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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.
Business Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Format)
The shift from academic writing, such as essays and articles, to complex business reports, can be scary!
A business report is needed in almost any field of work. These are fact-based documents that are used to make decisions in a business.
You can use business reports for several purposes such as pitching an idea, analyzing an idea, pitching a merger, analyzing a merger, proving that your company complies with legal and social guidelines or any specific topic related to your job and work.
So if you have a job, it is crucial that you understand the concept of business reports and how to write them effectively.
In this article, we will talk about the different types of reports and their purpose, the importance of business reports, and how to structure your own in an impactful way!
But hey, first thing first. Let’s understand the concept of business reports a little better.
What is a Business Report? (Definition)
A Business report is defined as an official document that contains factual information , statistical data , research findings , or any other form of information relevant to the course of the job.
This report is a formal document written to-the-point to convey information in a concise yet clear manner. Business reports are majorly used for internal communication within an organization.
Objectivity is a major element while writing business reports. Whatever you say should be supported by data and facts, not opinion and perspective. For example, instead of saying ‘ sales in the last quarter were very low’, you show it by means of data.
The report can vary from one page to several pages depending on the purpose and type of report, which brings us to the second part: Types of Business reports.
Types Of Business Reports
There are many types of business reports used in an organization for various purposes. Obviously, you cant use the same report to analyze employee performance and sales in the last quarter, right?
Here are some common types of business reports:
1. Informational reports
You use this report when your boss asks for data that is purely objective i.e., just plain facts without any reasoning or potential outcomes. For instance, a workforce report stating the number of employees in the company, their duties, department of work, and responsibilities.
Read more: How to Write Project Reports that ‘Wow’ Your Clients? (Template Included)
2. Analytical Report
As the name suggests, this report is used when some critical company data has to be analyzed in order to make informed decisions.
For instance, analyzing the sales drop in the last financial year. This report consists of sales numbers, a comparison of those numbers with earlier years, and finding reasons for the fall. The report will also indicate possible measures the company can take to solve this problem.
3. Research Report
You use a research report when something big is coming up! It could be a potential merger, or a new product line, or a shift in the current way of working.
A big change requires a comprehensive report studying all its implications. For example, if the company wants to introduce a new product, the research report will consist of elements like target audience , marketing communication strategy , advertising campaigns, etc.
4. Explanatory Report
You use this report when you want to explain your individual project to the entire team. Let’s suppose you performed research.
An explanatory report will showcase the facts, list the findings, and determine the conclusion of the research. It should be written in very simple, concise, and clear words. Although the readers are mostly peers of the same industry, jargon should be avoided.
5. Progress Report
This is a small report used to notify updates in a company.
How was the previous week?
How is the sale for this quarter coming along?
What is the percentage change in conversions since the last week/month?
Questions like these are answered in a progress report. It does not contain analytics. Only information and changes.
Progress reports are a good medium for companies to track their day-to-day work and come up with new ideas for growth and expansion.
Still not convinced? Here are 4 compelling reasons why business reports are important for efficient workflow in an organization.
Read more: What is a Progress Report and How to Write One?
Importance of Business Reports
1. mode of communication.
You know how you text or call in daily life to communicate? In businesses, reports are prepared for it. We can say that business reports act as a medium of communication in an organization.
But why is it done?
Well, in big companies, there is an entire line of workflow that takes place. It is also known as a delegation of duties. In this workflow, there are branches, sub-branches, departments, and niche specific zones. If communication is done verbally, information may get lost or contaminated.
So for every important piece of communication, a written report is created. Anyone who needs access to that information can read the report and equip themselves with first-hand data.
2. Decision making
Thinking about launching a new product line? Prepare a report.
Aiming to cut company costs? Prepare a report.
From deciding the target audience to laying off employees, every decision is taken on the basis of detailed reports prepared with facts and stats.
Reports are transferred two-way in an organization. Employees create business reports and send them to higher management for decision making. Upper management creates reports to circulate information, tasks, etc. among the workforce.
3. Crisis management
In case of a crisis, chaos, and panic outbreaks, everyone has an opinion on the matter, and the transfer of thoughts verbally gives rise to workplace gossip.
In such a situation, business reports are created to get everyone on the same page and then factually analyze the problem.
Crisis management reports comprise of the cause of the issue, steps to take for damage control, and policies suggesting future protection from such crisis.
4. Effective management
The delegation of duties is done via reports. Every employee has their own to-do tasks with an assigned deadline. This helps in more sound and effective management of the company.
All the information is in viable written documents, decisions are taken upon careful analysis, and the overall functioning of the company is better using business reports.
So now that we know that we HAVE TO prepare business reports to survive in the corporate world, let’s move on to the next and probably the most important section where we teach you how you can get started on writing a proper report.
Read more: Business Requirements Document (BRD): What, Why, and How to Write?
How to write a business report? (Steps and Format)
Follow this step-by-step guide to create your powerful business report:
Step 1: Create a plan of action
You are writing a business report, not a school essay. You can’t base your report on thoughts as and when they come. Before starting the report, identify its purpose.
Define what you aim to achieve with the report and how you plan to present it. Do not beat around the bush! This will help you write a clear and concise report.
Step 2: Check for an in-house format
Your company may have a specific format for writing reports. Ask your supervisor or check the company’s handbook to find it. Do not blindly trust the internet.
However, if no such format is specified, you can use the standard global format listed in the following steps.
Step 3: Add a title
The title of the report may be specified in the brief you received from your supervisor. If not, you may write your own title. It should be clear, crisp, and be able to convey the purpose of the report.
You should avoid using very long and complicated titles. For instance, use ‘Sales report for FY 2020-21’ instead of ‘Analysing the customer interaction with the company in the last 12 months in comparison to previous years’. People will yawn and leave the room at the start of your report!
