How To Write an Annual Report
An annual report lists the achievements and failures of an organization. It is a progress report in which every department is accounted for.
What Points Should I Bear in Mind?
The physical appearance of annual reports is crucial. For that reason they are usually prepared professionally. The cover and the first few pages must attract and then maintain the readers' interest. Make the cover attractive and eye-catching; keep the text well spaced and content not too heavy. Begin with some simple facts about the organization and what it does. Use short paragraphs with bold print to emphasize the key points. Include illustrations to attract interest and to break up overbearing columns of figures. When you use photographs of people, record their names. Too many reports give the name of their chairperson but then describe a member of staff as 'an engineer', or whatever. Workers, like chairpersons, have names.
As a general rule, the shorter the report the better the chances of attracting a fringe readership. So make sure you gather relevant data from all parts of your organisation. Obviously every department will wish to emphasize its successes and gloss over (or simply ignore) its failures. For this reason the use of standard questionnaires is recommended. This will provide only the information you require, and it will be in a uniform format and style. Use this as the basis of the main body of the report.
Annual reports usually include a chairperson's statement. Most of these statements are far too long. Tactfully explain that all that is required is a resume and critical analysis of the past year's work, and an assessment of prospects. This section should pass logically from topic to topic. It should be informative, businesslike and balanced. It should also be concise - no more than 1,000 words (less if possible).
What Would be a Suitable Format?
This depends on the nature of the organisation and the readership. Here is one possible format: