Most businesses usually compile a year-end report to describe their operations and financial conditions which they provide to their shareholders. Generally, this contains numbers that make the document boring to read. You owe it to the shareholders to provide them the information about the company by presenting them with a report that is well-designed and interesting. Using an annual report template allows you to make it look good while presenting its contents clearly.

Annual Report Templates

What is an annual report template?

An annual report template is a document that public corporations should provide their shareholders to explain their financial conditions and operations. The annual report design must reflect professionalism. Since the front page of the report is the first thing shareholders see, the design should impress.

It should contain a notable combination of photos, graphics, and text that chronicles the activities of the company over the previous year. The back portion of finance report templates may also contain detailed operational and financial information.

Annual Report Designs

When do you need an annual report template?

An annual report is a formal financial statement published every year then given to all interested parties. The annual report layout offers an assessment of the past year’s operations, its financial condition, the company’s view of the upcoming years, and its prospects. Its publication is also a requirement of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for businesses owned by the public since the year 1934.

Some companies only provide very little information with their reports composed only of a couple of pages and created in an economical way. For such companies, the main purpose of the report submitted to the SEC is to comply with legal requirements.

Finance Report Templates

What should be included in an annual report?

The annual report template became a regular part of corporate financial reporting after the stock market crashed in 1929. The main purpose of requiring the publication of the annual report is to provide disclosure of the corporate activities of a company for the previous year to the public.

Shareholders of the company receive the annual report which they can use to evaluate the company’s financial performance. A typical annual report layout contains the following parts:

  • Accounting policies
  • Auditor’s report
  • Discussion and analysis of the management
  • Financial and operating highlights
  • Financial statements
  • General corporate information
  • Letter from the CEO to the shareholders
  • Narrative text, photos, and graphics
  • Summary of the company’s financial data

Using annual finance report templates give the shareholders and other interested parties the chance to analyze the company comprehensively. The annual report should contain information on the company’s financial position to measure:

  • The ability of the company to pay debts on time.
  • Whether the company experienced losses or made profits in the last fiscal year.
  • The growth of the company’s over a specific number of years.
  • The amount of earnings the company retains to grow or expand operations.
  • The ratio of the company’s operational expenses to the revenue generated.

Another use of the annual report is to determine whether the contained information is in compliance with the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This verification gets highlighted in the report section of the auditor as an “unqualified opinion.” The details provided by the annual report can go to fundamental analysts so they can try to understand the future direction of the company.

Annual Report Covers

Target audiences for your annual report template

The primary target audiences of the report are the current shareholders and potential investors. But these aren’t the only ones. Here are the other target audiences to keep in mind when making your annual report layout:

  • Employees
    There are several purposes why an annual report is important to employees including:
    It provides management with the chance to acknowledge employee innovation, teamwork, commitment, and quality. All these qualities are critical parts of the overall success of a business.
    The annual report can serve as an instrument to relate company successes that have an effect on the work force. The success of an initiative or project profiled in an annual report can give encouragement to the employees as they are partly responsible for this success.
    The report may help increase the understanding of an employee about the various parts of the company.
    The annual report can serve as a source of learning about each of the product lines of the company and who’s responsible for the different operations. The report shows the employees their roles in the bigger scheme of things.
  • Customers
    Ideally, customers would choose to work only with quality suppliers of merchandise and services. This is what the annual report can do to accomplish this goal:
    The annual report may help the company promote its brand to its customers by highlighting its core values and corporate objectives.
    In the report, the company can describe its initiatives meant to improve its manufacturing processes, promote product quality, and more. It can also enhance its offered services to illustrate customer orientation.
  • Community
    Like any other business enterprise, a company pays a great deal of attention to its reputation in the communities where it runs its business. Such a reputation as a corporate citizen has a major effect on bottom-line financial performance. Therefore, annual reports can serve as a valuable instrument in elevating the public image of the company.
    Many of the annual reports contain information about community initiatives the company has undertaken. The main goal is to portray the company as a proactive member of its community.

Annual Report Layouts

How do you create an annual report?

Before creating your own annual report template look for examples from companies similar to yours. Then you can figure out what the audience would enjoy.

For instance, younger audiences would love reports presented digitally while the older generation might opt for a more traditional written document. Here are some tips you may want to consider on your way to creating an excellent annual report layout:

  • Focus on the activities and accomplishments of your company
    Try to connect the daily activities of your company to its mission statement. Don’t assume that your readers will immediately understand how your activities helped in achieving your mission. Patiently connect the dots for your readers.
  • Don’t talk too much about internal affairs
    There are certain factors that you think are big accomplishments. True, you may have a high-speed internet connection in your office together with software that does wonders for your work.
    But do they even contribute to your mission statement? Inspire your reader with accomplishments that contribute to your company’s mission in the annual report. As for those administrative items, you can include those in your report to the board.
  • Try not to brag
    Your readers expect you to raise money and fundraising events are a way to accomplish this. However, you shouldn’t give your fundraising achievements the same level of attention as your results that are mission-related. Readers are more interested to know how you used the money rather than your methods of acquiring it.
    You can include information on the successes of your fundraising efforts in the annual report. It’s still appropriate but this information is best placed in the financial section of the report.
  • Include high-quality and relevant photos
    Keep in mind that many of those who read the annual report won’t actually read it. Photos that show you helping other people are better compared to photos of board members, CEOs, and other such individuals. The readers still expect your company’s story and you can tell it better by using great photos.
  • Include personal profiles
    People love inspiring stories that focus on real people. Giving too many generalized summaries of your work can put your readers to sleep. You need something that will keep their eyes open. For instance, first explain everything that you’ve accomplished, then humanize the statistics with personal profiles. Emphasize how your work helped a specific individual or you can share a volunteer’s story of how they contributed positively to the community.
  • Explain financial information
    This may sound sad but true, that many readers don’t know how to properly read financial statements or just don’t take time to read everything. In one or two paragraphs, you can what the tables in the financial statement mean using simple English. If you can apply this information into an infographic, the better. In fact, the mere act of creating an infographic pushes you to make things simpler, thus, making them easy for anyone to understand. Such explanations about numerical data can attract the interest of readers.
    Where can I find a company’s annual report?

As a recap, a company’s annual report template talks about the company’s operations and financial performance during the previous year. This document also provides information regarding the plans for the company’s direction in the future. Corporations that are publicly held must publish their annual reports which are given to investors and other interested parties at the end of the year.

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Tagged:Annual ReportsBusinessDesignFinanceReport
TemplateLab April 29th, 2021