MAY 2001

It is that time of the year again... for the Annual Report

So here are some tips for creating a good Annual Report with the most frequently used French and Dutch terms given in parentheses.

There are nine distinct sections in most Annual Reports. A good report will usually contain all nine. The following are the sections, where they are located, and who is typically responsible. Items 5, 6, 7, 8 are required while 4 is a requirement of many lenders. Analysts insist on 9.

1. Chairman of the Board Letter (Lettre du président du conseil d'administration, Brief van de voorzitter van de Beheerraad) Found within the first 5 pages, this should cover changing developments, goals achieved (or missed), actions taken, and industry conditions. In one or two pages maximum.

Sales and Marketing
Found closest to the front and usually written by the marketing department, this explains where the company sells and where it makes most of its money. The scope of lines, divisions, and operations should be clear.

10 Year Summary of Financial Figures
This is usually provided by the Chief Financial Officer (Directeur financier, Financieel directeur). It is best to place this at the front of the report.

Management discussion (Discussion de direction, Managementbespreking) and analysis This is found before the financial statements (états financiers, fincanciële staten), and written by the CFO. Discussion of significant trends (tendances) over the past two years.

Chartered Accountant (expert-comptable) Opinion Letter
Found either before or after the financial statements and written by an accounting firm.

Financial Statements
Provided by the CFO

Subsidiaries, Brands, and Addresses
Found within the last few pages, this information is usually provided by the legal department

List of Directors and Officers (Direction et cadres, directeurs en kaders)
In the last or next-to-last pages - and usually provided by the corporate secretary (secrétaire general, bedrijfssecretaris), this usually contains biographical data.

Stock/share Price (Prix de l'action, aandelenpriis)
Analysts want this. It is best to have it near the front of the report. Should contain where traded, stock symbol, high/low history and price/dividend trends over time. This is usually provided by the corporate secretary.
Some other points to consider when preparing an Annual Report:

The BUDGET, with its

OPERATING RESULTS (résultats d'exploitation, exploitatieresultaten)
Revenues (recettes, inkomsten)
Gross earnings (résultats bruts, brutto inkomsten)
Net Earnings (résultats nets, netto inkomsten)
Earnings Per Share (résultat par action, inkomsten per aandeel)

The FINANCIAL POSITION (Situation financière, financiële situatie), with its

Total Assets (Actifs totals, totale activa)
Interest-Bearing Debt (Dette portant intérët, rentedragende schuld)
Book Value Per Share (valeur comptable, boekwaarde)
Gross Profit Margin (marge bénéficiaire brute, brutto winstmarge)
Net Profit Margin
Return on Average Equity (Rendement sur l'action moyenne, opbrengst gewoon aandeel)
Turnover (chiffre d'affaires, omzetcijfer)

The production team? Will it be a committee or just one person? Who calls the shots?

Selection of graphic designers/photographers/writers

What to include exactly? The major purpose of report

How "innovative" should the report be? Die cut layout, inserts, response cards

Decide on paper, binding, size, print run

Theme for report

Items to avoid/explain

Competitors and competition (concurrence, concurrentie) - how much should be included

Corporate responsibility (responsabilité d'entreprise, bedrijfsverantwoordelijkheid) - how much should be included?

Testimonials are especially effective for outsiders when they are accompanied by a photo

Test final "galley" copy (épreuve, proef) for readability, interest, and comprehension

Look at other reports. Compare and critique

It is also recommended that the cover contain the following information:

Annual Report for Year ____
The ____th Report
30 June _____
Name of Firm