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Annual Report Writing & Editing

Annual report writing, editing and designing

Annual reports are often considered the ‘thoroughbreds’ of corporate document production: they need a steady hand on the reins to get across the finish line. You need an experienced organisation.

One like us.

During our many years as annual report writers and annual report designers, we’ve picked up a thing or two about best practice in annual report production and will ensure you’re represented in the best possible light. 

A good annual report writer will ensure your copy is easy to read, and a good design solution will persuade and engage your shareholders and stakeholders including the use of cut through infographics. Every design element on every page must have a clear purpose and design should never get in the way of content clarity. In other words, a good annual report will deliver results, be on-brand and appropriately tell the story you want it to with the impact you seek.

Since 2000 Andrew Pegler Media has been involved in the plain English editing, writing, layout and design of around 100 annual reports.

Your Andrew Pegler Media-produced annual report will:

  • be written in plain English by a professional annual report writer / editor
  • be on-brand and on-message
  • graphically represent your organisation
  • speak directly to your audience
  • intelligently combine authority, emotion and reason
  • be accessible
  • cover both digital and print options.

Our work as annual report writers and designers over the past 17 years includes:

  • four for NAB
  • four for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • ten for Sustainability Victoria
  • others for Rio Tinto, Australia Post, EPA Victoria and many more.

And we love going digital! This exciting medium allows for videos, interactive infographics and even animations for more effective messaging. Online annual reports also provide crucial analytics — from identifying the most popular pages and animations or videos viewed to which infographics got the greatest number of clicks.

So whether you’re working in a government department, a government agency or a public company, talk to us today about how we can bring unparalleled excellence to your next annual report.

Putting together your annual report this year? Our blog Your 9 essentials for a good annual report will be a great help.

Recent annual report writing

Annual report writing services

Mark Twain put it best when penning to a friend, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Indeed, appearances are deceptive. What feels like a simple, effective message is usually the product of long and careful plain English crafting. And that’s where we come in.

We are Australia’s leading plain English editing organisation, helping organisations communicate clear, relevant messages. Our specialist annual report writers, editors and proofreaders follow APM’s eight rules for plain English:

  1. Consider your audience.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. If you have to look up a word’s meaning, don’t use it.
  4. Use the active voice.
  5. Don’t use jargon if there’s a plain English equivalent.
  6. Get your punctuation right.
  7. Have one idea per sentence.
  8. If it’s not crucial, delete it.

 

Your Andrew Pegler Media-produced annual report will:

  • be written in plain English by a professional annual report writer / editor
  • be on-brand and on-message
  • speak directly to your audience
  • intelligently combine authority, emotion and reason
  • be logically ordered.

 How we’ll project manage your annual report design

Our first meeting will establish your needs and develop a program for delivering everything you ask for and the agreed dates. We’ll identify who’s responsible for what and when. APM’s rigorous project management methodology keeps the project on schedule. We’re always asking, Where are we against where we should be? Charts track timeframes and deliverables – which tasks can be done concurrently and which sequentially? And we will stay as flexible as you need us to be because the only constant in life is change.

 And we love going digital! This exciting medium allows for videos, interactive infographics and even animations, for more effective messaging. Online annual reports also provide crucial analytics — from identifying the most popular pages and animations or videos viewed, to which infographics got the greatest number of clicks.

So whether you’re working in a government department, a government agency or a public company, talk to us today about how we can bring unparalleled excellence to your next annual report. For now, check out our blog Your 9 essentials for a great annual report.

Did you know we’ve also designed 135+ annual reports?

Having both the design and writing done by the one supplier means one clean point of contact and seamless communications between the writing and design elements. It results in a superior final product and cost savings. Learn more about the advantages of having one supplier to design, write and project manage your annual report. (Link to a page with the copy below. )

The advantages of having one supplier to design, write and project manage your annual report

Andrew Pegler Media has designed, written and project managed over 135 annual reports. Our full 360° one-stop-shop service covers writing, editing and design. Having both content and design done by one supplier means one clean point of contact for you. Seamless communication between the writing and design elements results in a superior final product. Plus, there is no need to pay for a final proof of the ultimate document. We quality control your content along the way.

