Tips on how to plan your annual report in 2021

Autumn is here – and if you have not already started work on it, it is time to think about your annual report. It may seem like you just finished the last one, but if you give yourself a head start now, you will be thankful in a couple of months!

We design annual and sustainability reports for a range of clients, global, listed companies or municipalities, and public sector enterprises. We have compiled a list of top tips from our various departments to help you tackle your annual report for 2021.

Starting your planning now simply gives you a practical advantage. Here are some tips from our Project Director, Kaia Gulsvik:

  • Put a plan in place – as early as possible. This does not just apply to the work you will be doing with your agency, but just as much internally in your own organization. Content production can take longer than expected, and other tasks may take priority. Pencil in dates for editorial meetings with the departments involved. If you ensure that you have plenty of time to work on content, this will enhance the report as a whole.
  • What is the aim of the report? Does it just need to be published and put away in a drawer? Or is it a tool that you will be using throughout the year? Many businesses and organizations put both resources and pride into exceeding last year’s report in terms of transparency, user experience, and application. Set clear goals so that everyone involved is pulling in the same direction. Take a look at the best in class from the Farmand Awards or businesses or organizations you like to compare yourself to. Public sector enterprises have their own guidelines and requirements, but someone is also best in class in this category.
  • Talk to each other. If you are working with an agency, the agency will likely be producing several annual reports in the same period. This is a busy time and making major changes to schedules may be impractical. But by ensuring continuous dialogue and arranging regular meetings, many surprises can be avoided and the most difficult challenges can be addressed early on.
  • Do you only have a few internal resources? Then, ask your agency for help. Most will be happy to help you with strategy, planning, copywriting, interviews, images, and proofreading.

Creative Director, Michael Linnemann adds the following tips:

  • Annual reports do not have to be boring. What do you want to use your annual report to communicate – apart from the figures? Think about the content that may be useful and engaging to investors, employees, partners, and future job applicants.
  • Use all the possibilities that digital offers! A well-produced printed report may be inviting, attractive, and easy to read – and may be impressive to throw down on the table at a meeting. But a fully-fledged digital solution with video, animated graphics, and search options is more practical and inspiring. But, of course, reports also have to work just as well on a mobile, tables included. And to be clear, only having a PDF version of your printed report is just not going to cut it in 2021.

Of course, Dariusz Ksiazek, head of our developer team, is not going to be impartial in any discussion about the choice between printed or digital reports. That said, he has some reassuring words for anyone thinking about digitalizing their annual report:

  • With a digital solution, you avoid having to start from scratch every year. Instead, we like to use the same framework for many years and simply updating the content. This means savings in the long run as the cost of printing is avoided.
  • You do not have to be afraid of ending up with a load of web pages to maintain. By using WordPress for both website and annual reports, you will be able to edit everything in the same location. Your agency should also be able to help you with the publication, operation, and maintenance so that you can concentrate on your content.

And last, but not least – pay attention to the new standard for digital financial reporting that all listed companies must comply with, ESEF (The European Single Electronic Format):

  • Since 1 January 2020, ESEF has been the new standard for annual reporting applicable to all listed companies. Its purpose is to ensure transparency in the financial reporting of companies so that anyone can gain insight into their accounts. All listed companies must publish public annual accounts, and gaining access to them has never been easier than it is now.
  • To produce an annual report that complies with the ESEF standard, a range of requirements need to be met. The ESEF may seem a little heavy-going, but, luckily, we are experts in this field. Let us look at the most important points contained in the standard.
  • You can read the full article about ESEF and how you make your annual report ESEF-compliant here. 

Why not take a look at some of the digital annual reports we have designed and developed here?


If you want to discuss a printed or digital report, we are always on hand for a no-obligation chat.

Patrick Berger
Client Manager
+47 975 43 395

Annual reports and IR web

View Case
Our projects See all projects

Can I share this?

Please do it!