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Business Communication - How to Write a Powerful Business Report
Business communication -, how to write a powerful business report, business communication how to write a powerful business report.
Business Communication: How to Write a Powerful Business Report
Lesson 8: how to write a powerful business report.
How to write a powerful business report
When a company needs to make an informed decision, it can create a business report to guide its leaders. Business reports use facts and research to study data, analyze performance, and provide recommendations on a company's future.
Watch the video below to learn how to write and format a business report.
The basics of a business report
Business reports are always formal , objective , and heavily researched . Every fact must be clear and verifiable, regardless of whether the report focuses on a single situation or examines the overall performance of an entire company.
Because objectivity is crucial in a business report, avoid subjective descriptions that tell the reader how to feel. For instance, if sales were down last quarter, don’t say “Sales were terrible last quarter,” but rather let the sales data speak for itself. There should also be no personal pronouns, such as “I think we should invest more capital.” A business report should remain impersonal and framed from the company’s perspective.
The structure of a business report
Although the size of a report can range from one page to 100, structure is always important because it allows readers to navigate the document easily. While this structure can vary due to report length or company standards, we’ve listed a common, reliable structure below:
- Front matter : List your name, job title, contact information, and the date of submission. You can also create a title for the report.
- Background : State the background of the topic you’ll be addressing, along with the purpose of the report itself.
- Key findings : Provide facts , data , and key findings that are relevant to the purpose stated in the background. Be clear and specific, especially because the entire report depends on the information in this section.
- Conclusion : Summarize and interpret the key findings, identify issues found within the data, and answer questions raised by the purpose.
- Recommendations : Recommend solutions to any problems mentioned in the conclusion, and summarize how these solutions would work. Although you’re providing your own opinion in this section, avoid using personal pronouns and keep everything framed through the company’s perspective.
- References : List the sources for all the data you've cited throughout the report. This allows people to see where you got your information and investigate these same sources.
Some companies may also require an executive summary after the front matter section, which is a complete summary that includes the report’s background, key findings, and recommendations. This section lets people learn the highlights quickly without having to read the entire document. The size of an executive summary can range from a paragraph to multiple pages, depending on the length of the report.
As mentioned in Business Writing Essentials , revision is key to producing an effective document. Review your writing to keep it focused and free of proofreading errors, and ensure your factual information is correct and presented objectively. We also recommend you get feedback from a colleague before submitting your work because they can spot errors you missed or find new opportunities for analysis or discussion.
Once you’ve revised your content, think about the report’s appearance . Consider turning your front matter section into a cover page to add some visual polish. You can also create a table of contents if the report is lengthy. If you’re printing it out, use quality paper and a folder or binder to hold the report together. To diversify the presentation of your data, try using bulleted lists, graphics, and charts.
Example of a business report
To demonstrate the principles of this lesson, we’ve created a brief business report for you to review.
Let's start by looking at the first page of this two-page report.
The layout of the front matter is simple and effective, while the background sets the stage in a quick, specific manner. The key findings provide the main takeaways that warrant further investigation, along with a chart to add emphasis and visual variety.
Now let's look at the following page.
The conclusion features a little of the writer's opinion on the key findings, although the writing is still centered around the company's perspective. The recommendations are clear and supported by the data, while the references are thorough.
While business reports may seem intimidating, you have the ability to create a thorough, informative document through practice and careful research. Collect the facts and present them in an organized, objective manner, and you’ll help your business make informed decisions.
How to Write a Business Report: A Step By Step Guide with Examples
Table of contents
With so much experience under your belt, you already know a lot about business reporting.
So, we don’t want to waste your time pointing out the obvious because we know what you need.
Secrets. Tricks. Best practices.
The answer to how to write a mind-blowing business report that you don’t need to spend hours and days writing.
A business report that will immediately allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
A report that’ll help you learn more about your business and do more accurate forecasting and planning for the future.
We believe we have just that right here.
With this comprehensive guide, you’ll create effective sales, analytical, and informative business reports (and business dashboards ) that will help you improve your strategies, achieve your goals, and grow your business.
So, let’s dive in.
What Is a Business Report?
Importance of creating business reports, types of business reports, what should be included in a business report, how to write a business report: an 11-step guide.
- Business Report Examples
Although there’s a variety of business reports that differ in many aspects, in short, a business report definition would be the following:
A business report is an informative document that contains important data such as facts, analyses, research findings, and statistics about a business with the goal to make this information accessible to people within a company.
Their main purpose is to facilitate the decision-making process related to the future of the business, as well as to maintain effective communication between people who create the reports and those they report to.
A good business report is concise and well-organized, looks professional, and displays the relevant data you can act on. The point is to reflect upon what you’ve achieved so far (typically, over the past month, quarter or year) and to use the data to create a new strategy or adjust the current one to reach even more business goals.
Business reports should be objective and based on the data. When stating the facts, people rely on numbers rather than giving descriptions. For instance, instead of saying “our conversion rate skyrocketed”, you would display the exact percentages that back up that claim.
Business reporting matters for several reasons, among which the most important ones are:
Recognizing Opportunities to Grow
Detecting issues and solving them quickly, evaluating a potential partner, having a paper trail, keeping things transparent for the stakeholders, setting new company goals.
