The three key elements of Annual Reports: Advisory, content and design
Oct 4, 2022
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An Annual Report is a comprehensive document that highlights a company’s yearly performance. It is a one-stop destination for stakeholders and other parties to understand a company’s activities and its financial highlights.
Companies can highlight their mission, history, achievements, awards and snapshot of yearly performance, among other factors, for the shareholders’ knowledge. Annual Reports also have a message from the management (Chairman, CEO, CFO, MD and sometimes even the Heads of Sustainability and IT) with the overall operational and financial performance of the year.
Annual Reports are available in PDF format for download by stakeholders or as hard copies upon request from the company. However, due to the devastating effects of the pandemic, in May 2022, SEBI extended the relaxation to listed companies – they are not required to send physical copies of the reports to shareholders till December 2022.
Importance of an Annual Report
Shareholders, potential investors and financial analysts are the main consumers of information in an Annual Report. Hence, it must be accurate and factual. Although myriad websites give information about a company’s performance, shareholders should refer to the Annual Reports to get first-hand and authentic information about a company’s performance, key initiatives, activities and financial highlights.
Information published in an Annual Report is audited by third parties to ensure its validity and accuracy. As it is the bible for investors to make investment decisions, it must be well-presented and clear in terms of readability and flow. With strong content in place, an Annual Report can help stakeholders to understand a company’s growth trajectory, long-term plans, CSR initiatives, growth strategy, digitisation practices, policies, etc. With a careful understanding of a company’s operating performance, in addition to financial figures, shareholders can make prudent investment decisions.
Hence, it is important to onboard a design agency to craft a perfect Annual Report for content that is easy to read, structured, error-free and logically coherent along with visually appealing design elements that resonate with the company’s persona.
Crisp content and elegant design in an Annual Report enable shareholders, potential investors, financial analysts and other shareholders to understand the company. It also makes the company responsible towards its stakeholders.
The three key components that make an Annual Report
The global cry for climate change and the devastating impact on the planet in the form of natural calamities have driven governments to tighten environmental regulations across the globe. As human activities are the main drivers of climate change, businesses have a larger role to play in safeguarding our planet.
The growing population of eco-conscious investors and environmental laws are forcing companies to disclose their materiality issues. Today, businesses are required to broaden their perspectives and disclose non-financial information such as ESG materiality issues.
With a plethora of standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and frameworks including Integrated Reporting (IR), science-based targets, UN SDGs, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), etc., companies can conduct their materiality assessment to find sustainability issues central to their business operations.
At Report Yak, we help companies by clustering their ESG issues into appropriate sections and presenting them in an easy-to-digest format for stakeholders.
As the yearly performances of a company vary, it is a good idea to summarise the entire year in 3-4 words of theme line and represent the same visually through design. With a strong content strategy in place, the flow of sections can be sequenced to aid continuity and readability. A good Annual Report will bring a narrative angle to the yearly performance of the company instead of using an outdated approach of stating outright facts.
With sustainability and ESG reporting gaining momentum, companies are forced to incorporate their materiality risks in the reporting process. For example, the SEBI has mandated the top 1,000 listed companies to publish a Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) from FY23 onwards. Hence, these companies must prepare for the arduous journey ahead by starting their materiality assessment.
Currently, companies have the flexibility to include their sustainability-focused information in their Annual Report itself. Hence, with a well-knit content and content strategy, companies can spotlight non-financial disclosures for shareholders. With simple, yet clear and concise information in the report, shareholders are armed with the knowledge to make sensible financial decisions.
An award-winning design agency such as Report Yak has a specialised content team that ideates on theme lines to perfectly capture the essence of a company’s yearly performance. To develop the content, the team conducts in-depth research leveraging information from investor presentations, earnings statements, press releases, previous reports, news feeds, video discussions and interviews to write crystal clear content for companies.
‘A picture paints a thousand words - is a saying that is perfectly apt for the report-making industry as with appropriate pictures, vectors, background colours and alignment, charts and white spaces, reading and absorption becomes easy. Moreover, appropriate usage of elements such as callouts, maps and vibrant colour pallet adds to the creative quotient of the report.
At Report Yak, our design professionals work towards creating designs that perfectly suit the brand identity and the theme of the year. From image manipulation, isometrics and typography to illustration, our creative team deploys in-vogue design trends to craft a perfect report.
Meeting the corporate requirement of publishing an Annual Report can be cumbersome, which is why Report Yak was incorporated. We help you simplify the process with outstanding reports. Get in touch with us and we will be happy to answer your queries.