How to Prepare a CEO Report (Step-by-Step)

  • By: Josh Palmer
  • February 1, 2024
CEO Report
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The CEO report is one of the most important documents in an organization’s board pack. As such, the board of directors and executive chairman must take every precaution to ensure the report is timely and accurate. 

The CEO report serves as a key communication channel between the executive leadership team and the board of directors, offering a snapshot of the company’s health, progress, and future prospects. Crafting a CEO report requires a blend of strategic insight, analytical prowess, and effective communication skills.

Read on for tips on how to write a CEO report, and learn how board management software helps executive leaders collaborate, work smarter, and ultimately enhance board governance.

What is a CEO Report?

A CEO report provides a summary of the organization’s performance, key initiatives, and strategic outlook. It serves as a communication tool for the CEO to update the board of directors on the company’s overall health, progress, and future state. 

The report typically includes financial highlights, operational updates, and key performance indicators (KPIs), offering a comprehensive view of the company’s current status and its trajectory.

The CEO report helps the board determine organizational needs and set priorities. It can also be used to attract new investors or provide financial information to creditors.  

A CEO report can be distributed as a physical document or digital format with videos and interactive charts. The best format depends on the preferences of your board and executive team. 

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How to Write a CEO Report

1. Define Objectives and Metrics

The CEO report tends to focus either on a company’s employees or owners. If it’s positioned toward employees, the report can spotlight the best-performing employees and discuss the organization’s present and future hiring needs. 

If the report is written with stakeholder interests in mind, then you’ll need to consult with your chief financial officer (CFO) to note more specific financial details and expand on plans to generate growth in the coming year. In this case, the CEO report also has to comply with regulatory requirements, so that sensitive financial information remains private. 

2. Gather Data and Insights

The CEO report must include data from all the organization’s activities and decisions over the year. This provides a complete picture of the company’s current standing and how specific actions had positive, negative, or neutral results.

Significant achievements can be listed on a monthly basis, in association with certain milestones, or by mentioning the specific employee or team who accomplished the task. 

3. Summarize Key Findings

The body of the CEO report should include a summary of the organization’s major developments in the preceding year and a real-time forecast of its goals for the next year. 

It’s natural to celebrate the success stories of your company, but many executives make the mistake of embellishing the report with personal opinions or ignoring more difficult events from the year. Tangible data should always be the catalyst for your findings. 

Your report also needs to touch on the low ebbs of the business period. When describing the missed goals, expand on the original intent behind setting these goals, why the company came up short, and your strategy to avoid similar disappointments going forward. 

Acknowledging the organization’s tougher moments demonstrates a level of forward-thinking and accountability that creates a greater sense of trust in leadership. 

4. Provide Recommendations and Action Plans

Following up on the previous point, it’s vital for the future of the business and your reputation as a leader to provide a sound strategy to avoid similar disappointments in the future.

Your strategic plan serves as the outline to meet your objectives for the next year. It should include actionable steps to reach those goals with a realistic timeline.

5. Craft a Clear and Engaging Report

There’s a lot of information to cover in the CEO report. Make sure the report synthesizes those details into a concise document that’s easy to understand for all interested parties. 

The report should be written in the same style from beginning to end. Include a list of references alongside your information to give stakeholders and employees a greater understanding of your findings. And before you send out the CEO report, make sure to proofread it multiple times. 

CEO Report Example

Here is a basic template for the structure of a CEO report: 

  • Company Logo
  • Report Date
  • CEO Report: Month/Quarter/Year
  • Executive Summary – An overview of the central performance insights in the report
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Financial Performance (if writing for stakeholders)

  • Revenue (Current vs. Previous Period)
  • Profit Margins (Gross vs. Net Margin)
  • Breakdown of Expenses

Operational Efficiency

  • Production Output (Metrics or Production Levels)
  • Quality Control (Defect Rates or Improvement Measures)
  • Inventory Management (Inventory Turnover, Stock Levels)

Market Performance

  • Market Share (Company’s Position vs. Competitors)
  • Customer Acquisition (New Customers/Market Expansion)
  • Customer Retention (Customer Churn Rate/Retention Strategies)

Employee Engagement

  • Workforce Productivity (Metrics or Performance Indicators)
  • Employee Satisfaction (Survey Results or Feedback)
  • Talent Development (Training Initiatives, Promotions, Retention Rates)
  • Highlights and Achievements
  • Areas for Improvement
  • Action Plans 
  • Focus Areas 
  • Conclusion

OnBoard Powers Effective Boards

The CEO report serves as a key document for demonstrating an organization’s successes, shortcomings, and future goals. 

OnBoard’s comprehensive meeting software powers efficient communication, collaboration, and transparency among the board of directors, executive leaders, and other stakeholders. OnBoard’s board management software includes powerful features to help organizations operate effectively, such as: 

  • Real-time meeting analytics and progress tracking
  • A secure messaging system
  • Zoom and Microsoft Teams integration
  • Detailed diversity reporting
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Security provided by Microsoft Azure

Download our free Board Meeting Minutes Template to learn how OnBoard helps organizations enhance board governance. 

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About The Author

Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer
Josh Palmer serves as OnBoard's Head of Content. An experienced content creator, his previous roles have spanned numerous industries including B2C and B2B home improvement, healthcare, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). An Indianapolis native and graduate of Indiana University, Palmer currently resides in Fishers, Ind.