In fact, over half of the companies that contributed to Databox’s state of business reporting research confirmed that regular monitoring and reporting brought them significant concrete benefits.
If you never look back at what you’ve achieved, you can’t figure out what you’ve done well and what you can leverage in the future for even better results.
When you analyze a specific aspect of your business over a specific time period and present the data you gathered in a report, you can detect an opportunity to grow more easily because you have all the information in one place and organized neatly.
Is it time to introduce new products or services? Is there a way to enhance your marketing strategy? Prepare a report. Can you optimize your finances? Write a financial business report . Whatever decision you need to make, it’s easier when you base it on a report.
Reports are essential for crisis management because they can introduce a sense of calmness into your team. Putting everything on paper makes it easier to encompass all the relevant information and when you know all the facts, you can make a more accurate and effective decision about what to do next.
Writing business reports regularly will also help you identify potential issues or risks and act timely to prevent damage and stop it from escalating. That’s why monthly reporting is better than doing it only once a year.
Having an insight into your finances , operations and other business aspects more regularly allows you to have better control over them and mitigate potential risks more effectively.
Different types of business reports may be accessible to the general public. And if they’re not, specific situations may require a company to send them over to the person requesting them. That may happen if you’re considering a partnership with another company. Before making the final decision, you should learn about their financial health as every partnership poses a certain risk for your finances and/or reputation. Will this decision be profitable?
Having an insight into a company’s business report helps you establish vital business relationships. And it goes the other way around – any potential partner can request that you pull a business report for them to see, so writing business reports can help you prove you’re a suitable business partner.
In business, and especially in large companies, it’s easy to misplace information when it’s communicated verbally. Having a written report about any aspect of your business doesn’t only prevent you from losing important data, but it also helps you keep records so you can return to them at any given moment and use them in the future.
That’s why it’s always good to have a paper trail of anything important you want to share with colleagues, managers, clients, or investors. Nowadays, of course, it doesn’t have to literally be a paper trail, since we keep the data in electronic form.
Writing business reports helps you keep things transparent for the stakeholders, which is the foundation of efficient communication between these two sides.
You typically need to report to different people – sometimes they’re your managers, sometimes they’re a client. But your company’s stakeholders will also require an insight into the performance of your business, and relying on reports will help you maintain favorable business relationships. A business report shows you clearly how your company is performing and there isn’t room for manipulation.
Once you set business goals and the KPIs that help you track your progress towards them, you should remember they’re not set in stone. From time to time, you’ll need to revisit your goals and critical metrics and determine whether they’re still relevant.
When you write a business report and go through it with your team members or managers, you have a chance to do just that and determine if you’re efficient in reaching your goals. Sometimes, new insights will come up while writing these reports and help you identify new objectives that may have emerged.
Depending on your goals and needs, you’ll be writing different types of business reports. Here are five basic types of business reports .
Analytical report, research report, explanatory report, progress report.
Informational reports provide you with strictly objective data without getting into the details, such as explaining why something happened or what the result may be – just pure facts.
An example of this type of business report is a statement where you describe a department within your company: the report contains the list of people working in this department, what their titles are, and what they’re responsible for.
Another example related to a company’s website could look like this Google Analytics website traffic engagement report . As we explained above, this report shows objective data without getting too much into the details, so in this case, just the most important website engagement metrics such as average session duration, bounce rate, sessions, sessions by channel, and so on. Overall, you can use this report to monitor your website traffic, see which keywords are most successful, or how many returning users you have, but without further, in-depth analysis.
Analytical reports help you understand the data you’ve collected and plan for the future based on these insights. You can’t make business decisions based on facts only, so analytical reports are crucial for the decision-making process.
This type of business report is commonly used for sales forecasting. For instance, if you write a report where you identify a drop or an increase in sales, you’ll want to find out why it happened. This HubSpot’s sales analytics report is a good example of what metrics should be included in such a report, like average revenue per new client or average time to close the deal. You can find more web analytics dashboard examples here.
From these business reports, you can find out if you will reach your goals by implementing your current strategy or if you need to make adjustments.
Research is critical when you’re about to introduce a change to your business. Whether it’s a new strategy or a new partner, you need an extensive report to have an overview of all important details. These reports usually analyze new target markets and competition, and contain a lot of statistical data.
While not the same, here is an example of an ecommerce dashboard that could help track each part of a campaign in detail, no matter whether you are launching a new product, testing a new strategy, and similar. Similar to a research report, it contains key data on your audience (target market), shows your top-selling products, conversion rate and more. If you are an online store owner who is using paid ads, you can rely on this report to monitor key online sales stats in line with Facebook Ads and Google Analytics. See more ecommerce dashboards here.
As you might guess from its name, you write the explanatory report when it’s necessary for you to explain a specific situation or a project you’ve done to your team members. It’s important to write this report in a way that everyone will be able to understand.
Explanatory reports include elements like research results, reasons and goals of the research, facts, methodology, and more. While not exactly an explanatory report, this example of a HubSpot marketing drilldown report is the closest thing to it, as it helps marketers drill into an individual landing page performance, and identify how good their best landing pages are at converting, or which ones have the best performance.
A progress report is actually an update for your manager or client – it informs them about where you stand at the moment and how things are going. It’s like a checkpoint on your way towards your goal.
