments or writing a self-appraisal.
How to write your year-end review (with examples).
Begin with a strong, positive opening statement..
Start your year-end review with a strong, positive opening statement that engages the reader.
Example : “I met or exceeded all my goals this year, in addition to taking on the unexpected role of interim supervisor.”
List the details of what you have accomplished.
That way, even a manager who does not work with you closely will see that your accomplishments are impressive.
Example: “I achieved my goal of rolling out a new payroll manual. To do so, I gathered all the procedures from the six plants, rewrote and edited them, and assembled them in both hard copy and online manuals, which are now available throughout the company.” Example: Rather than saying “I trained Alvira, Yusef, and others,” list the names of every person you trained. Example: Rather than writing “I worked toward my goal of improving my financial reports,” list the classes you attended, the books you read, and any details showing that you actually have improved your reports.
Answer the unstated question “So what?” for each of your achievements.
For the examples above, you would describe the positive companywide impact of the new payroll manual, the significant work which the people you trained are now able to accomplish, and the contribution your improved financial reports have made to the organization’s effectiveness. Use data wherever possible, especially data showing that you have saved or made money for the company. Describe how your strong performance has made your team, department, division, or company stronger.
If you have not met a goal but must write about it, include it in the middle rather than at the end of your list of goals. (The reason for including it in the middle is so that you will be able to end strong.) State whatever you have done to work toward the goal.
Avoid blaming anyone else for your inability to meet a goal.
Use a passive verb construction to avoid blame, like this: “I did not achieve my goal of meeting our international partners because funds for travel were not approved.” It is not necessary to state that your manager did not approve your travel request.
Use complete sentences and bullet points rather than quick phrases such as “Web content revisions.” Remember that your manager may not recognize brief notes.
Write for pass-it-on readers.
Sometimes a senior manager or someone in the personnel department must approve your bonus. That person will benefit from details, complete sentences, and spelled out versions of abbreviations and acronyms.
For more suggestions and guidelines on writing your own performance review–and writing about your accomplishments–read the post “Writing About Ourselves: Bragging Without Blushing.”
Let’s summaries with a little infographic:
Here is a complete example of a fictional Year-End Review.
My Year-End Review 2022 I am confident in saying that I have met my goals this year, along with earning the position of assistant department supervisor last week. It has always been my goal to be a better caretaker for the animals in our zoo. In working towards this goal, I have contributed to the zoo’s growth. I can say that 2022 has turned out better than I expected. My Accomplishments Achieving something significant in my area of work begins with small steps. I see myself as part of a larger chain of professionals that brings the animals what they need every day. Below are a few of the achievements I was privileged to gain this year: There was waste reduction and significant savings. During my early months, I was still gaining a stable footing in my section. I was sometimes too careful of my steps that I compromised the number of animals I was supposed to care for in one day. There were even times when I overfed some of them. I became more familiar with what each animal wanted. Because of this, our department cut down food wastage from 45% to 8%. This saved my department about $5,000 a month in buying food for the animals I handled. Losses were prevented in the department. This year, more animals were added to my section. Because of the experience I have gained in the past year and a half, I have learned to be more attentive to the needs of the animals under my care. Because of this, I was able to spot some individuals who became quiet all of a sudden. I also identified individuals who isolated themselves from the rest during feeding time. This allowed me to contact the zoo veterinarian right away. Some of the animals I noticed were in the early stages of illnesses common to their species. The vet was able to treat them right away. This prevented complications and even deaths. My quick thinking also allowed the vet to start monitoring the animals that were pregnant. This resulted in three successful pregnancies and births. The monumental events increased the zoo patrons by 60% before November. My supervisor even reported that more people have been signing up to see the animals. The zoo became much safer. As a caretaker, I thought that I was just there to feed and keep an eye on the animals. This year, I realized that I was also there to see if the enclosures were ideal. In three enclosures under my care, I noticed that one of the large branches in the large bird enclosure was hanging a little low. I knew