Annual reports are often viewed by their traditional function – a mandatory requirement for listed companies to outline developments over the past year. To provide details of the company’s board and management team, its corporate governance and audited financial statements – all the essential information of interest to shareholders and other key stakeholders.
But many smaller businesses also have some form of annual communications document. It can be on whatever scale you want it to be. And you don’t necessarily need to call it an annual report (although we will do so for the sake of this article). You might call it an annual review, activity report or yearly summary for example. In any case it provides a huge marketing opportunity.
For clients or investors
The most important thing is that your annual report should tell a story. Your B2B clients or B2C customers don’t buy your product your service – they into you as a company or brand. So your annual report is a great opportunity to provide your clients, prospects or potential investors an insight into what drives you as a business. To understand your achievements, goals and social values. To learn about your unique value proposition – it may be areas of knowledge that are hard to emulate, aspects of your product or service that differentiate you from anyone else, or ways that you can reduce client costs through your own efficient operations.
Your annual report is a great opportunity to help suppliers understand what you expect from them. The quality, health, safety and environmental standards that you live by and expect. The employee policies that are important to you and which you expect your suppliers to also reflect. Whether you have a preference, for example, to source local products or services so you can reduce your carbon footprint or support your local economy. Or the reward systems you may have in place for high-performing suppliers.
Your annual report is a motivational tool for employees. A channel to communicate the company’s achievements and their essential contribution. It also gives you an opportunity and to communicate to employees future company goals and the role they play in making them happen.
Financials and governance
While there’s no obligation if you’re not listed, if you have audited accounts and can demonstrate healthy financial performance, publishing financial figures for your stakeholders within your annual report will make a huge impactful difference. A set of financial figures will give clients the assurance that you are a low-risk proposition, and investors the knowledge that you’re well-managed and a sustainable as a company. Employees will feel they have job security and suppliers will be assured they’ll be paid. It might be a very summarised version of what’s required by a listed company, but some sort of financial summary should be included if at all possible. The same applies to demonstrating positive governance through your management structure. This could be as straightforward as a one-page narrative, but will pay dividends in stakeholder confidence.
In a later article, we will discuss further how you can put all these elements into a defined structure. Keep following our blog page.
To find out more about how THE BLACK AND WHITE GROUP can help you write and design your annual reports, contact us on +971-50-4575469, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website – https://www.weareblackandwhite.com/.