These reports may be the least demanding to write since you don’t need to do comprehensive research before submitting them. You just need to sum up your progress up to the point when the report was requested. This business report may include your current results, the strategy you’re implementing, the obstacles you’ve come across, etc. If this is a marketing progress report you can use marketing report templates to provide a more comprehensive overview.
In many companies, progress reports are done on a weekly or even daily basis. Here is an example of a daily sales report from Databox. HubSpot users can rely on this sales rep drilldown business report to see how individual each sales rep is performing and measure performance against goals. Browse through all our KPI dashboards here.
What does a great business report look like? If you’re not sure what sections your report should have, you’ll learn what to include in the following lines.
Business Report Formatting
Different types of reports require different lengths and structures, so your business report format may depend on what elements your report needs to have. For example, progress reports are typically pretty simple, while analytical or explanatory reports are a different story.
However, most reports will start with a title and a table of contents, so the person reading the report knows what to expect. Then, add a summary and move on to the introduction. After you’ve written the body and the conclusion, don’t forget to include suggestions based on your findings that will help your team create an actionable plan as you move forward.
After that, list the references you used while creating the report, and attach any additional documents or images that can help the person reading the report understand it better.
This outline may vary depending on what kind of report you’re writing. Short business reports may not need a table of contents, and informative reports won’t contain any analyses. Also, less formal reports don’t need to follow a strict structure in every situation.
Business Report Contents
When it comes to the contents of your report, keep in mind the person who’s going to read it and try to balance between including all the relevant information, but not overwhelming the reader with too many details.
- The introduction to the report should state the reason why you’re writing it, and what its main goal is. Also, mention what methodology and reporting software you’ve used, if applicable.
- The body of the report is where you’ll expose all your key findings, explain your methodology, share the important data and statistics, and present your results and conclusion.
- The conclusion , similarly to the summary you’ll add at the beginning of the report, briefly singles out the most important points and findings of the report.
If you decide to include more sections like recommendations, this is where you’ll suggest the next steps your team or the company may want to take to improve the results or take advantage of them if they’re favorable.
PRO TIP: Are You Tracking the Right Metrics for Your SaaS Company?
As a SaaS business leader, there’s no shortage of metrics you could be monitoring, but the real question is, which metrics should you be paying most attention to? To monitor the health of your SaaS business, you want to identify any obstacles to growth and determine which elements of your growth strategy require improvements. To do that, you can track the following key metrics in a convenient dashboard with data from Profitwell:
- Recurring Revenue. See the portion of your company’s revenue that is expected to grow month-over-month.
- MRR overview. View the different contributions to and losses from MRR from different kinds of customer engagements.
- Customer overview . View the total number of clients your company has at any given point in time and the gains and losses from different customer transactions.
- Growth Overview . Summarize all of the different kinds of customer transactions and their impact on revenue growth.
- Churn overview. Measure the number and percentage of customers or subscribers you lost during a given time period.
If you want to track these in ProfitWell, you can do it easily by building a plug-and-play dashboard that takes your customer data from ProfitWell and automatically visualizes the right metrics to allow you to monitor your SaaS revenue performance at a glance.
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Profitwell account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Note : Other than text, make sure you include images, graphs, charts, and tables. These elements will make your report more readable and illustrate your points.
Whether you’re writing a specific type of business report for the first time or you simply want to improve the quality of your reports, make sure you follow this comprehensive guide to writing an effective business report.
- Do Your Research
- Create an Outline
- Determine Formatting Guidelines
- Think of an Engaging Title
- Write the Introduction
- Divide the Body of the Report into Sections
- Choose Illustrations
- Conclude Effectively
- Gather Additional Documentation
- Add a Summary
- Proofread Your Work
Step 1: Do Your Research
A well-planned report is a job half done. That means you need to do research before you start writing: you need to know who you’re writing for and how much they know about the topic of your report. You need to explore the best business dashboard software and templates you can use for your report.
Also, if you believe you will need additional resources and documents to add in the appendix, you should do it during this phase of report writing.
Step 2: Create an Outline
Once you’ve gathered the resources, it’s time to plan the report. Before you start writing, create an outline that will help you stick to the right structure. A business report is complex writing in which you can get lost very easily if you don’t have a clear plan.
Moreover, the report shouldn’t be complicated to read, so sticking to a plan will allow you to keep it concise and clear, without straying from the topic.
Step 3: Determine Formatting Guidelines
Most companies have their in-house formatting that every official document has to follow. If you’re not sure if such rules exist in your company, it’s time you checked with your managers.
If there arent’ any guidelines regarding formatting, make sure you set your own rules to make the report look professional. Choose a simple and readable format and make sure it supports all the symbols you may need to use in the report. Set up proper headings, spacing, and all the other elements you may need in Word or Google Docs.
Pro tip: Google Docs may be easier to share with people who are supposed to read your business report.
Step 4: Think of an Engaging Title
Even if you’re writing a formal business report, the title should be clear and engaging. Reports are typically considered dull as they’re a part of official business documentation, but there’s no reason why you can’t make them interesting to read. Your title should suit the report topic and be in different font size so the reader can recognize it’s a title. Underneath the title, you should add the name of the author of the report.