Better accountability

A single supplier, solely responsible for the entire process, cannot blame others for non-performance or delays. Our ‘buck-stops-here accountability’ ensures effective and efficient delivery of your annual report.

Overall visibility

A single supplier who’s responsible for the project from start to finish will be across its many moving parts. APM will always know where processes and procedures are at, ensuring a much smoother process for aspects like:

  • interviews
  • communication between editorial and design wings, so each learns about changes quickly and can react accordingly
  • stakeholder copy
  • copy feedback
  • design feedback
  • when copy will be delivered to design
  • image selection
  • version management
  • flagging potential issues.

 Greater efficiency

Having a single point of contact for the entire annual report is more efficient. No need to juggle different service providers — a sole contact ensures all parties involved in the process understand each other’s roles and responsibilities and are equipped to deal with unforeseen problems. You’ll waste no time:

  • briefing separate parties
  • double administering and project managing
  • double meetings
  • dealing with issues arising from one party misinterpreting instructions
  • coordinating two parties with the inherent risk that presents for mistakes
  • trying to sort out administrative complications – for example, payments.

Additionally, the design and writing can be done in parallel. We can show you samples as we go along. We can even drop in copy as it’s approved, so stakeholders can see their part of the report in its true design context and provide direct feedback. This gives you a longer lead time to gather stakeholder responses.

 Cost savings

Being the sole supplier also provides APM with economies of scale —hence our ability to offer a more competitive price.

Time savings

APM’s design team wing knows it’s getting quality written content and can address most questions to our content staff. Less bother for you. And design can already be working while you make last minute tweaks to copy – delays in finalising what you want to say don’t hold up ‘the big handover day’ between suppliers.

Quicker delivery

 A single-source model means faster delivery. The same people in the same organisation working on the same product have instant communication on changes, requests and more – without compromising on quality. We’ve done this many times before! Single-sourcing means a strong bond between parties, resulting in a more productive, better working relationship.

 Boosts brand image

A single provider will better protect your brand and reputation. Having all operations done under one umbrella, boosts the quality of work and guarantees uniform editorial style and design.

AUSTRALIANSUPER’S 2020 ANNUAL REPORT

AustralianSuper is Australia’s largest super fund, with approximately one in every ten Australian workers being members. Working closely with its investor relations team, APM wrote / edited AustralianSuper’s annual report via a mix of senior management interviews, supplied information and draft content. The report aimed to reveal how the Fund had performed during the year, particularly with the challenge of COVID-19. It also covered AustralianSuper’s strategy; operating environment and performance; governance; and financial and non-financial activities. APM’s rigorous project management methodology ensured the project ran smoothly and to schedule.

TECHCOMBANK’S 2020 ANNUAL REPORT (Vietnam)



Techcombank is Vietnam’s second most profitable bank and its shares trade on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange under the ticker TCB. With 25% of its shareholders in the English-speaking west, TCB commissioned APM to create a plain English version of its annual report to then translate into Vietnamese. APM advised on the narrative and storyline and our work won TCB an award from the League of American Communications Professionals for its narrative and clarity of content. APM wrote the report using a mix of interviews with the CEO and finessing draft content written by staff for whom English is a second language. The result was very well received and TCB is now a regular client.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) 2020 annual report 

IBA is an Australian Commonwealth Government agency advancing the commercial and economic interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and guiding them towards economic self-sufficiency. 

APM was commissioned to ensure IBA’s annual report copy:

  • was in plain English
  • maintained the agreed storyline
  • delivered a convincing story. 

We understood timelines needed to be flexible and that last minute edits or additional drafts would be required, due to moving government submission deadlines. Our final copy: 

  •     intelligently combined authority, emotion and reason 
  •     was professionally project managed 
  •     was on-brand and on-message.

