The why, what, when and how of an annual report

Surveys shows that 80% of investors, portfolio managers and analysts are in no doubt – the annual report is the single most important publication for a company. As well as being necessary to meet the obligations of a publicly listed company, both the annual and ESG report are important elements of a brand’s transparency and accountability.

The purpose of reporting – a reason to trust

The annual report is about connecting, giving your stakeholders a chance to trust and like your company. You do so by making it easy to find and read relevant facts. Making facts compelling is not about obscuring the truth, it is about good storytelling and visuals. You want the readers feel good about your company regardless of financial results.

The use of a annual report can be beneficial to a wide variety of stakeholders. Investors can use the report to find out what a company did and why. By connecting activities and accomplishments to the final goals and mission statement, businesses can build trust and foster long-lasting connections. 

The annual report is about connecting, giving your stakeholders a chance to trust and like your company.

As well as setting out information on the company’s financial position, an annual report provides an opportunity to highlight a company’s key recent achievements, expectations for the coming year and overall goals and objectives. However, a well crafted report does not just look back on events – it is also an opportunity to describe the company's strategy for growth in the coming year.

ESG (Environmental, social, and corporate governance) or sustainability reports are just as significant a piece of collateral. ESG and how companies are managing the process to reduce risk is now an imperative and not a ‘nice to do’. Ensuring that the right message is conveyed in the ESG report – and is fully aligned - is as important as the annual report itself. We also recommend that you consider to having the ESG report integrated into the annual report.

How’s your annual report?

At Minnesota, we have spent years creating compelling annual and ESG reports for our clients. We understand what works – and what does not. With an objective eye, take a look at your latest annual report: 

  • Does it invite the reader to open it up?
  • Does it tell the story you would like readers to remember?
  • Will the reader feel proud of an investment in the company and its activities?

If you’ve said no more than yes, chances are that your report states facts – less than telling a compelling story that uses a ‘red thread’ to successfully invite the reader to engage and care.

The Minnesota way

One of the most difficult parts about writing an annual report is deciding what to include and what to leave out. As part of the narrative strategy, we can help you map out the content and the structure of the report. We use clear, precise and unambiguous writing, complemented with a visual design to enhance the theme of the report.

We take a holistic approach to a report’s creation.

The content of the annual report should be transparent and honest – that doesn’t inflate accomplishments or disguise the challenges faced by your company. We will allways maintain a professional and unbiased position when working with a report.

Ideally, readers should be able to scan through the report and easely get the key information they need, and important information you want them to remember, or read more about. A longer read will further the narrative by way of simple clear messaging.

Through our years of experience, we can make sure your report conveys the correct messaging and brand values. We take a holistic approach to a report’s creation and always consider:

  • Powerful visual design and well-written words – to appeal to all stakeholders
  • The arrative strategy and the best way to collate the necessary information – and determine what should or should not be included
  • Interviews to undertake that add to the story  – which could include employees, partners and customers 
  • Accentuating key areas of the business or successes with colored text boxes, pullout quotes and captions
  • How to devote the right space to photographs, infographics and other compelling visual elements – pictures do tell a thousand words
  • Making good use of headings and subheadings, providing simple signposts for easy navigation
  • How to create a report optimized for the web

And if you want a partner that can help you create a unique and impactful report, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Get in touch

Bjørn has worked on shareholder-related activities for both listed and unlisted companies for over 30 years, particularly in collaboration with leading financial institutions and law firms.

Bjørn Villard
Tel.: +47 900 30 245