Step 5: Write the Introduction
A good introductory paragraph for a business report should explain to the reader why you’ve written the report. Use the introduction to provide a bit of background on the report’s topic and mention the past results if there’s been a significant improvement since your last report.
Step 6: Divide the Body of the Report into Sections
As this will be the most comprehensive part of your report, make sure you separate the data into logical sections. Your report is supposed to tell a story about your business, and these sections (such as methodology, hypothesis, survey, findings, and more) will help the data look well-organized and easy to read.
Step 7: Choose Illustrations
Of course, each of these sections should be followed with charts, graphs, tables, or other illustrations that help you make a point. Survey results are typically best displayed in pie charts and graphs, and these enable the reader to visualize the data better. From the formatting point of view, breaking the long text sections with illustrations makes the report more readable.
Pro tip: Using centralized dashboard solutions like Databox can bring your reporting game to the next level. Sign up for a forever-free trial now to see how you can use Databox to track and visualize performance easier than ever before .
Step 8: Conclude Effectively
Finish your report with a to-the-point conclusion that will highlight all the main data from the report. Make sure it’s not too long, as it’s supposed to be a summary of the body of the report. In case you don’t want to add a specific section for recommendations, this is where you can include them, along with your assessments.
Step 9: Gather Additional Documentation
If you’ve determined what additional documents, images, surveys, or other attachments you may need for your report, now is the time to collect them. Request access to those you may not be able to get on time, so you have everything you need by the deadline. Copy the documents you can use in the original form, and scan the documents you need in electronic format.
Step 10: Add a Summary
The summary is usually at the top of the report, but it’s actually something you should write after your report is completed. Only then will you know exactly what your most relevant information and findings are, so you can include them in this brief paragraph that summarizes your report’s main points.
The summary should tell the reader about the objective of the report, the methodology used, and even mention some of the key findings and conclusions.
Step 11: Proofread Your Work
It may seem like common sense, but this final step of the process is often overlooked. Proofreading your work is how you make sure your report will look professional because errors can ruin the overall impression the reader will form about your work, no matter how great the report is.
Look for any spelling or grammatical mistakes you can fix, and if you’re not sure about specific expressions or terminology, use Google to double-check it. Make sure your writing is to-the-point and clear, especially if you’re writing for people who may not know the industry so well. Also, double-check the facts and numbers you’ve included in the report before you send it out or start your reporting meeting.
Business Report Examples (with Ready-to-Use Templates)
Here, we’re sharing a few business reporting examples that you can copy, along with ready-to-use and free-to-download templates. If you don’t know where to start and what to include in different types of business reports, these business report examples are a great way to get started or at least get some inspiration to create yours.
Activity Report Example
Annual report example, project status report example, financial report example, sales report example, marketing report example.
Note : Each of the business report templates shared below can be customized to fit your individual needs with our DIY Dashboard Designer . No coding or design skills are necessary.
For reporting on sales activity, HubSpot users can rely this streamlined sales activity report that includes key sales metrics, such as calls, meetings, or emails logged by owner. This way, you can easily track the number of calls, meetings, and emails for each sales rep and identify potential leaks in your sales funnel. Check all our sales team activity dashboards here. Or if you are looking for dashboards that track general sales performance, browse through all Databox sales dashboards here.
If you’re preparing for annual reporting, you will benefit from choosing this HubSpot annual performance report . It contains all the relevant metrics, such as email and landing page performance, new contacts, top blog posts by page views, and more. See all our performance dashboard templates here.
Project status reports can be very similar to progress reports. If you’re in need of one of those, here’s an example of a Project overview dashboard from Harvest that shows that can help you create simple, but well-organized report based on metrics that matter: hours tracked, billable hours, billable amount split by team members., and more. Check out more project management dashboard templates we offer here.
Are you creating a financial report? You will find this QuickBooks + HubSpot integration a great choice for a financial performance dashboard that makes creating a report simple. This dashboard focuses on the essential financial report
ting metrics and answers all your revenue-related questions. See all Databox financial dashboards here.
If you’re tracking your sales team’s monthly performance, this sales report template will help you prepare an outstanding report. Check out all the vital productivity KPIs, track your progress towards your goals, and understand well how your current sales pipeline is performing. See all sales performance dashboards we have available here.
Marketing reports can be easily prepared by using this monthly marketing report template . With HubSpot’s reporting, you can determine where your website traffic is coming from, how your landing pages and specific blog posts are performing, and how successful your email campaigns are. Browse all Databox marketing dashboards or marketing report examples here.
Create a Professional Business Report in No Time with Databox
Does creating a business report still sound like a daunting task? It doesn’t have to be with Databox.
In times when we’re all trying to save our time and energy for things that matter rather than scattering valuable resources on tedious, repetitive tasks, it’s critical to optimize your business process. And we want to help you do just that.
Using a business reporting dashboard enables you to track data from all the different tools you’re using – but in one place. With Databox, you can monitor and report on performance in a single dashboard that is optimized for all your favorite devices and you can create streamlined and beautiful dashboards even if you are not that tech-savvy. (no coding or design skills are required).
Automating business reporting has never been easier. And with Databox, you can do exactly that in just a few clicks. Sign up now and get your first 3 business dashboards for free.