that it was something that should be addressed right away for the safety of the birds and their caretakers. I notified my supervisor. This resulted in the replacement of the large tree in the enclosure. The tree doctors went into the other enclosures as well to check if the large trees there were still healthy. This convinced the administration to check the rest of the zoo’s artificial landscapes. In no time, carpenters and architects started to come in to reinforce the weakened perches, ledges, and homes in the 63 enclosures that we have. The zoo is now more confident in the safety and health of its animals and their caretakers. The collaboration within the zoo improved. During my early years, I was a little shy about pointing out some and asking questions, especially during meetings. This year, I was able to let everyone know that a couple of teens were going around the zoo, throwing small pebbles at the lions and bears. This started a discussion about the teens because other caretakers also saw them doing the same thing to other animals. This started a watch for these teens and other similar zoo guests. It increased the level of security and internal monitoring by 75%. The administration also installed more surveillance cameras to catch such guests in action. More security marshals were also assigned to each enclosure so that they could remove such guests right away. Although these achievements reflect my improved efficiency as a caretaker, I still have not achieved an earlier clock-in time. I often arrive half an hour before my shift, but I realized that it is not enough to start and finish my duties. This often results in clocking out two hours after the official clock-out time. I should clock in much earlier. This will allow me to go home and rest earlier. This could help the zoo security check and lock up each department earlier in the evening as well. Looking Forward Despite the challenges of 2022, our zoo was able to power through. We maintained a safe and healthy environment for the animals, guests, and caretakers. From zero visitors due to COVID-19 back in 2020 to about 50 a day in 2021, to an amazing average of 250 visitors each month this year. Continuing to do what we do the best way we can is the only way to go. As we continue to provide quality animal care and awareness, I think the zoo will be expanding soon.
Enjoy your bonus!
Thank you for your article. As a Technology Manager and developer, I sometimes stuggle writing these reviews that are mandatory at my company. Developers love to code, but hate to write. I’ve been doing these now for a few years and didn’t realise how off-base I’ve been in my personal reviews. I was able to use some of your examples, which turned a difficult time into a valuable experience. Thanks You!
Jesse, I am so glad you found my suggestions helpful. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
thanks for your wonderful articles! THis is the first year I need to write a self-appraisal, your info is great!
MG, I am glad this material was helpful to you. Thanks for letting me know.
Thanks this really helped…!!
Glad to hear it!
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How to Write Your Year-End Review [For Employees and Managers]
It's the year-end review season.
You know the drill.
Call your direct reports into a meeting room (or online meetings these days), give them an official-looking document, and begin the same, tired conversation of what worked and what didn't.
The result: a bag full of mixed messages that disappoint even the top-performing employees.
Ditch this approach if you want to reinforce star performers and guide the average ones. This guide includes everything you must know about year-end reviews, including:
What are year end reviews?
How to conduct a year end review, how to write year end reviews.
- Things to cover in a year end review
- How to write a year end review: tips for employees
- How to write a year end review: tips for managers
An end-of-year review, as the name suggests, is an annual review of employees' overall performance done by their managers. Also known as a year-end performance review or annual review, they are a bit more formal than general career conversations. Its objective is to review employees' achievements, opportunities, and goals for the next year.
Before the meeting, the employee should review their performance and create a list of goals and objectives for the upcoming year. They should also take the time to reflect on their accomplishments, successes, and challenges to discuss during the meeting.
During the meeting, the manager and employee should focus on what went well and what could be improved. The manager should be open to listening to the employee's ideas and discussing potential solutions. The employee should also be prepared to ask questions and provide feedback.
Once the meeting is over, the manager and employee must create a follow-up plan to ensure that the employee is held accountable for their goals. The manager should provide feedback and support to help employees reach their goals.
Overall, performance conversations can be difficult, but with the proper preparation, focus, and follow-up, these conversations can be productive and beneficial for both the manager and the employee.
Also read: Online meeting etiquette rules to follow.
