With the reporting season just around the corner, it’s vital that you not only report on the performance of the company over the past year to shareholders and investors, but that this also makes sense to them. After studying a series of annual reports, I’m appalled at how some companies merely repeat the various sections of the financial reports verbatim in the message from the chairman or CEO.
Some companies do not bother to explain financial jargon and, instead, appear to go to great lengths to bamboozle shareholders with wordy sentences that simply don’t make sense.
Whether you are writing a annual report or any other kind of message to shareholders, investors or customers, it’s vital that you serve your reader. YOU might understand what you’re writing about, but if your reader doesn’t, then you’ve wasted everyone’s time. This inspired my article in the March issue of Charter magazine (the magazine of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia).
By the time you’ve reached a certain level in the profession, writing reports (indeed any form of business communication) becomes an activity you can practically do in your sleep. It’s just a matter of following the right format, ensuring you’re including all the required information and making sure it’s accurate. All in a day’s work, right?
Well, yes. And no. After all, we can all write, but there’s a difference between writ- ing that ticks all the boxes and writing that’s clear, concise, and easy to understand. As accountants, we’re not just number crunchers, we’re communicators – of advice, opinions and financial data that sometimes has a profound impact on people’s lives. So what does it take to author a quality report?
You can access a pdf of the full article by clicking on the image below.