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What is a Business Report: How To Write it? (Examples & Format)
Table of Contents
This is a detailed guide to what is a business report, explained with examples, types, importance, and features, and how to write it with elements and a checklist.
Definition of business report
“A business report is an orderly, objective communication of factual information that serves some business purpose”. By Raymond Vincent Lesikar, and John D. Pettit
What is a Business Report?
A business report is a formal document that provides an analysis of a specific business issue or situation. It typically includes detailed information on the topic at hand such as data, research, and other relevant sources.
Business reports are used to make business decisions, identify problems or opportunities, or track progress toward goals. They are often written for an internal audience, such as managers or executives, but may also be shared with external stakeholders, such as investors or clients.
Business reports should be well-structured, concise, and objective, presenting findings and recommendations in a clear and easily understandable format. They may include charts, graphs, and other visual aids to help illustrate key points.
Difference between Market Report and Business Report
A business report typically focuses on a specific company’s performance, operations, and financial results. It can provide information on topics such as sales trends, revenue growth, expenses, and profitability.
In contrast, a market report focuses on the broader market landscape and provides information on the trends, opportunities, and challenges in a specific industry. Market reports can include information on market size, growth potential, competition, and consumer behavior.
While both reports aim to provide useful information for decision-making, their focus and scope are different, with business reports focusing on internal operations, and market reports focusing on external market factors.
Difference between a Business Report and a Business Plan
A business report is a document that provides detailed information on a specific aspect of a company’s operations, such as financial results, sales trends, customer feedback, or employee performance. It is used for decision-making, tracking progress, and communicating with stakeholders.
On the other hand, a business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s goals, strategies, and tactics for achieving success. It typically includes an analysis of the market, a description of the company’s products or services, an overview of the management team, and a financial plan that details how the company will generate revenue and manage expenses over time.
How to Write a Business Report
Writing a business report can be a valuable tool for analyzing and presenting information related to a company’s performance or a specific business project. Here are some steps to follow when writing a business report:
1) Determining the purpose: Before writing the report, it’s important to define the purpose of the report. The writer must know what type of report they are writing and why it is being written. This helps in better research and writing.
2) Check target audience: After determining the purpose of the report, the writer must keep in mind who the report will be addressed. This can help in effectively conveying the message to the concerned persons.
3) Gather information: The writer must then gather data and conduct research. It is necessary to use credible sources such as industry reports, financial statements, or market research studies to collect relevant data.
4) Analysis of the supportive information: This is the main body of the report where the writer will present their findings. They must make sure to use data and statistics to support conclusions. This section can include charts, graphs, and tables to make the information easy to understand.
5) Findings and recommendations: Once the writer has presented their findings, they can draw conclusions and make recommendations based on the analysis. This is where they can suggest ways to improve the company’s performance or make recommendations for future business projects.
6) Determining report format: Before writing the report, the writer must determine what kind of business report it is. This is done so they can structure the report in a logical and easy-to-follow way. They can create outlines that include headings, subheadings, and sections to organize the information in a clear and concise manner.
Elements of a Business Report
A business report consists of three main elements – Front Matter, Body of the Report, and Back Matter.
The format of a business report is as follows:
(A)Front Matter: The front matter of a business report is the first section of the report and provides essential information about the report’s contents and purpose. It includes the following elements:
- Cover Page: This is the first page of the report, typically including the title, author or authors, date, and company logo.
- Title Page: It follows the cover page and provides more detailed information about the report.
- Table of Contents: It is also included in the front matter and provides an outline of the report’s contents, including headings and subheadings with page numbers.
- Executive Summary: It provides a brief overview of the report’s main findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
A portion of the executive summary in the business report: An executive summary is a brief overview of a business report that highlights the main points and conclusions of the report. It is usually the first section of the report that the reader sees and is often used as a standalone document for busy executives who need to quickly understand the report’s key findings. The purpose of an executive summary is to provide a concise and clear picture of the main purpose of the report, the methods used to gather data, the key findings and conclusions, and the recommendations based on those conclusions.
(B) Body of the Report: The body of a business report is the main section of the report where the writer presents the data, analysis, and interpretation of the findings in a clear and concise manner. It contains the following elements:
- Introduction: The introduction gives a background on the problem or issue being addressed in the report, the objectives of the report, and an explanation of the report’s scope.
- Methodology: It is a description of the research methods used to gather data and information for the report.
- Results: This section highlights the presentation of the findings or data gathered during the research phase, including tables, graphs, and other visual aids to support the information.
The importance of tables and graphs in a business report: Tables and graphs are important elements in a business report because they can help to communicate complex data and information in a visual and easy-to-understand way. They are useful for presenting large amounts of data in a clear and concise manner, making it easier for the reader to interpret and understand the information presented.
- Discussion: An analysis and interpretation of the results, including the significance of the findings and their implications.
- Conclusion: The conclusion contains a summary of the main points made in the report, including the conclusions drawn from the analysis and any recommendations for action.
- Recommendations: Finally, the recommendation section contains specific actions or strategies that are proposed to address the problem or issue being investigated in the report.
(C) Back Matter: The back matter of a business report is the section that comes after the main body of the report and includes any additional information that may be useful for the reader. This section may include
- Appendices: This contains additional materials such as charts, graphs, or data that support the report but are not included in the main body of the document.
- References: This contains all the citations and references used in the research and collection of data for the report.
