39+ Sample Annual Reports

What is an Annual Report?

An annual report is a well-detailed document that demonstrates the significant activities and performance made of a specific company or organization throughout the preceding year. This is a fundamental report which outlines the activities, projects and other events achieved in the past year. Also, it is an effective tool in determining the growth and development rate of a business firm or organization, and in developing proper investment decisions.

According to a statistical study, small business owners who are self-employed by their own incorporated businesses made a median income of $50,347 in 2016. Thus, all types of business executives, managers, project leaders, medical executives, and other  professionals who manage enterprises and corporate groups must record their achievements through an effective annual report for their work and other business projects. By doing this, it will highlight the responsibility, clarity, and credibility of their work.

Different Types of Annual Report

Simon Mort, the author of the book Professional Report Writing, stated that written communication calls for a more deliberate, economical approach compared to the spoken form. That’s why he emphasized that it’s essential at the outset to identify the characteristics that distinguish written communication like annual report writing from other modes of communication. In this section, you will learn and understand about the different types of annual reports because your style and method of writing is determined by the type of annual report you are developing. To assist you in this matter, we will introduce and explain to you about the different types of annual reports below:

1. Annual Accomplishment Report

Do you need to observe and analyze the accomplishments of your project or business in one year? An annual accomplishment report is a beneficial write-up that provides a clear and concise summary of outstanding accomplishments of a company or organization for the year. It consists of significant information about several project or work accomplishments.  Several kinds of annual accomplishment reports are annual business growth accomplishment reports, annual scientific accomplishment reports, annual school accomplishment reports, and many others.

2. Annual General Meeting Report

The directors and executives of a company or organization typically use this type of annual report during a yearly gathering of a company along with the interested shareholders. An annual general meeting report is composed of vital information for shareholders concerning the latest performance and strategy of the company, as well as the vision of the company’s directors and executives regarding the future of the business.  It is highly recommended that companies and corporate groups should hold annual general meetings for the transparency and accountability of the management. 

3. Project Annual Status Report

Are you working on a particular project that takes up 2-3 years to complete? To effectively keep track of the growth and development of your project on a yearly basis, we suggest that you write a project annual status report. This keeps stakeholders of the project to be aware of crucial factors of the project condition including the scope, issues, schedule, resources, cost, and many more. Plus, it allows the management of the company to take proper measures and actions to resolve project issues and risks.

4. Academic Program Annual Report

Are you a supervisor, head teacher, or school principal? If you are working in the management office of an academy, university, or any educational institution in your community, it is essential that you construct an annual report for your academic programs. Some main types of academic programs are certificate programs, undergraduate programs, graduate programs, and masters programs. Academic programs should have an assessment every year to focus on the content and effectiveness of the program to the students enrolled in a specific academic program.

5. Magazine Annual Report

Reader’s Digest, Southern Living, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Vogue, Good Housekeeping, The New Yorker, Time, People, High CutCeci, L’Officiel, and many others are some of the popular magazine brands across the world.  Commonly used by editors, trend researchers, lifestyle publishing houses and other kinds of writers, this annual report is advantageous in documenting the accomplishments of the magazine company for a year and highlighting the major trending factors that happened in that year. 

6. Annual Performance Appraisal Report

Jack Welch said: “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.” It is important to include a narrative description of the major contributions and accomplishments, along with the failed performance expectations of the employees in the year. Conducting an effective assessment will help you to create an annual performance appraisal report. 

Benefits of Writing an Annual Report

What kind of business or project goals and objectives do you want to accomplish? What are the specific areas in your company or project that need to be assessed? You will know the answers in these questions when you write a well-detailed annual report for your work.  So, what are the notable benefits of writing a comprehensive annual report? Below are some of the primary benefits of writing an annual report:

1. Record Yearly Growth and Development Rates

If you are a person who currently owns and manages a small enterprise, or someone working in the accounting firm or management of a corporation, then writing an annual report is very important to record yearly growth and development rates. This will help you, the management, directors, executives, project leaders, and shareholders to aim on the current status of the business or the company that you’re working for, as well as observing the potential progress that it can take towards better development. 

2. Identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

The book The SWOT Analysis: A Key Tool For Developing Your Business Strategy explains that reinforcing strengths and fixing some weaknesses inside the business firm or organization is important to enhance the progression and competitive position. On the other hand, identifying the opportunities can positively influence the business or project, and threats can be better anticipated and their effect on the performance may be reduced. By using an annual report, you will determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your business or project. Knowing and understanding about these factors may help you and the business to use effective strategies and techniques applicable for the better advancement of the business or project. 

3. Focus on Work Credibility and Enhance Good Reputation

In order to focus on the consistency and productivity in your business or project, it is crucial that you write an annual report. This will help you to prove the worth and credibility of achieving the tasks, activities, and other aspects in the business or project. So, feature the work credibility in achieving the fundamental tasks and activities through writing a simple annual report. With this, it will highlight the credibility and enhance the good reputation of your business or work, plus you can acquire wonderful rewards as well. 

