6.5. Concise final reports
Throughout the project, the project coordinator has to submit several progress reports to the donor. The final report is the one that covers the last reporting period, to close the grant. Usually, the final report is more robust, containing a detailed summary of what took place during the whole implementation of the project.
When to start writing? How much time will be needed?
Reporting at the end of a project can be intense, with tight deadlines and a lot of requirements. Usually, the final report should be submitted 60 days after the end date of the project. This is why it is key to plan this activity properly and to set enough time for drafting the report. Take into account that all partners should have enough time to fill in their sections and review the full report before it is submitted.
Block out a minimum of 2-3 weeks for this task. Use cloud documents as much as you can to keep the report versions in check.
The final report is usually a 50 pages document in English, however, the length may vary depending on the type of call and the entity of the project (how “big” it is, etc.). Some final reports have specific boxes to fill with a maximum number of admitted characters or words.
Usually, a final report is composed of the two following parts (some of the text may overlap with the final project evaluation):
- the first part includes qualitative information related to the work done on the project. You are invited to describe the results, the deliverables as well as the target audience reached during your whole action.
- the second part presents the list of evidence and annexes to be attached to the report.
Generally, a financial report is also requested.
Keep in mind that it is the donor that has to provide reporting templates (checklists or other reporting tools), which are distributed well in advance to the coordinator, who should pass them on to the partners. These set out how information should be provided. Narrative and financial reporting require different templates but are prepared at the same time for the same reporting periods and submitted together.
Usual structure of final reports:
- Project executive summary: short description of the action, main objectives, key results
- Project Results: original goals, targets achieved, indicators, outputs, and outcomes
- Management of the project (quality of the project team and cooperation)
- Challenges and lessons learned
All project partners should contribute to the drafting of the report by filling in the relevant sections; however, it is the project coordinator who will have to submit the final version to the donor.
When writing the final report, keep in mind the following suggestions:
- Use a clear and concise language.
- Make sure to follow the template provided, fill all sections and include all annexes.
- See if there is a maximum length for the different report sections and stick to it.
- Consider you will need time to share the draft report with all project partners to receive feedback and to finally write the final version to be submitted.
- Make sure the amount of information provided is proportionate to the level of expenditure claimed.
- Highlight the main project wins and achievements.
- Point out any project deficiencies – keep your remarks brief, explanatory and objective.
- Summarise lessons learnt. Remember that this part should not come as a surprise to the MA (inform – discuss – clarify – resolve – report).
Financial aspects and how to report on them
The Financial Report consists of the financial statements (individual and consolidated for all partners) and the explanation on the use of resources.
Financial requirements are directly linked with the grant agreement requests. In any case, the financial reporting must keep track of all the expenditures happening during the project lifetime. Each expense must be related to a project action/output/results and must be accompanied by an official invoice/receipt/contract/declaration.