- Glossary: A glossary lists the technical terms used in the report with their meanings and descriptions.
Must Read : What are the parts of a business report
How should headings be used in business reports?
Headings are an essential tool for organizing a business report and making it easy to read and navigate. Headings should be clear and descriptive, giving the reader a sense of what each section will cover.
They should also be formatted in a way that makes them stand out from the rest of the text, such as by using bold or larger font sizes. They should be used consistently throughout the report to guide the reader through the various sections and sub-sections.
When using headings in a business report, it is important to follow a logical and hierarchical structure. The main heading of the report should clearly state the purpose of the report and provide an overview of the main points that will be covered. Subheadings should be used to break down the report into smaller sections, each covering a specific topic related to the overall theme of the report.
Examples of business reports
Below we have listed business reports of some top companies along with the business performance metrics.
Topics for writing Business Reports Importance of the communication process ? Non-verbal aspect of business communication? Modes of the communication process? Changing patterns of business correspondence? Types of barriers in business communication ? How to overcome barriers of communication in an organization ?
Most common types of Business Reports
In business communication, there are many different types of business reports , with each type designed to provide specific information about a particular aspect of a company’s operations. Some common types of business reports include:
1) I nformational Report: This type of business report provides factual information on a particular topic or issue, without making any recommendations or drawing conclusions.
Further Reading : How to Write an informational report
2) Analytical Report: These reports use data and analysis to draw conclusions and make recommendations. It typically includes an executive summary, introduction, methods and results sections, and a conclusion with recommendations.
3) Routine Report: These reports are produced on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly. It typically provides updates on specific activities or tasks, such as progress on a project or sales figures for a given period.
4) Informal Business Report: An informal business report is less structured and formal than other types of business reports. It may be used for internal communication between colleagues or departments and can include memos, emails, or short notes.
5) Short Report : This type of business report is concise and to the point, typically no more than five pages in length. It is often used to communicate a specific issue or recommendation quickly and may include only the most essential information.
Must Read : List of different types of business reports with classification
Importance of Business Reports
Business reports are an important tool for organizations to communicate and document important information related to the business. Some of the key reasons why business reports are important to include:
- Evaluation: Business reports can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of specific initiatives or programs by tracking progress toward goals and measuring outcomes.
- Communicating with stakeholders: Business reports can be used to communicate important information to a range of stakeholders, including investors, customers, suppliers, and employees.
- Supports decision-making: Business reports can provide the information and analysis needed to make informed decisions about business operations, investments, and strategies.
- Providing a record of performance: Business reports can provide a historical record of the organization’s performance, documenting trends and changes over time.
Must Read : What is the importance of a business report
Characteristics of Business Reports
A good business report should have the following characteristics:
1) Purpose: Business reports are written with a specific purpose in mind, such as informing a decision, presenting research findings, or providing updates on a project or initiative.
2) Audience: Reports are tailored to the needs and interests of the intended audience, which may include executives, managers, stakeholders, or external clients.
3) Structure: The report must have a clear and standardized structure, which typically includes an introduction, background information, results, analysis, recommendations, and conclusions.
4) Objectivity: Reports are expected to be objective and unbiased, and to present information and analysis in an accurate and factual manner.
Must Read : What are the characteristics of a good business report
Advantages and Disadvantages of Business Reports:
In this section, we will look at a few advantages and disadvantages of business reports .
- Business reports provide clear and concise information about various aspects of a business, such as financial performance, market trends, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity.
- Business reports can be used to share information among employees, departments, and stakeholders. This facilitates communication and collaboration, allowing everyone to stay informed and work together towards common goals.
- Business reports can be time-consuming to create, especially if they require extensive research and analysis. This can be a burden on employees who are already busy with their regular responsibilities.
- Depending on the length and complexity of the report, it can be overwhelming for readers to process and understand all of the information contained within it. This can be especially true if the report is full of technical jargon or financial data that may not be familiar to all readers.
Must Read : Advantages and disadvantages of business reports
What is a Small Business Report
A short business report is a concise document that provides a brief summary of key information related to a specific business topic. Short reports are typically between one and five pages in length and are often used to communicate information to a specific audience.
Short business reports typically include an introduction that highlights the context of the report, a summary of the key points or findings, and a conclusion or recommendation. They may also include supporting data, such as charts, graphs, or tables, to help illustrate key points.
Must Read : What is a small report and how to write a small report with examples
What is the Significance of Business Report Writing in Business Success?
Business report writing is a critical tool for achieving success in business. Reports provide valuable information to business owners and managers that can be used to make informed decisions, identify improvement areas, and create growth strategies.
They also facilitate communication within the organization, allowing employees and stakeholders to stay informed about the business’s progress and work together towards common goals. Business reports can be used to help plan for the future and set goals, and promote accountability by tracking and reporting on performance metrics.
Checklist for making your Business Report Reader-Friendly
Here is a checklist for making your business report reader-friendly:
- Use clear and concise language: Avoid using technical jargon and complex language that may be difficult for readers to understand. Use simple, clear language that is easy to read and comprehend.
- Organize your report effectively: Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break up your report into smaller, more digestible sections. This makes it easier for readers to navigate and find the information they are looking for.
