50 ways to make your annual report effective
Exellent - good - ...

Give your own answer and try to rate yourself on 50 questions.
  1. Is the front cover or annual report homepage really used as a communication vehicle and/or theme driver?
  2. Are all covers optimally used -inside and outside?
  3. Is the report not too long and heavy to carry and/or print out? Is it downloadable in full and in parts?
  4. How (far) does the report reflect the company identity and brands?
  5. Is the company profiled in the very first pages? Is there a mission statement?
  6. Are key figures or financial highlights displayed directly, relevant, compared (and comparable)?
  7. Are key share indicators (earnings, dividend...) made quickly accessible?
  8. Are year events, salient facts and major products summed up?
  9. Do(es) the Chairman/CEO message(s) state the course of action?
  10. In what style is the Chairman/CEO put? Is it inviting, pictured, supported?
  11. Is there a quick snapshot of business/geographic segments?
  12. Is the business model defined? Is value added/created reported?
  13. Is there a thread/route sustained throughout the whole report?
  14. Does the report make an appealing read? Which reading facilities are used?
  15. Is the information flow (in print and online) sequenced logically and structured optimally?
  16. Are visual elements (photos in print, videos online) used to animate/depict?
  17. Are past objectives compared with last year achievements (also in figures)?
  18. Is the strategic direction/outlook made clear? Are future targets set –also in figures?
  19. How many charts are used? Over which time spans? Are chart-building facilities provided on the website?
  20. Are there key performance indicators and metrics? Expressed as ratios? Compared/comparable over years?
  21. How is the review of operations, businesses and markets structured?
  22. How many segments or areas are reported?
  23. Any references to industry positions, market shares, competitors, statistics?
  24. Is the financial review/management discussion written in plain language, accessible, supported?
  25. Is performance and contribution analysis clear, thorough and consistent?
  26. Is geographical segmentation broken down deeply?
  27. Is financial condition, liquidity and cash flow analysis earnestly addressed?
  28. Are medium-term performance, historical and growth figures provided?
  29. How many ratios are featured among historical data?
  30. How far are risk management and financial control covered?
  31. How many risk and influencing factors are listed? Is mitigation explained?
  32. Where and how are financial statements displayed? Are they summarized?
  33. Is there a table of contents/index for statements and notes?
  34. Are accounting principles and policies fairly and intelligibly explained?
  35. Are restatements, reconciliations, exceptional items made transparent?
  36. How many notes to statements? Are they sufficiently clear and detailed?
  37. Are board and executives portrayed? Are background details provided?
  38. Are corporate governance principles and implementation made transparent?
  39. Does committees' work, memberships, reports, attendance appear?
  40. Are executive compensation principles and policies explained in the report?
  41. Are board and management remuneration and ownership figures disclosed?
  42. Is there a stakeholder/responsibility/sustainability chapter, integration, special report?
  43. Is the number of employees highlighted? Are human resource matters covered?
  44. Are environmental and energy impact addressed?
  45. Are operating and responsibility measures checked for the past and are targets set for the future?
  46. Is a shareholder section available? Are investor contacts listed in?
  47. Which share-related fundamentals are reported?
  48. Are share ownership and shareholder control and breakdown shown?
  49. Is share price figured, charted, compared -over a time span?
  50. Are readers' facilities provided (e.g. index, glossary, search, tabs, flaps, marks)?

This checklist has been prepared by report analysts, relates to annual report content (mainly for listed companies) and not to broader investor relations and corporate communication issues, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

Would you like to improve your annuals and reach best practice level?

A question about one or more of the above reporting criteria? Or more questions?
Some doubt about the best way to use (almost) each and every report item?
Any help to make better content and greater communication content in your annuals?
Just drop us an e-mail at We will be pleased to be of service.

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Useful links

Best annual reports

Annual Report on Annual Reports 2018

Report pick

December 2017: Phoenix Mecano
Phoenix Mecano
Stein am Rhein, Switzerland « View our previous picks

Financial sector annual reports

Evaluation - Competition

Annual reports from the financial sector are no longer selected for the Annual Report on Annual Reports competition for consistency, comparability and credibility reasons. That does not imply that there are not (sometimes very) good and improved reports in the sector. On a customized basis, keeps on evaluating and benchmarking financial sector reports.

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The report scan

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Mike 4 faces's co-founder and ReportWatch kingpin Mike Guillaume wears a few hats, including financial reporting specialist and international economist, and has therefore good vantage points for monitoring companies, reports and management; as well as for watching economies and economics work (or not). Learn more about Mike's experience and expertise here. Read about Mike's work and views, including his recent book "The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism", on