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What is an annual report?

An annual report is a comprehensive report on a company’s activities throughout the preceding year. Annual reports are intended to give shareholders and other interested people information about the company’s activities and financial performance. They may be considered as grey literature. Most jurisdictions require companies to prepare and disclose annual reports, and many require the annual report to be filed at the company’s registry. Companies listed on a stock exchange are also required to report at more frequent intervals (depending upon the rules of the stock exchange involved)

Typical annual reports will include:

Other information deemed relevant to stakeholders may be included, such as a report on operations for manufacturing firms or corporate social responsibility reports for companies with environmentally or socially sensitive operations. In the case of larger companies, it is usually a sleek, colorful, high-gloss publication.

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The details provided in the report are of use to investors to understand the company’s financial position and future direction. The financial statements are usually compiled in compliance with IFRS and/or the domestic GAAP, as well as domestic legislation (e.g. theSOX in the U.S.).

In the United States, a more-detailed version of the report, called a Form 10-K, is submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A publicly held company may also issue a much more limited version of an annual report, which is known as a “wrap report.” A wrap report is a Form 10-K with an annual report cover wrapped around it.

What is the best software to create my annual report?

While most of people tend to use MS Word is not such a great choice. The end result look unpolished and let’s face it, a bit out of fashion. You might want to have more flexibility while creating & formatting your tables, text and charts. According my opinion Adobe Indesign is the best tool for any job that involves designing documents more than 6 pages long. Here is why:

Adobe Indesign has Master Pages

So you could quickly make changes to the layout of entire sections, by editing a single Master Page. You have second thoughts on where the page numbering should go? Or the repeated page elements? Change the master pages & the changes will affect all pages of that section.

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It has Paragraph & Character Styles

Character & paragraph styles can help you define the formatting attributes that will be applied to the various text elements of your business plan. If for example you want to change the color or size or font of the titles, simply adjust the appropriate paragraph style and all other titles that share this paragraph style will get updated automatically document wide. Unlike MS Word you also get to use expert & advanced typography features that will make your text more attractive & easier to read.

Global Swatches

You are about to finish and you realize that you don’t really like the blue color you put everywhere? If you properly implemented global swatches in your Indesign document you can change the entire color scheme by simply changing the global swatch!

Table of Contents

Its possible to have your table of contents generated automatically by indesign, and then get easily format it with your paragraph or character styles. So if you make a few changes in the section titles you can then automatically update the table of contents, to match your changes.

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Editable vector charts

You can fully edit vector charts in Indesign, change their colors & shape and place them exactly where you want them to be.

What if I don’t know how to use Indesign?

In this case you can either hire a professional designer, or use a template that includes some or all of these features. Editing a well designed template in Indesign is almost like editing a document in MS Word. You simply type or copy/paste your text and it automatically retain the appearance the designer had intended by inheriting the used paragraph style. Also adding your own images is a matter of drag and dropping them. To do more than that you will need a working knowledge of Indesign. But since you are dealing with a ready made template, you can go by with a very minimal Indesign knowledge. Luckily for you the designer did all the hard work 😉


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This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

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