Writing year-end reviews is a systematic process. If you are wondering how to write year-end reviews, here are a few things you must include as an employee:
1. Make a strong opening statement
Always begin your year-end review with a positive opening line.
Year-end review example: "I successfully met or exceeded my goals and took the unexpected role of interim leader."
This statement shows that you not only achieved your goals but also took on a new responsibility and handled it well. It sets the tone for a positive review and communicates a sense of accomplishment.
2. List everything you accomplished
Listicles are effective. They offer a mental reprieve as it is less taxing to read well-spaced bullet points. So, when you write your accomplishments, list them down instead of writing them in large blocks of text.
That way, other managers who didn't work with you closely will also be able to review your accomplishments in minutes.
Year-end review example: Instead of saying you trained Anna, Josh, and others, say that you trained X resources and list the name of each person.
Another year-end review example: Instead of saying you worked towards your goal of enhancing your financial reports, list all the books your read, classes you attended, and other minutest of details that show you have improved your reports.
3. Answer the unsaid "so-what" question
You had a great year. You worked on multiple things. But what was its impact on the business or overall team strategy? For example, by training X number of resources, did your team's efficiency improve? If so, by how much?
Use quantifiable data to show how you have saved or generated money for the business. If you didn't meet the goal and have to talk about it, include it in the middle so you can end your year-end review on a high.
Things to cover in year-end reviews
Every company is different. Therefore, the topics covered during their year-end meetings will also be different. But a few areas transcend all companies regardless of their size, industry, and nature of business. Here are some of those topics:
Accomplishments: It is an excellent opportunity to show appreciation for employees who put their all into the company. It's always nice and motivating for them to know that their employer sees and values their hard work and progress.
Responsibilities: The year-end is a time for reflection for everyone. It's also the time to review employees' responsibilities and communicate what might change in the future.
Development Areas: Is there room for improvement for the employee? Is there room for management to get better? The answer is a resounding "Yes!". The year-end review is the platform for both sides to respectfully tell others how they might grow and improve. Make sure it doesn't turn into a personal attack, though.
Strengths: While discussing areas of improvement, make sure to discuss the strengths too. Both sides should recognize each other's strengths. That keeps them motivated and appreciated at work.
Business Priorities: Your company's objectives will occasionally change as it aligns itself with the evolving market. You may anticipate a change in how it conducts business to keep up with those changes.
To ensure everyone knows the current top priorities, it is a good practice to communicate the same with employees and their managers.
Year end review tips for employees
Here are a few guidelines every employee can follow while sharing feedback with their peers or colleagues during year-end reviews:
1. Be specific
Consider specific traits important for your colleagues to get the job done. Talk about qualities and examples where your colleague demonstrated these skills to avoid miscommunication.
2. Offer suggestions
As mentioned above, provide practical examples to give a sense of direction to your suggestions. It will also allow you to understand their rationale and identify any areas for improvement.
3. Listen actively
We think four times faster than we can speak. So, if your colleague is talking to you, you only need around 25% of your mental capacity to hear the message.
Taming the remaining 75% of your mind to focus on the conversation makes active listening one of the hardest things to do. But if you can achieve that, you will know more about your colleagues—their interests and personalities.
It's unfair to throw an icy bucket of opinions at someone and leave it at that. If you have some feedback to share, ensure you follow up on the matter and see if there is any improvement.
How to complete year-end self-assessment (for employees)
Think about what you achieved throughout the year and what you want to improve next. As a rule, don't blame anyone if you can't meet your target. Instead, think of a constructive way to talk about it.
1. Evaluate strengths
Highlight your strength by listing what went well, what skills you used, which project you enjoyed, and so on.
2. Areas for improvement
Improvement is a critical part of career development. Improvement is part of your career development. Identify improvement areas so your manager knows your aspirations and how they can coach you better.
3. Be forward-looking
Think about where you want to be in the next few years. What are your goals and ambitions? What skillset do you need to achieve them? Explain, in detail, what you enjoy doing the most and the skills required to ace your job next year.
