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Annual Reports

Here's Where We Stand

Annual reports are comprehensive findings that indicate the health and position of an organization. Every organization will have its own 'style and substance' ideas of what goes into their respective annual reports.

There are, however, a few common elements present in most annual reports. These include a message from the Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) or president of the organization, a message from the chairperson, financial statements, auditor reports, accounting policies, mission statements, the organization's objectives, and forecasts for growth.

Annual reports are usually distributed to every shareholder and employee of the organization — depending on the organization's size and location — and in one or more languages depending on where the organization is operating in. Sustainability is a critical issue in creating printed annual reports. An organization that espouses the values of going green will find creating an annual report from environmentally friendly material a great opportunity to showcase this commitment. Such material used to be of average quality. Not any more.

It is easy today to create a highly professional-looking document entirely out of recycled paper and vegetable inks. Of course there is always the digital solution.

With the advent of easy-to-use web technologies, annual reports are delivered as electronic documents, often with a wide range of navigation tools and multimedia to create a richer experience. Whatever the design and distribution considerations, the annual report is the organization's speech to its publics. Everything, from the tone of voice to the diction, from paragraph lengths to the typography, must be carefully considered and appropriately presented.

An annual report is a formal document. The content must be presented in an engaging, informative manner that gets readers to comprehend and appreciate the information contained within the report.

After all, the annual report is the voice of the entire organization. This voice must be regarded with respect and clarity.