How to Write an Annual Report

How to Write an Annual Report. An annual report is a record of a company's financial performance and operations for the year. Publicly traded companies produce annual reports to tell shareholders, prospective investors, customers and others what happened.

Know that the 10-K annual report that public companies file with the Securities and Exchange Commission is different from the less formal - and glossier - annual report mailed to shareholders.

Break the report into five sections: financial summary; letter to shareholders; company operations and significant developments; financial statement and tables; and information about officers and directors.

Write the financial summary. This narrative generally covers revenue, net income and earnings per share data. Typically it includes three years' worth of data.

Include the letter to shareholders. Here, the chief executive officer or chairman makes a formal statement about company performance.

Compose a series of articles about operations and significant developments. You might discuss changes in production, new products, entry into new markets, mergers and acquisitions, research and development, changes in marketing and sales, and other news. Many companies include color photos.

Write the financial statement. This section consists largely of tables showing revenue, expenses and earnings data in detail. This is the heart of the report, though it usually appears at the rear of the publication.

Include summary information about officers and directors. Photos usually accompany this section.

Ask company attorneys and accountants to review the document to ensure accuracy and regulatory compliance.


  • Consider hiring an expert to help write your first annual report.

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