Year end review tips for managers
Saying "great job!" isn't enough when giving feedback to employees. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Start with positive feedback
Give specific details on what your team members do good so they can understand the kind of conduct you expect from them going forward.
2. Set new challenges
Even if you only have positive feedback to share, you should motivate your employees to keep improving by assisting them in setting new goals and challenges.
3. Don't base feedback solely on results
Be careful not to rely solely on results while giving positive feedback. Sometimes even after giving their all, the project could fall through for several reasons outside anyone's control. In such a scenario, holding your employees accountable might be unfair.
4. Be clear and specific
It's crucial to explain why certain things might affect your employee's performance. Employees can relate to and reflect on their previous behaviors by bringing up particular instances and considering how they might improve.
5. Have a growth mindset
People without a growth mindset believe their abilities are static; therefore, they often construe feedback as a personal attack. This is the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.
When you frame your comments in a way that emphasizes action rather than traits, it is clear that you are calling their attention to specific areas because you think doing so would help them perform better. Making assertions supported by facts and observations is the best prevention strategy.
6. Address feedback on one or two issues at a time
Even if you see several improvement areas, giving it all at once might overwhelm your employees and leave them confused. Focus on enhancing one or two areas at a time to avoid confusion. The metrics of your employee's performance can be analyzed to choose which talent to focus on developing initially.
7. Find a solution together
Allow your employees to respond to your comments to understand their point of view and deal with the matter appropriately. Ask them what actions they believe they could take and offer suggestions for improving their performance. Remember, it is your responsibility to put their actions into context.
Also read: 20 great tips to ace your first one-on-one with employees .
Whether you are an employee or manager, year-end review is a moment everyone dreads.
But with these simple strategies, you can transform your year-end performance review into a constructive experience and make it more enjoyable and engaging. You'll be all geared up to launch the new year with a feedback culture that sets everyone on the long and winding road to success.
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22+ End of Year Report Templates – Free Sample, Example, Format Download!
Year end or annual reports sample are a must from every company, featuring the activities carried by the organization throughout the year. These sample reports offer the shareholders & other people interested about the company a complete idea on the activities & financial performance of the firm. Have you been endowed with the responsibility to create the year end report for your company and you are seeking a guidance here? You can follow the annual simple report template available for download over the internet. You can also see more on Survey Reports .
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How To Write An Annual Report
Here is our guide to help you write your annual report, complete with industry-focused toc's. bonus section: deep-dive on the executive summary., introduction to annual reports.
- Establish a style guide: This is especially important when various people are working on writing and editing the report. A style guide prescribes language and tone of voice, but also serves consistency with rules for date formats, capitalization of words, hyphenation, acronyms, branding, and spelling.
- Determine the key messages upfront: Don’t use the writing process to “discover” the message(s) you want to convey in your annual report! In turn, the message or narrative thread should drive your writing.
- Finalize the structure: Before you start writing the annual report, all stakeholders need to sign off on the structure, otherwise you’ll end up producing content that will be cut from the final draft.
- Prepare a clear brief: Avoid confusion about the scope of the project, roles and responsibilities by writing a clear brief for your annual report.
- Plan in advance: Writing your annual report is a long-term process that requires organization and project management skills, especially when you hire external contractors to take care of tasks such as design or printing.
- Language: Use simple sentences, active verbs, and keep jargon to a minimum. Avoid clichés, keep sentences and paragraphs short, and check your imagery: flowery language and metaphors make things vague, but if you use them, check that they’re in line with your brand.
- Write in drafts: Your annual report doesn’t have to be perfect from the beginning. Rather than trying to get it right in one go, work in three iterations. Your first draft is a rough sketch where you obtain clarity of which section goes where and how long each section will be, more or less. In the second draft, the coherent narrative takes shape. In the third draft, you clean up the writing before your have someone else check it.
- Changes: Employ a professional proofreader or editor to work through necessary changes cost-effectively and efficiently. Consider legal counsel for a compliance or regulation check.
