How to organize a reporting project – 5 key points
Wiesbaden, June 25, 2021. Through financial reports, investors can assess the potential of a company and thereby make their investment decisions. Because reports are so important, companies should take time to write them and plan the writing and design process extensively.
In annual, quarterly and now also ESG reports, listed companies present their results and progress of the current reporting period. The annual report in particular is a central source of information for investors and other stakeholders on the capital market and thus the flagship of every company. Companies should therefore make the content and layout as appealing and informative as possible. To achieve this, early and comprehensive preparations are necessary. Here are five key points that are essential for the successful organization of a report project:
1. Definition of project team and responsibilities.
The first step towards the report is to define the project team: all participants must know who will take on which areas of responsibility in the project and how the coordination processes are to take place.
At the start of the project, a kick-off meeting should be held to discuss the project in detail and to get everyone involved committed to the project. Stakeholders can clarify open questions, areas of responsibility, and resulting tasks. Following the meeting, everyone should be clear on the steps that need to be taken, their timing and the successful completion of the report on time. This applies to both the company and the external service providers involved. The team should also clarify who is responsible for the publications via the various channels in the end, for example, for submitting the financial report to the Federal Gazette or publishing the accompanying press release.
3. Time and action plan.
The agreed procedures and deadlines should be recorded in writing in a time and action plan so that everyone involved in the project has an overview of whether they are on schedule with their tasks. This schedule specifies the time frame in which the texts for the report are to be created and agreed upon, when approvals are to be made, and when the texts are to be sent to the translator. A schedule is of great importance for project management in order to control the project and, in the event of any delays, to remind those responsible of the agreed deadlines.
A time and action plan also serves to ensure that the team can start early and step by step with all parts of the report. For example, in the case of financial reports, they can begin first with report sections for which they do not need the annual financial statements – these include the state of the market environment or the image section. The parties involved can also define the company’s further communication around the report in such a schedule – for example, accompanying documents such as a presentation or press release, and the organization of media and investor meetings.
4. Structure reconciliation.
The structure of the report should be agreed upon by the company and possible external service providers at the beginning of the project. This has the advantage that a content structure is available at an early stage and it is clear what content is required. In addition, the parties involved should clarify who will be responsible for translating the report and what language and wording rules the company would like to see before the report is actually produced. This can be defined in a wording guide.
5. Observe legal changes.
In the international accounting standards and statutory regulations for financial reports, changes in regulations occur regularly. Therefore, a team member here should check again at the beginning of the reporting project whether new regulations are present and whether the structure contains all necessary chapters.
Financial and ESG reports mean work.
Overall, the following applies to the organization of reporting projects: preparation is key! Early agreements, clear processes and a schedule with the defined measures enable a smooth process and save a lot of time – so that an optimal report is available to the investors.
cometis supports you on your way to a successful report project. Whether project management, copywriting or a suitable layout for your report – we are happy to help. You can find more information here: https://www.cometis.de/en/investor-relations/annual-report/
Thorben Burbach: Senior Consultant
Thorben Burbach has managed numerous corporate communications projects. He also has many years of journalistic experience in print and online media. He studied media science and business administration in Siegen, majoring in media management and marketing.