Medibank 2020 annual report  

 

 Australian private health insurance provider Medibank, is Australia’s second largest health insurance provider. APM was commissioned to proofread the final PDF of its 2020 annual report before it was printed – to make sure it was complete. We had to check:

  •     styles (such as italics, bold) had been correctly translated from the Word version
  •     there had been no words obviously misplaced by the designer
  •     pagination, contents and numbering of tables and graphs were correct 
  •     pictures were correctly placed and labelled
  •     grammar, spelling, punctuation was 100% correct
  •     editorial style had been maintained in the design
  •     there were no widows and orphans 
  •     tables were not split unnecessarily
  •     all sections of the report appeared as per the original plan
  •     the table of contents aligned with the document
  •     all web links went where intended and worked.

We also took a cursory glance at all charts and info graphics to confirm they accurately represented the statistics being highlighted. 

Togethr Trustees Superannuation 

APM wrote and designed all four of Togethr Trustees annual reports. Togethr is trustee for multiple profit-to-member funds, managing $26 billion for 150,000+ members. The four funds were:

 

 

Using a mix of rough supplied information, draft content and our own research, this very complex project involved meeting the requirements of multiple style and brand guides while revealing how each fund performed over the year, its core values and future strategies. Our services included editing, writing content, independent research, streamlining proposed content and advising on the order and flow of the reports.

APM’s rigorous project management methodology ensured all four annual reports were delivered on time and on budget.

New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) 2020 

 

In 2020, for the third consecutive year, NSWALC commissioned APM to write and design its annual report. The high level of professionalism we bring to writing, design and project management is what keeps NSWALC coming back.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

APM organised the structure of the report and the information for each section to achieve a sequential flow of content. Both structural and plain-English copy editing were required on supplied text. This included rationalising repetitive information to form section introductions and overviews while ensuring a consistent, clear voice throughout. We also created copy from primary sources and interviews, including with the Chair and the CEO.

 Design

Each year, APM’s design for NSWALC’s annual report has sought to showcase Aboriginal culture and heritage. Colour palettes, typography and design elements were chosen to reflect the Aboriginal landscape and traditions. Using elements of Aboriginal art to create graphics and icons, and sourcing appropriate stock imagery, we’ve taken the design of the report from simply meeting statutory requirements to becoming the flagship of the organisation.

Report on the Global Status of  Carbon Capture and Storage 2020

The brief

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an emissions reduction technology critical to meeting global climate targets. The Global Status of CCS 2019 documents important milestones for CCS over that year, its status across the world and the key opportunities and challenges it faces.

Taking an initial draft of supplied content, APM’s substantive editing assessed and shaped the copy to:

  • improve its structure, organisation and content
  • clarify meaning
  • improve flow
  • smooth out the language.

We also ensured it was audience appropriate and in a single tone – not in the different tones and styles of different authors. In addition, we formatted references and footnotes to be in a consistent style. Considerable stakeholder management and engagement was involved across a number of drafts. The final product was presented with great success at the United Nations.

Design was done by the very talented team at Fluid, an APM strategic partner.

Thank you for your professionalism and intellectual rigour. APM’s attention to detail made a huge difference to the quality of the final product.

VicRoads

The brief

VicRoads approached APM to overhaul and refine its draft annual report. The existing information had been collected from individuals across departments so it often overlapped, varied in detail and style and was a difficult read. VicRoads wanted a cohesive, plain English document that told a story and reflected the key focus areas of their corporate plan. It needed to be signed off for printing in less than ten days!

This job involved making sense of large amounts of material and presenting it in an interesting way. We also had to ensure that state reporting requirements were met and that the document was consistent with VicRoads’ style. We wrote an engaging summary; then case studies and data were finessed to reflect the messages VicRoads wanted to highlight. Other information was consolidated, simplified and edited. Due to the tight timeframe, where there were gaps, we often did our own research using VicRoads’ website and other Victorian government reports. This helped make the document more strategic and kept the process moving.

Thanks so much … APM was a pleasure to work with and tremendous in reworking the content and taking on feedback from stakeholders to produce a clear and concise narrative around our key initiatives.