Best Practises For Annual Report Writing
Annual report executive summary, annual report templates, smb: small and midsize business.
- Letter or statement from the CEO
- Executive Summary
- Highlights of the past year
- Company information
- Optional: Stories, photos, and charts that construct a relatable narrative for investors.
- Optional: Instead of targeting investors, a small business can address and inspire employees in a special section.
- Balance sheet: Listing the company's current financial condition including tangible and intangible assets, long-term liabilities of the business, and equity, the balance sheet is a snapshot of how the company is doing.
- Income statement: Details on revenue and expenses to highlight profits and losses.
- Cash flow statement: Here the focus is on liquidity generated and spent in the past year
- Audit : If necessary or appropriate, include an auditor's report on the company's financial situation. Such an audit can be done internally or externally.
- Optional: Notes, appendix and clarification of financial statements.
- Optional: Accounting policies.
- Optional: A disclaimer about your forecast of expenses and revenue.
Nonprofit Organization / Non-Governmental Organization
- Welcome letter or personal introduction: This is your opportunity to showcase your mission. Your supporters probably don’t think as much about your mission as you do, so repeating your mission statement throughout the report is acceptable. Demonstrate throughout the report how your organization embodies, pursues, and fulfills that statement.
- Summary of highlights: Select major accomplishments you want to showcase and keep it engaging, but concise to not lose the attention of your readers. Limit the number of highlights and make sure to be inclusive: ask different people in all parts of the organization for their personal picks. Ensure that the accomplishments in the summary are in line with your message and mission statement. If possible, find a theme (such as growth, support, hope, responsibility etc.) to unite the highlights. Clarity is key, so spell out how the highlights relate to the organization’s mission.
- Financial information
- Three stories of accomplishment:
- The big picture
- A personal touch
- Example of past impact shaping the future
- Donor list: Depending on your organization, you can list donors, funders, volunteers, partners, sponsors, or association members.
- Mission statement / vision statement
- Summary of highlights
- Overview of the charity: Here you can give a brief summary of the history and talk about the charity, the people and the supporters.
- Governance: This will include legal information about the exact type of charity and the structure and management. You can include a report by the chairperson or CEO and state the objectives and activities as outlined in the chart.
- Financials: This section can include:
- Treasurer’s report
- Auditor’s statement or report
- Financial statements
- Other optional sections:
- Call for contributions / action
- Future outlook
- State the mission clearly and relate back to it when you outline and highlight the activities and achievementsState clearly the organization’s mission and relate the activities back to the mission throughout the report.
- The information about the governance and structure of the charity should also reflect the mission.
- Disclose the charity’s risks, issues and challenges in the context of the mission.
- Avoid splintering your annual report into many mini-reports by your charity’s committees, if they exist. You can make these smaller reports available individually on the charity’s website.
- Welcome letter or personal introduction: Words by a founding member, church body or pastor to address the audience and set the tone for the annual report.
- Mission statement: What are the objectives and activities of the church?
- Overview: The identity of the church and its members as well as the values and the calling of the church, followed by details on the structure, governance, and management
- Stories of accomplishment and the church's work, for example:
- The community
- The mission and outreach
- Charity work with a personal touch
- Statement of Financial Activities
- Charity Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow Statement
- Notes to financial statements
- Audit by committee or independent auditor
- Callout: In this section, you can list donors, funders, volunteers, partners, sponsors, or church members as well as provide a call to action, for example to donate, take part in church work, or become a member.
What Is An Annual Report?
What is the purpose of an annual report.