- Use visual aids: Incorporate graphs, charts, and tables to help illustrate key points and make the information more engaging. This can help readers understand complex data more easily.
- Proofread your report: Ensure that your report is free of grammatical errors, typos, and other mistakes. This can help make your report appear more professional and increase the credibility of the information contained within it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) what is the purpose of a business report.
Ans: The purpose of a business report is to communicate relevant information about a company’s performance, activities, or other important data to various stakeholders, including executives, shareholders, employees, customers, or external partners. They also help in decision-making, evaluation, and keeping a record of business activities.
Q2) What are the important principles of a business report?
Ans: The important principles of the business report are the principle of objectivity, the principle of knowing your target audience, the principle of planning & framework, the principle of clarity, the principle of organizing your report, and the principle of evaluating information.
Q3) What are the 5 main parts of a business report?
Ans: The 5 main parts of a business report include a title page, executive summary, table of contents, findings, and discussion, and finally, the conclusion and recommendations.
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A Business Encyclopedia
Definition : Business Report implies a formal document that presents facts, information, arguments, statistical data, analysis of research, etc. related to business interest, in a systematic manner. It is factual, orderly and unbiased communication, prepared to serve a business purpose. It is an analysis, evaluation, assessment or review of specific events, issues, set of circumstances, etc which concerns the enterprise. Business Reports are helpful in:
- Evaluating or reviewing progress
- Taking necessary actions
- Decision making
It discloses the key issues, determines gaps, gives reasons for those gaps and suggests possible outcomes. Therefore, the person writing report must give emphasis on three components:
The creation of business reports needs thorough investigation. After that, the presentation of the report to the interested parties takes place. It is a means of upward communication. It enables communication to flow from lower level to upper level.
The use of abbreviated style is common in preparing business reports. This is because it allows the reader to go through the report at a glance and locate key elements. For this purpose, headings, sub-headings, bullet points, charts, tables, figures, graphs, etc are included in it. This helps in communicating the information in a concise manner.
A business report can be as short as one or two pages or it can be as long as a hundred or more pages.
The term ‘Report’ is originated from the Latin word ‘ reportare ‘ that refers to carry back. Therefore, to report means to describe some event carried back to a person who was not present .
Characteristics of a Good Report
- Accuracy : Business Report should be accurate. That is to say, all the facts in the reports should be true, exact and genuine.
- Relevant : It must include only those facts, figures and information which is pertinent to the report.
- Precise : Unity, coherence and brevity must be maintained in the report. Also, it should be abridged so that the reader can easily navigate the report and locate the main elements.
- Objective : Recommendations that the report offers should be the logical conclusion of the research findings and analysis. In addition, it should be unbiased as well as must not cover the interest of the person preparing the report.
- Clear : The writer should maintain clarity in thoughts while preparing the report. Also, he should identify the source first. After that, present and arrange all the findings in an orderly manner. Also, he should divide them into short paragraphs in a logical fashion. To aid the flow of information, he ought to provide suitable headings.
- Reader Oriented : One must prepare the report keeping in mind the type of reader who is going to read the report. In other words, whether they are knowledgeable persons like Directors, Managers, Supervisors, and so forth. Or they are workers and shareholders who don’t have much knowledge.
- Simple and Unambiguous : One should use simple and unambiguous language to write a report. It is a business document with a general-purpose utility, so it should not create confusion.
Elements of Business Report
There are five main elements of a business report which are:
- Executive Summary
- Key Findings
A lengthy report also includes table of contents and index
Principles of Drafting Report
There are six principles of writing reports. These are principles of:
- Purpose : Report must have objectives for which the report is written.
- Organization : Right and logical sequencing of the report is necessary.
- Clarity : It should use simple and clearly understandable language. Also, it should be free from technical words.
- Brevity : It indicates the conciseness of the report. Brief reports are easy to prepare, analyse and present.
- Scheduling : Assignment of task and delegation of authority is required. This ensures least burden on a person to prepare a report. Also, adequate time is to be given to get data, prepare and analyse reports.
- Cost : It indicates cost-effectiveness regarding the preparation of the report.
Example of Business Report
Format of Business Report
Report Writing Process
The report writing process involves the following steps:
- Determining the objectives of a report from the terms of reference.
- Investigating sources of information
- Taking notes of all the relevant information, evidence and data.
- Compilation, classification and tabulation of data
- Data Analysis
- Making an outline
- Drawing inferences or conclusions
- Making suggestions or recommendations, if required
- Preparation of Draft Report
- Making all the relevant corrections and changes in the draft report
- Final report preparation
- Submission of the report to management.
A word from Business Jargons
In conclusion, a report is nothing but a presentation and summation of facts in a logical manner. In addition, assignment and writing of business reports enable managers to make decisions when they cannot observe the physical and human resources directly.
- Types of Business Report
- Audit Report
- Secondary Data Collection Methods
- Written Communication
- Management Accounting
Eunice Otieno says
April 3, 2023 at 8:51 pm
very clear and smart
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- Steps in Report Writing: Report Writing Format
Report writing is a formal style of writing elaborately on a topic. The tone of a report and report writing format is always formal. The important section to focus on is the target audience. For example – report writing about a school event, report writing about a business case, etc.
