An annual report is a report that shows your company's activities for the preceding year. It's an opportunity to communicate your progress to investors, a business report card, if you will. Although it should be thorough for it to be useful, it should also be concise. The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that all publicly traded companies produce an annual report, (sometimes referred to as a 10-K) within 60 days after the end of the fiscal year. Privately held companies are not required to release such information although they may voluntarily choose to do so.
Start with a summary of your company's history. Current investors may know the history of your company, but potential investors who read your Annual Report may not and this information is helpful for them to get to know you. It shouldn't be longer than a page and should provide a summary of how your company started, what its primary business goals are and any prior major accomplishments not covered in the current report period.
Tell investors who your company's leadership is. Include high level staff, such as the President, CEO, Vice Presidents, Chairman of the Board and Board of Directors' members. For example, as an investor, you want to know who is at the helm and their background and qualifications. If you're investing in the International Operations sector of a company, you want to know that a strategist with 15 years of international trade experience is managing your investment. Knowing who is running the show is another way to assess the stability of a company as well as determine if you will continue your investment or end the investment relationship.
Discuss your company's operations over the preceding year. Cover programs or projects in terms of actions and results, not numbers or financial statistics; these will be discussed later. you can cover impact statistics (such as reaching two new demographics in your market, increasing our market share by 30 percent). This section should discuss only high level operations that investors are interested in or areas where they have invested.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates the communication by companies to investors. Although there are variations in content, your company must include a balance sheet, an audit report (from an external auditor), an income statement and a general report on company operations (as discussed in the previous section). Your Chief Financial Officer or Finance Executive provides these financial documents.
Where appropriate, include a section where you acknowledge the investors that supported you during the preceding year. This is a nice way to say thank you as well as integrating some marketing incentives for future investors who might want to be included in next year's report.