Financials: Statements and audits of the financials as well as financial performance and goals of a company can comprise the bulk content of an annual report. Projected and achieved revenue figures are part of this section. A company might also report expansion, growth, revenue increase plans, as well as a return-on-investment analysis or effectiveness study. A nonprofit organization might account for its spending, report donations and also project financial goals. Achievements: A year-in-review goes beyond financial numbers and annual reports often feature a mission statement and highlight past achievements, which could include research, investment in personnel of infrastructure, employee benefits, personal success stories, customer or user testimonials, or product launches. This section seeks to portray the company as an innovator and industry leader which attracts participation. Promotion: An annual report is an opportunity for marketing and public relations, either in a special section, or throughout the entire report. The goal is to attract new shareholders, excite existing investors, and raise brand awareness with the general public. Compliance: Companies produce annual reports even when they don’t have to because they want to benefit from the marketing and PR opportunities. Publicly traded companies and entities that fit certain other criteria have to file annual reports with the SEC, the US Securities and Exchange Commission. To avoid producing two different reports, these companies commonly produce one general report that meets the compliance standards. Pro Tip If your annual report has to meet certain compliance standards (such as the SEC Form 10-K for publicly traded companies), make the best use of your resources and only produce one report for your entire audience which includes the necessary information.
What Are Annual Report Formats?
Printed Annual Reports: Traditionally, an annual report is a glossy and high-end print product distributed to shareholders, regulators, members of the press, and figures selected for marketing and PR reasons. The production and distribution of a high-quality print product is also a cost factor that has to be figured into the overall budget. Electronic Annual Reports: The advantage of a print production is that companies and organizations can simply re-use the document and make their annual report available in electronic format, for example as a PDF download on their website. This version can also be distributed through email and other digital means. Interactive Online Annual Reports: With this format, readers can browse and view an annual report just like a website. Graphs and charts can be animated or interactive, and there is the possibility of embedding videos and other multimedia material. You can precisely track reach and engagement with digital online annual reports and brand and design the it just like the website of your company or organization. Pro Tip An online, interactive annual report is a cost-effective opportunity to use your reporting to drive engagement and get the best results from making your report available to a broad audience.
What To Include
Chairperson’s statement or letter: The CEO, the primary owner or the chairperson usually addresses readers with an introduction in the form of a letter or personal statement. This might highlight the most significant developments as snapshots, include brief details of company initiatives, and give a brief summary of the financials–sort of like a teaser of what’s to come. This part commonly also focuses on the challenges, achievements, and growth. Business profile: In this section, you can profile your company or organization with a mission statement, and details on the corporate office, the board, the team or the employees. You can highlight your products or services which are the main revenue drivers, provide an analysis of the market, the competition, or the risk factors, and profile both the investors or donors you have and the ones you are looking for. Financials: Regulation and compliance will largely dictate what to include in this section, but unlike in other sections of your annual report, there is no room for storytelling, embellishing, or flowery language. Transparency, accuracy, and thorough reporting are key here. The absolute numbers speak about the company’s performance to investors, shareholders and stakeholders, regulators, employees, and the general public. Readers will get a complete picture of the profit and loss of the past year, the revenue and its division into earnings retained, investment, and operational expenses, and the company’s shares. A typical sequence in this section could be: income statement, balance sheet, equity statement, cash flow statement, and shareholder information with earnings per share. Consolidated statements can be followed with longer, in-detail explanations of the financials. Auditor’s Report: An audit of the financial situation and the spending can be split into the reporting of an audit committee and the reporting of an independent auditor or auditing body. Some companies include the former in their business profile, and the latter as part of the financial statements. Other sections: Depending on your company, other sections can be a director’s report, accounting policies, general policies, stories, image material, and details about other activities not related to the business, such as corporate social and environmental responsibility reports.
Annual Report Writing
Produce a brief.
- Format of your finished annual report and specifications for a printed product, if necessary, such as size and quantity.
- Expectations for internal and external contributors. This includes length of requested texts, design standards, style questions, and timelines.
- Specifications for deliverables that define the schedule, data, and format for contributors.
Background information or mission statement Concepts and deliverables Timing / deadlines Objectives of the annual report Key messages of the annual report Short description of the brand, personality, and audience Writing, style, and design specifications Pro Tip Write the brief for your annual report before you or anyone starts work on the actual report. Compose a clear annual report brief to avoid conflict, because conflict often stems from misunderstanding or miscommunication. Clarity helps everyone fulfill their roles during production.