All your facts and information presented in the report not only have to be bias-free, but they also have to be a 100% correct. Proof-reading and fact-checking is always what you do as a thumb rule before submitting a report.
One needs to write reports with much analysis. The purpose of report writing is essential to inform the reader about a topic, minus one’s opinion on the topic.
It’s simply a portrayal of facts, as it is. Even if one gives inferences , solid analysis, charts, tables and data is provided. Mostly, it is specified by the person who’s asked for the report whether they would like your take or not if that is the case.
In many cases, you need to be clear about your own suggestions too for a specific case after a factual report. That depends on why are you writing the report and who you are writing it for in the first place. Knowing your audience’s motive for asking for that report is very important as it sets the course of the facts focused in your report .
These different kinds of reports are also covered in our previous chapter in reports writing. We recommend you to read our chapter on kinds of reports before diving into the report format. Now that we have some idea about report-writing, let’s get straight into our report writing format.
Report Writing Format
Following are the parts of a report format that is most common..
- Executive summary – highlights of the main report
- Table of Contents – index page
- Introduction – origin, essentials of the main subject
- Body – main report
- Conclusion – inferences, measures taken, projections
- Reference – sources of information
Let us understand each one of them in detail.
You summarize the main points of the report, such as the report topic, the data obtained, the data analysis methods, and recommendations based on the data. The summary could be as short as a paragraph or as long as five pages, depending on the length of the full report.
Usually, the recipient of the report doesn’t always have the time to read through the entire report. This summary gives the reader a gist of the important points.
Remember that although attached as the first page, this summary is always putting a perspective for the entire report, meaning that effort-wise, the writer always needs to include it at the end.
Most importantly, the summary should contain:
- the purpose of the report
- what you did (analysis) and what you found (results)
- your recommendations; these recommendations should be short and not go beyond a page
Table of Contents
The report should begin with a table of contents. This explains the audience, author, and basic purpose of the attached report. It should be short and to the point.
This section is the beginning of your report. It highlights the major topics that are covered and provides background information on why the data in the report was collected. It also contains a top view of what’s covered in the report.
The body of the report describes the problem, the data that was collected, sometimes in the form of table or charts , and discusses with reasons. The body is usually broken into subsections, with subheadings that highlight the further breakdown of a point. Report writing format is very specific that way about clear and crisp headings and subheadings.
This just structures out readers clarity in understanding and further enhances the logical flow that can get hard to follow. Since a report has no personal bias or opinions, you can imagine that reading through a report can be a bit boring and people may find it hard to follow through. In such a case, it’s always best to create pointers and lay out the points in short and simple methods .
Note: Tables and figures must all be labeled
At the end of our main body lies the tying of ends together in the much-awaited conclusion . The conclusion explains how the data described in the body of the document may be interpreted or what conclusions may be drawn. The conclusion often suggests how to use the data to improve some aspect of the business or recommends additional research.
This solution then may be implemented to solve a given problem the report was made for in the first place. Big consultancies or service providers prepare reports in the form of Microsoft Powerpoint or the Keynote in Mac to present to the stakeholders. At the end of which lies the conclusive suggestion section.
If you used other sources of information to help write your report, such as a government database, you would include that in the references . The references section lists the resources used to research or collect the data for the report. References provide proof for your points. Also, this provides solid reasoning for the readers so that they can review the original data sources themselves. Also, credit must be given where credit is due.
Lastly, comes the appendix. Although this one is not necessary, more like an optional element. This may include additional technical information that is not necessary to the explanation provided in the body and conclusion but further supports the findings, such as tables or charts or pictures, or additional research not cited in the body but relevant to the discussion. Note: Tables and figures must all be labelled.
In case you want to closely look at report writing format example or take a look at the report writing sample, our next chapter will have a clear example of the same. Stay tuned.
- Tips and Conventions with Sample Reports
- Kinds of Reports
- Introduction and Essential Elements of Report Writing
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How to Write a Business Report
A business report is a collection of data and analyses that helps make relevant information easily accessible to a company. There are many different types of business reports, but this guide will show you the basic outline.
Before You Begin:
- Think about your audience and their expectations, and plan your report accordingly. For example, are they expecting a formal or informal report? Do they have an understanding of the vocabulary/terms used? Do they require more background information? Do they need to be heavily persuaded?
- What is the purpose of the report? Make sure this is clear.
- Gather and organize your supporting information/data/visuals.
- Focus on the facts.
- Make sure to be clear and concise, so the report is easy for everyone to read and understand.
- Use a professional, standard font in a readable size.
Components of a Business Report
- Table of Contents: Depending on the length of the report, you might want to consider including a table of contents. This will make finding specific information easier for readers.
- Tip: Even though this is the first section, consider writing this section after you have finished the report. This will help you determine which points are the most important to address.
- Introduction: This section outlines what you will be going over in your report. It includes the main points, chosen report structure, and, most importantly, the objective of your report.
- Conclusion: In the conclusion, be sure to briefly summarize all of the main points in the order they were presented in the report.
- Recommendations: This section is where you provide your recommendations or suggestions based on the findings you noted in earlier sections. Indicate the potential benefits for the company to applying your suggestions.
- References: Be sure to cite all sources used in the report in this section.
- Appendices: In the Appendix, you can add relevant documents, surveys, graphs, etc. that you referenced in the report.