Financial reporting doesn’t have to be dull.
Why should annual report design be boring? Financial report production has changed significantly over the years. However, simpler formats and digital distribution systems do not mean you must sacrifice design or readability. Both digital and printed versions of annual and quarterly reports can look just as professional as the rest of your corporate materials.
Involving a designer in your annual report production is an investment in your brand. A polished design elevates the credibility of your organization along with the look of your financial materials.
We have collaborated with Canadian organizations and with companies around the world to develop financial reports. Online communication and proofing methods mean that we can manage almost all of the process online. In addition to producing annual and quarterly reports, we provide additional support such as designing custom maps, charts and infographics, polishing Powerpoint presentations, and developing corporate social responsibility reports.
What’s the process?
To understand what’s happened over the past year and where your organization is headed, stakeholders need clear analysis along with a financial summary. If you haven’t worked with a communications consultant before, developing an annual report involves certain steps.
Step 1 – Gather content
Your team knows your story best. so naturally the basis for content and numbers come from you. Text should be simple and direct, encouraging stakeholders to understand, trust and invest in your organization. Most annual reports contain management’s discussion of activities and accomplishments, along with financial results and analysis.
Not sure where to begin? Start with a point-form list of major events and accomplishments for the last year. Next, expand each point into full sentences or paragraphs. Note areas where explanation or reassurance is needed, then develop your ideas further. If writing isn’t your strong point, don’t worry about getting the text perfect! Once you have a draft ready, we can work with you to smooth the words as part of our editing and proofreading process.
Once you have collected any images or visual materials that might be useful, we’ll explain how you can transfer materials to us digitally.
Step 2 – Factor in design
Now the fun begins, as we develop a design for your report, including consistent styles and colours for the presentation of tables, charts and graphics. A review of competitor materials is a good idea, as we want the finished report to be comparable. We’ll also ask questions about any design concepts you might have in mind before presenting you with ideas for the look and style of your report. Have existing branding and colours? Just provide them, and we will create a style that complements what you already have.
Custom elements such as maps add to your report, giving stakeholders insight into the details of your operation. Infographics are becoming increasingly popular in reporting, as they make it easy to take in complex information at a glance.
If budget is a concern, we can make suggestions on designs that will be less expensive to produce. For instance, pages with elements that extend to the edge of the printed page will cost more to print.
Step 3 – Typesetting
After the design elements have been established, the next step is to typeset your text and numbers and supply you with PDF proofs of your report. The speed of this stage will depend on the materials you provided in Step 1. Most clients go through several rounds of proofing and adjustment, as we finalize design details, adjust your copy to reflect the exact tone you want to convey, and review the numbers for accuracy.
Since review and comments can be done online, we are able to work with clients across the country and around the world. If you have a preferred local printing company, we can contact the print rep with project specifications so that you can receive an accurate quote.
Step 4 – Production
Once you sign off on the final proof, the final step in our process is to supply files to your printer, along with high-res PDF versions for distribution.
If you want to post materials from your report online, just ask! We supply digital versions of financials, maps and other custom graphics for use on your website.
Connect with us about your project.
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