How To Write The Executive Summary
Who is your audience? This will help you decide what critical information readers need. Make the story you tell in your annual report resonate with them. What is the objective of the summary? It serves the function of summarizing, but in addition, what do you need the audience to understand? What reaction should they have, what action should they take? What is the outcome? The executive summary should also list conclusions or recommendations based on the past year on which you are reporting. What changes are necessary, what actions will the business take in the future? What are the benefits of the achievements, which improvement will the company reap from implemented solutions? Don't make the reader guess or work to find out about the future course of the company or organization. How will you impress? Of course your executive summary should be able to stand out and give all the important details even for those who decide to skip the rest of the report. But ideally, it is able to draw the audience in and make them read on. Don't inflate numbers, invent facts or dress up the truth, of course, but carefully consider how you shape your message and organize your summary.
Format For The Executive Summary
Order of appearance: Apart from opening lines, you’ll have to decide if your summary follows the exact structure of your report as laid out in the table of contents, or if you organize it differently and establish a varying level of importance. In both cases, you can use subheadings to introduce sections and use bullet points as well as enough space to make the summary visually appealing and accessible to scanning. Length: When your summary reaches a length of two pages or beyond, it arguably stops being a summary and becomes an outright introduction. Be brief but comprehensive. Do a sketch where you describe each necessary section in just one word, then elaborate to three words, then a whole sentence. Sometimes a flow or coherence is better for the executive summary than giving a complete overview of the annual report. Tone of voice: The executive summary is formal and not casual and should match your target audience in tone of voice. Yet it’s neither the time nor place to get into technical jargon, lengthy definitions, and presentation of information that is only accessible with background information, expertise, or in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Avoid acronyms and data that couldn’T stand for itself.
Any changes to the report require at least a check if not an update of the executive summary to ensure information remains relevant and consistent. Organize the summary either matching the table of contents or in the order of importance. Check for jargon, technical terms, filler words, and superfluous acronyms. Use active voice and direct language. Sparsely present precise and factual data from the report as highlights. Check to remove redundant information, repetitions, clichés, buzzwords, unnecessary phrases, and mixed messages. Use bullet points, subheadings and tables where appropriate to structure information. Format for readability and leave enough space. Check to include the most relevant information but remove anything not supported by the full report from the executive summary. Changes to headlines or sections of the report need to be reflected in the summary. Edit for brevity. Use test readers to verify that the summary stands alone to support your objectives.
Checklist For Your Annual Report Executive Summary
- Your Company Info
- Your Elevator Pitch
- The Problem You Are Solving
- Your Solution
- Your Target Audience
- Your Competitive Analysis
- Your Financials: Budget
- Your Financials: Revenue
- Your Financials: Funding
- Your Financials: Pricing
- Your Corporate Strategy
- Your Support Plan
- Your Leadership And Team
- Your Partners Or Donors
Tips for Writing a Year End Report · Know Your Audience: Is the report intended for internal or external viewers? · Get to the Point: · Pay
Use clear, precise and unambiguous writing. Maintain a professional and unbiased position throughout the document. The content of the annual report should be
1. Create your annual report header and table of contents · 2. Introduce your report with a message from the CEO · 3. Highlight year-end
Write in your brand voice to show off your personality. Use images of people, whether it's your employees or customers. Include interesting or entertaining
The report is divided into two sections. Section I is an Executive Summary providing general background information regarding the review and a summary of the
How do you write an annual report? · 1. Start off with the shareholder's letter · 2. Add a general description of the industry · 3. Include audited
How to write your year-end review (with examples). Begin with a strong, positive opening statement. List the details of what you have
How to Write Your Year-End Review [For Employees and Managers] · 1. Make a strong opening statement · 2. List everything you accomplished · 3.
Year end or annual reports sample are a must from every company, featuring the activities carried by the organization throughout the year.
Ensure that the accomplishments in the summary are in line with your message and mission statement. If possible, find a theme (such as growth, support, hope