Every year – six tips for successful annual reports

Annual reports with Apostroph Group

The annual report has long been more than just a source of information for shareholders and analysts; it’s increasingly being seen as providing an ideal marketing opportunity. Our six simple tips will help you impress your readership.

Tip 1: plain, clear language

For your readers to be impressed, they need to understand you. That’s why our first tip is: avoid long, convoluted sentences and display figures in tables and graphs. Keep your readers on your side with a simple sentence structure and, importantly, use the active voice and work with verbs. For example:

The share price rose by 3%

instead of

The positive share trend helped drive the price 3% higher.

Tip 2: build excitement

It’s your story that counts! That’s why we recommend piling on the excitement in your annual reports and working with emotions. It’s a way of captivating your target readership. But what’s the best way of building a good story?

A good story has a hero or heroine and a villain. The former could be the founder or the CEO. And the villain? Traditionally, someone or something that must be overcome. So, set the stage for the personalities in your company: pluck up courage and fight the villain, be it a rival or an unfortunate situation. Your readership will side with the hero/heroine and enjoy plots with a happy ending.

Tip 3: find a motto

What’s the main thrust of your report? Annual reports with an overriding theme that fits with the company are particularly appealing. Like a motto, it should act as a common thread from the cover via the visuals to the chosen story. This should help you stand out!

Tip 4: planning is everything

The early bird …! A compelling report needs forward planning and deadlines agreed with all the parties involved (editing team, language service provider, graphics agency, printer, company management, etc.). If all this is properly coordinated, the whole thing runs like a well-oiled machine. Prudent project management helps, too.

Tip 5: make smart use of technology

Our fifth tip concerns the use of digital tools. These days there are lots of ways you can minimise errors, boost your workflow and save time, money and stress. These include automated interfaces between the editing tool and translation teams, and machine translation with post-editing. Talk to the professionals!

Tip 6: support from partners

Having to produce an annual report alongside the day-to-day business can push a team to the limit. Get partners on board with the relevant know-how – people who can support you and make your life easier. Partners who are familiar with the precise implementation of standards and guidelines such as Swiss GAAP FER, IFRS, US-GAAP, etc.

Another advantage: it’s often easier for outsiders to see the bigger picture and have a clear perspective on what the report needs. Because they don’t suffer from operational blindness, they can spot added values that insiders may take for granted.

Do you have any questions or are you interested in working with us?

I would be happy to answer your questions or introduce you to Apostroph Group and our services in a personal meeting.
Nadia Gaille
Head of Customer Success

Apostroph wishes you every success – and is at your service

Enjoy the creative process of compiling your annual report – we look forward to being inspired by your story.

And feel free to ask us for help – put our experience to the test. Our strengths include:

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