—Sally McInnes, A/M Registration and Licensing Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, R&L Practice Standards and Solutions, VicRoads

vicroads annual report

The 9 essentials of a great annual report

  annual report

Annual reports are often considered the ‘thoroughbreds’ of corporate document production: they need a steady hand on the reins to get across the finish line.

Over the past 17 or so years Andrew Pegler Media has been involved in the plain-English editing, writing, layout and design of over 100 annual reports. This includes three for NAB, four for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, and five for Sustainability Victoria, as well as others for Rio Tinto, EPA and many more. During this time, we’ve picked up a thing or two about best practice in annual report production, which will help get you out of the starting gate!

  1. Stay on brand: The tone and style of your brand needs to be evident in your annual report through the design, layout, images and writing. It’s no good trying to convince people your brand is a champion if your annual report resembles a hack. The more on brand you are, the more consistent you appear and the more familiar you’ll be. But it’s not an advertising spiel. Given the serious and regulatory nature of the document, you can afford to rein it in a little. Essentially, your annual report is the form guide for your company and brand, a record of its past performance and future potential. And, as a front-runner in your corporate communications stable, it should clearly sport that stable’s colours. It’s no good saying your main point of difference is that you’re imaginative if the language and layout of your annual report is anything but. The same goes if you want to project a stable, conservative corporate image by keeping it low key but stylish.
  2. Less is more:Learn to edit. You may want to include every last entry but people don’t necessarily want to know everything. Stick with one simple rule: annual reports are a lot easier to read (and digest) if they’re well structured and have something interesting to say. What is the story? Decide what you want to focus on, and align that with your company’s key messages and brand. And include the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ve advised many leading corporations on how to present both good and not-so-good news.
  3. Statistics can tell great stories: Graphically speaking, of course. Decide which statistics best represent your main narratives, and use them to highlight your strategy and performance. Consider highlighting your key achievements with a ‘this year in numbers’ page. Case studies and also very useful and of course infographics are, as Zoolander’s Mugatumight say, “so hot right now”.
  4. Use stand out text:‘Pull-out’ text in a larger font can introduce the key messages on a page, and it’s a great way to catch the attention of a roving eye. For example, “Why we’ve doubled our IT investment,” or “Our UK business is looking up”. Case studies can also be very useful to engage the reader with the story behind the scenes.
  5. Going digital:Given the wholesale access to modern technology, printing an annual report is no longer a proven race winner. A PDF download is much cheaper, and a more effective means of getting the most eyes on this crucial document. It allows for videos, interactive infographics, even animations for more effective messaging. And you can still offer a print version on request — just fire up the colour printer and binder, lick the stamp and drop it in the mail. Whether you go digital, hardcopy or both depends on your budget, time constraints and, naturally, your shareholders/stakeholders particular preferences. A quick survey should reveal all you need to know.
  6. Digital reports and analytics:Presenting your annual report online means you can track every download — from identifying the most popular pages and animations or videos viewed to what infographics got the greatest number of clicks. In other words, what worked and what didn’t. It’s vital insider information that enables you to get the jump on how best to present your results.
  7. Screens, screens and more screens:Yes, many people these days will read your report on an iPad, smartphone or other device so be sure to design for this. Highlight your best stats and key performance points, have lots of white space and, above all, be concise.
  8. Consistency is essential:Tailoring information to your target audience is a golden rule, as is consistency in your company’s message. An engaging and comprehensive annual report should act as a stable mate to your overall communications strategy. For example, a report we completed for a major bank strategically reflected and amplified its upcoming 12-month plan of community activities.
  9. Picking a writer/designer: Writing and designing annual reports is a specific skill, and your approach and budget will dictate how you run that race. You may simply need someone to plain-English edit your supplied copy and lay it out in an on-brand design for the sprint down the home straight. Alternatively, you may decide on the long-distance runner, and have a company like us come in plan your annual report strategy from go to whoa. Either way, annual reports are highly technical documents and you need a steady hand so always opt for experience.