Basic Elements of an Annual Report

In this section, you will learn how to construct a remarkably written and well-detailed annual report. However, an annual report has different features. Include the following elements for you to create an excellent document:

Title or Theme: One of the major elements of an annual report is the title or theme. It is an enticing line of the document which shows the main topic, or subject of the annual report, as well as to invite the readers like shareholders and investors efficiently. It is usually set in a size larger than other remaining text elements in the page.Executive Summary: This part is the central section of the content of your annual report.It provides a simple summary about the activities and tasks that are achieved in a specific project, work, program, or business. Being the compelling part of the report, it shows the overall growth and performance of the completed works, plus a brief description of the finished tasks throughout the year. Another aspect to incorporate in this section is the significance, implications and other contributions that the completed tasks will execute.Definite Goals and Objectives:What are the definite goals established by the person, company, agency, or organization? How are these goals reached throughout the year? This is a primary part of the annual report as it provides valuable information concerning the specific goals and objectives of the directors, executives, managers, and project leaders assigned to the company or organization. Financial Statements: Include the income statement, the balance sheet, statement of cash flows, and statement of changes in the equity of the stockholder of the company or organization throughout the year. The management should be reliable and credible in terms of verifying and updating the people about the current financial health of the company or organization. Brevity and Accuracy: Point out the integral pieces of information. Try your best writing your annual report concisely and accurately by applying both short words and short sentences. While writing the significant achievements and milestones of the company or organization throughout the year in the annual report, keep it as brief and specific as possible. Eliminate the use of ambiguous words that are unnecessary to your annual report. We suggest that you detail the specific achievements and milestones that need to be featured so that you are able to showcase the strategy behind the actions made in the business or organization.

How to Write an Annual Report

Two decades ago, the average annual report was 43% narrative and 57% financial statements. Today, many business firms and organizations structure their annual reports in various ways. So, writing an annual report is an effective way to keep track and manage the integral aspects of the business firm or organization and other ongoing projects that will be completed in a few years. Below are some easy-to-follow tips  that indicate how to design and create a professional annual report:

Step 1: Create a Summary of the Achievements and Milestones

Allow some sufficient amount of time in contemplating the entire achievements and milestones of the company or organization throughout the preceding year. Get a scratch paper or notepad and list them according to the dates. Make sure that the work achievements must be connected to the duties listed in the company or organization’s work standards. Then, quantify your tasks and activities at work by presenting an estimate or range. 

Step 2: Design the Structure of the Report

There are many key points that you can highlight in an annual report. But you need to consider designing the overall structure of the annual report. It can be a strategic report, or an annual report containing financial statements only. If you decide to write an annual strategic report, include the business overview, markets, business model, strategy, highlights of the entire year, statement of the chairman, key performance indicators, major risks and uncertainties, operating review, financial review, and many other aspects. 

Step 3:  Develop a Timeline of Achievements and Milestones

What does the business or project timeline of achievements and milestones manifest? You need to develop a simple and clear timeline of the important things already achieved in the business or project throughout the year. Include the exact time, day, and date. 

Step 4:  Write with Conciseness, Accuracy, and Discretion

You need to be more economical in your usage of words. Avoid repetition of most important points several times in your annual report. So, keep it more concise. If you need to include some numerical figures such as percentages and rates in the annual report of your business or project, make sure that the numbers are accurate. Also, you need to exercise some caution while preparing the report due to the reaction of the readers.

Step 5:  Proofread and Check the Overall Report

Check your entire annual report for the year and be sure to fully include all the essential points in your annual report. If you notice that you overlook some sections that require ample points, we suggest that you make some edits and revisions in the document.

Step 6: Prepare the Final Annual Report

After the proofreading and revision part, you can now prepare the final annual report. Include some notes and other key messages you want to communicate to your target readers such as investors, stockholders, clients, the public, and other individuals on the last part of your document. Skim your report for final evaluation and quality check. 


What are some examples of annual reports?

Some examples of annual reports are annual accomplishment report, annual evaluation report, academic program annual report, annual assessment report, college annual report, annual grant report, magazine annual report, project financial report, annual sports report, and more. 

What is the purpose of an annual report?

The purpose of an annual report is to clarify the growth and achievements of a business firm through defining the strategy used, as well as measuring the overall performance. This is useful in formulating the right investment decision.

What are the essential steps in writing an annual report?

Start your annual report writing with a summary or overview paragraph of the achievements of the company. Then, write the essential details of the summary. Construct a clear timetable to list down all the achievements and milestones. Use some charts, graphs, tables, and other visual diagrams to demonstrate the growth and development of the company throughout the year clearly.                                                     

What is the difference between an annual report and a financial statement?

An annual report is a document containing the business firm or organization’s activities, tasks, events, programs, and other things that are achieved throughout the year. On the other hand, a financial statement is a document that reflects the current status of the financial performance of a business firm or organization. 

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” This statement by Will Rodgers offered practical advice to many business professionals out there like you. This means you need to move forward  and constantly push yourself to reach beyond your comfort zone. Therefore, writing a clear and effective annual report for your business, project, program, meeting, or organization is a worthwhile step in moving forward, especially when it comes to elevating efficiency, productivity and order inside the business firm or organization.  So, here are some of our downloadable and printable free annual report samples available in different kinds of formats. Simply click the free annual report templates in this article and start downloading now!