Magazine article

There’s nothing worse than having to plough through reams of documents trying to discover the point. It wastes time for directors trying to figure out what’s important.

Clearly the scale and purpose of the organisation will require diferent levels of reporting, but we should remember that clear reporting adds real value.

Dr Judith MacCormick FAICD, AICD facilitator offers her five tips for better reporting:

1. Start with the “PACKO” principle.

P What is this report's PURPOSE? Why would you read it?

A Who is your AUDIENCE? What background and expertise do board members have? What do they need to know for effective governance?

C What is the CONTEXT for this report? What is the background? What’s changed and what might change?

K What three KEY MESSAGES do you want board members to remember after reading your report?

O What is the OUTCOME you are hoping for? What are you asking the board to do after reading this report?

2. Make a clear connection to the organisation’s strategy. Whether you’re reporting on past performance, proposing a new venture or requesting more resources, link the issues in the report to the organisation’s strategy.

3. Make time to revise. Get constructive criticism (and return the favour). It will improve your writing.

4. Remember e=mc2 (misquoting Einstein). “If you can’t simplify it, you don’t know the content well enough.”

5. Three Cs: keep it clear, concise and complete. No jargon or big words (use a glossary for technical terms and new topics). Company Director also fnds infographics are helpful. But are we ready for emoticons yet?