What Is an Annual Report?

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Visual presentations of production and trends improve readibility.
Visual presentations of production and trends improve readibility. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Balazs Gal)

Companies inform board members, employees, shareholders and associates of financial performance, achievements, shortfalls and projections through their annual reports. These documents contribute to sound investment and marketing decisions.

Abstract

A concise summary of key points captures a quick review of the detailed report and appears before the contents page.

Messages

The Chairman or Chief Executive Officer usually provides an overview of the company's performance during the reporting year, including goals achieved and left unmet. Plans and goals for the future indicate the company's direction for the following year and beyond.

Highlights

Highlights include key financial inputs and outputs, an auditor's report, production statistics, stock price and employment data.

Body

An annual report contains key headings written in the style, layout and structure of the particular organization or company. Production results and projections, financial details and human resources developments are important sections.

Graphic Design

Professional artwork, compelling company photographs and high-quality paper project an image of confidence in the performance and future of the company or organization.

Appendix

The appendix contains such items as detailed spreadsheets and letters of confidence.

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