How to create an annual report (examples included)

Learn how to create an effective annual report that communicates your company's performance and progress. Includes examples, templates, and tips on best practices.



Craft Author: Craft Team
Craft Team

An annual report is essential for many professionals looking to analyze the financial well-being of their organization through a comprehensive, single-view document. Annual reports are crucial to understanding your company’s overall performance and the strengths and weaknesses that define your business year.

However, a disorganized or unprofessional annual report can lead to an inaccurate understanding of your company’s finances and an unclear path for the future business year. This article will describe the best tips and advice to create an annual report that works, examples of successful annual reports, and comprehensive templates to help you maintain the health and well-being of your organization with quality annual reports.

What Are Annual Reports?

Before learning how to write an annual report, it’s essential to know the purpose this report serves and what information it contains. An annual report is an important document that communicates a company’s performance, progress, and financial position over a year. It is a comprehensive report of a company’s activities over the past year and provides a snapshot of its performance and progress.

The annual report should be an honest and comprehensive assessment of the company’s performance that is detailed, organized, and concise. Annual reports provide readers with relevant financial information and insights into their company’s operations, management, and strategy through some of the following information:

- The business profile includes the company mission statement, director details, investor profile, products and services providing the primary revenue, competitor profile, and main risk factors for the business.

- The company management and analysis section includes an overview of the company’s performance over the past three years, profit margins, sales, and income, as well as information on new employees or acquisitions.

- Financial statements that compose most of the annual reports determine the company’s past performance, ability to pay its debts, and growth plans. Financial documents and statements that prove this include cash flow statements, balance sheets, income statements, statements to shareholders, and other relevant financial information.

Tips for Writing an Effective Annual Report

An annual report helps investors and stakeholders understand the company’s performance and can also help a company attract new investors and customers, as it provides insight into the company’s operations and strategy. It can also boost a company’s reputation and increase trust in its ability to deliver on its promises.

Because these reports are crucial, professionals should follow the best tips and advice to ensure that their annual report is effective and promising for the year ahead. With that in mind, here are some recommendations for writing a compelling annual report.

1. Keep it Simple and Clear

The annual report should be written clearly and concisely, with information that is organized and presented logically, allowing readers to understand the key points and takeaways.

2. Include Relevant Financial Information

The annual report should include financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. These statements provide readers with an understanding of the company’s financial performance and position.

3. Focus on the Story

The annual report should tell a story about the company’s performance and progress. It should explain the company’s strategies and objectives and provide an overview of its operations and performance.

4. Use Examples and Visuals

The annual report should include examples, visuals, and graphs to help illustrate the key points and takeaways. Visuals will make the report more engaging and easier to understand.

Use a Template

Using an annual report template can help create an annual report that is more manageable and efficient. A template can provide a structure for the report and help ensure all the necessary information is included. For example, the report templates available from Craft are perfect for creating an annual report that connects with employees and fosters a bright future for your company.

Effective Examples of Annual Reports

Creating an annual report is daunting when you aren’t familiar with the format, organization, and length. However, looking at compelling examples of reports from other companies can help guide you in creating your comprehensive end-of-year report. Let’s look at three practical examples of annual reports in recent years.

1. Ethan Allen 2022 Annual Report

The 2022 annual report for Ethan Allen provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s performance and progress in a sophisticated, easy-to-navigate template to keep readers engaged throughout the report. The report contains essential information on the company’s performance for 2022, including income statement data, balance sheet data, key metrics, and liquidity and capital resources. The report ideally balances images, text, and infographics to create an engaging experience.

2. Akita Drilling Ltd. 2022 Annual Report

Akita Drilling’s 2022 annual report is another example of a dynamic, engaging annual report that manages to convey vital information for an experience that is both visually appealing and informative. This annual report maintains a consistent, gentle color palette and incorporates images, text, and infographics to ensure that the report never becomes static. The report goes beyond annual financial information and includes a corporate profile, a letter to shareholders, a management discussion and analysis, and a 10-year financial review.

3. Assured Guaranty 2022 Annual Report

This company’s 2022 annual report offers a visually exciting overview of the 2022 business year for Assured Guaranty. The report is immediately effective by showing the numerous awards and credentials to highlight the company’s authority in the insurance landscape. The report has a calming and engaging color palette, organized layout, and quality images to keep the reader’s attention.

Get Started With Craft Templates

Creating a compelling annual report is an important task that can help a company communicate its performance and progress to stakeholders and investors. Your annual report should have a balance of vital information about your company’s performance balanced by a complementary template and appealing visuals.

A template is one of the most effective ways to create an annual report. No matter what you’re looking for in an annual report template, Craft has the best options to build stunning reports with an organized, comprehensive template that will keep people reading. Check out the numerous templates available through Craft today and start planning your annual report.