26 Jun 2014by Georgie Cousens

When’s the right time to plan your Annual Report?

When’s the right time to plan your Annual Report?

You will probably have similar looking pages in your Annual Report

Well the answer is NOW. As soon as your last annual report  has gone out, start thinking about what to do with next year’s report. I know you probably would rather have a party to celebrate that the pain is over, but it’s good to give yourself a bit of a ‘debrief’. Why? Because it’s fresh in your mind. You don’t want to forget what happened  this year. Make notes of the mistakes, the heartaches and the things that worked, so next year it may be a teeny bit easy to put together.

An annual report is a big endeavor. It involves coordinating different departments (and personalities) to make sure they complete their tasks on time. More often than not you will also need to scramble when someone drags the chain and you need to get that last piece into the report (which you’ve allocated 3 pages for and it turns out you need 15). So based on what you learned this year, spend 30 minutes to an hour and review and measure.

Planning your next annual report

KPI’s to record based on this year’s report could be:

  • When did you start and finish the report?
  • Were their certain departments that were easier or more difficult to deal with?
  • How much time did you allocate for edits? Was it enough?
  • Did you have to start the report from scratch? Or did you use  las year’s template?
  • Did you do it all yourself, or were there other people involved in collating it?
  • How difficult was it to motivate people to write their sections?
  • Did you have an ‘editor’ to make it sound consistent? Or was that your role?
  • What would you change if you could?
  • Were their niggly things that slowed you down  that could be planned for next year?
  • Could you dedicate sufficient blocks of time to it, or did you have to squeeze it around other tasks?
  • How many late nights did you have to pull to get it finished on time?
  • Did you get it finished by the deadline?
  • Did you allow enough ‘wiggle room’?
  • Did you outsource any of the tasks (layout, writing etc)?
  • Could you outsource some or all of it next time?
  • What worked really well? Did you delegate some tasks? Did you give people long or short deadlines.
  • Was there anything out of the ordinary that happened that was either good or bad?
  • What was the feedback on the report, ant suggestions for improvement/criticisms or particular items that generated a lot of comments?

Once you’ve thought about what worked and what didn’t work,  especially if things didn’t go according to plan, draft your plan for next year. Do you need to start putting the call out two months earlier than you did this year? Do you need to allow more time to get the report back from the printers? Do you need to outsource the design?

Lets talk about the last point – outsourcing. Annual reports take up a big chunk of time (which of course you know) and it may be a better option  for you to send your report to us. We’ll deal with the pain and heartache and then send it back to you looking very spiffy and professional!

We do WOW.  We can do more than just make a printed version too – iPad app anyone? We can create both a printed and digital versions so that any audience can access the material.

Go through the questions above, figure out if you’d be best served by either changing how you create your annual report or deciding if sending it to us is a more efficient option.

If you have any questions on how we work when it comes to annual reports (or any design material) please call us and we can set you straight.

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