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Don't Dread the Annual Report Season, Here's Why

By Zachary Houle on Apr 21, 2017 9:16:42 AM

It’s time to sit down and write or design your annual report, but, truth be told, butterflies are fluttering around in your stomach as you contemplate this task. 

This is something you don’t look forward to every year, and a sort of anxiety is gnawing at your gut before you even get started. What is there to do? Thankfully, you can chase those butterflies away by reflecting on what you’re out to accomplish and really plan for it, to name a few things.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through why you might want to get a little more excited about that yearly “chore” that you’re tasked with doing. It should help put you breathe easier about being tasked with that annual report.


1. Annual Reports Offer a Good Chance to Reflect

If you’re by any stretch passionate about your job and your organization, an annual report gives you a good opportunity to look back on the past year and think about all that you’ve accomplished. You can see how far your business or organization has come, and you’ll get an opportunity to tell your story to stakeholders.


You don’t just have to tell the success stories and present a whole bunch of numbers, either. An annual report is a good spot for a mission statement, if you don’t already have one, and perhaps even a brief history on how your group came to be. You can really get creative with your annual report, too. Think up daring new ways to present information in your annual report, and then go out and do it!


2. You Can Change the Annual Report’s Format

Another thing you can do to prevent dread from creeping into your gut about producing an annual report is, again, to get creative about it. You’re not just bound to producing a staid, print version. Quite a few reports are now making it online, and the online world is a chance to break from the mould and do something entirely different. For instance, you can present your annual report as an infographic. You can also produce a video or series of videos in place of your annual report, so long as it meets your legal obligations. You can get funky with charts and graphs that do different things when you click on them.


Therefore, you shouldn’t be bound by old-fashioned ways of thinking. You can now do a lot with an annual report, so don’t hold yourself back. Maybe this is the year that you shake things up a little and try something entirely new. That should make you feel passionate about this year’s report, and give you a great deal of leeway to do something outside of the box.


3. You Can Allay Your Fears With Good Planning

If you’re still nervous about producing your company or association’s annual report, it could be that you just feel unprepared for it. However, if you actually start making plans on how you’re going to produce the report, a couple of things will happen. First, you’ll feel more in control. Secondly, you’ll discover that things might come together a little easier than you thought they would.


Start by figuring out your audience and what your budget is. Then you can write a design brief, which is essentially a blueprint of the report with your goals and expectations embedded within it. Share that document with your designer or design team, a writer, and a developer. Then, figure out who is actually going to provide the information you need, who is going to make decisions and who will be collecting and giving feedback.


As you can probably determine, one you start laying out your expectations for the report, things will gradually come together and you’ll probably start feeling much more relaxed about the whole process.


Do You Still Need a Hand?

If, after reading all of this, you’re still sweating bullets about pulling together your annual report, Cyan Solutions can help. We’ve worked with other organizations designing and writing reports, so we can assist you with all of your annual report needs.

Be sure to reach out to us today, and let your mind feel more at ease.

 

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Topics: Annual Reports, Graphic Design

Zachary Houle

Zachary Houle

Zachary Houle is a resident of Ottawa, Ontario, where he blogs for a number of clients. As a sometimes writer of fiction, as well, he is the recipient of a $4,000 arts grant from the City of Ottawa for emerging artists and a Pushcart Prize nominee. His fiction and poetry has been published in countless online and print literary journals and magazines in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He enjoys blogging about books on Medium.com, and was recently named one of the Top 50 writers on the topic of books on Medium.