Also, add your name and the names of other people involved in making the report. Portraying someone else’s background hard work as your own is highly unethical in the workplace.
Step 4: Write a table of contents
You should include a table of contents page only if the report is long and contains sub-sections.
If this page is added, make sure to write contents exactly in the manner headings are written inside the report. All the contents should be properly numbered for the reader to easily navigate through the report or jump on a specific section.
Step 5: Add a Summary/ Abstract
This is a very important page in any report. You should write the abstract in such a manner that even if a person does not read the entire report, this page can give them a clear and detailed idea of the entire thing.
It should contain your title, issue, key findings, and conclusions. You should basically summarise everything you wrote in the report to fit in the abstract.
Step 6: Write an introduction
Now begins your actual report. On this page, specify the purpose of writing the report along with a brief idea of the main argument.
You can also include some background of the topic on this page.
Step 7: State your methodology
On this page, tell the readers how you created this report. It includes the sources of information, type of data (qualitative or quantitative), channels of receiving information, etc.
This is to equip your readers with the process you went through or, as we can say in the urban slang, the BTS of the report. It makes your report more credible.
Step 8: Present your findings
This is the main section where you present your findings. It should convey that you have done thorough research. So include stats, facts, and graphs to portray the information.
To prevent it from getting messy, align the data into various headings and subheadings. Use pointers, bulleted, or numbered whenever required.
Step 9: Give a conclusion or recommendation
End your report with a compelling conclusion. This should be drawn from previously stated findings.
You can also give recommendations for change or improvement in a policy, supported by valid documentation. The conclusion should come off strong, based on factual data, not biased views or opinions.
Step 10: Add bibliography and references
Adding this section is a legal compulsion in any report wherein the data is taken or inspired from previously published sources.
Let us explain it simply. If you have added any data or statistics in your report, you must give due credit to the original author. Else, it counts as plagiarism, which is a punishable offense.
Also, note the difference between references and bibliography, and don’t confuse the two!
Here’s an example:
Suppose you read a business report online and got inspired by it. Although, you didn’t use any of its data in your own report. In this scenario, you will list that report under the bibliography section.
However, if you took data from that report to directly include in yours, you will list that in the reference section.
Step 11: Proofread
Proofreading or revising is very important before finalizing a report. In this section, check for any spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or punctuations. These are small mishaps that can make a very bad impression.
Also, while proofreading, check the citations, footnotes, appendices, etc, according to the company standards. There may be guidelines you missed while writing the report!
Bit.ai : The Ultimate Tool For Writing Business Reports
With its new-age cloud technology bit gives your business report superpowers!
You can choose from pre-designed templates and just worry about putting your content into it.
With Bit’s smart integration, you can add rich media elements like cloud files , charts , pdfs, embeds, diagrams , graphs, and much more into your business reports within seconds.
Not only this, bit.ai lets you work with your team in real-time. You can co-edit and use inline comments to bring your colleagues to the same place to make decisions related to your business reports.
You even have document tracking to see who is opening your report and how much time they spent on it.
Few more business templates you might be interested in:
- SWOT Analysis Template
- Business Proposal Template
- Business Plan Template
- Competitor Research Template
- Project Proposal Template
- Company Fact Sheet
- Executive Summary Template
- Operational Plan Template
- Pitch Deck Template
As we have seen, writing a business report involves a lot of aspects. All of the time and energy is consumed in writing engaging content, and one tends to forget about the design element.
Yes, the design is a very important aspect of any report. When your report is visually appealing, it engages the reader and stands out in a room full of black and white text.
…and bit helps you do just that!
On bit, you can edit the document according to the type of report you created without compromising on the design. Play around with hundreds of fonts, themes, and color palettes with Bit to create an impact on your work!
Which was your last business report that really brought about a change? Which tool did you use to make it?
Tweet us @bit_docs and let us know!
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Bit.ai is the essential next-gen workplace and document collaboration platform. that helps teams share knowledge by connecting any type of digital content. With this intuitive, cloud-based solution, anyone can work visually and collaborate in real-time while creating internal notes, team projects, knowledge bases, client-facing content, and more.
The smartest online Google Docs and Word alternative, Bit.ai is used in over 100 countries by professionals everywhere, from IT teams creating internal documentation and knowledge bases, to sales and marketing teams sharing client materials and client portals.
👉👉Click Here to Check out Bit.ai.
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4 Tips to Writing Excellent Business Reports
Business memos and reports, like business writing of any kind, are largely purpose-driven - there's some new idea to propose or important results to convey. The most successful way to deliver purpose-driven material is through clear and concise writing. Think carefully about the elements that need to go into creating sharply-written, persuasive, and even-toned business writing. Follow these four tips on how to write a memo or report.
Define Your Purpose
Identify your purpose before you start writing your memo or report. It will save you lots of time rewriting later on and prevent a sense of aimlessness from creeping into your content.
Use the strategies of investigative writing to get the ball rolling. Answer the questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Are you addressing a quality assurance team about a change in a project deadline or coworkers about an office party announcement? Why is the subject of your memo or report important? If you're addressing an issue, how do you intend to solve it? What is your call to action - how do you want readers to respond? Once you've nailed down some solid responses, you're ready to fill in the blanks.
Use Concise, Active, Engaging Language
When you're writing a business memo, focus on getting the point across quickly without sacrificing a professional tone. Be clear and concise. Don't stray from your point and don't burden the text with dense language or unnecessary jargon. Use simple language, but don't be boring either. Keep your content engaging by using active sentences. Watch for passive or wordy expressions, like "it might be very helpful to check your inbox often." Just say, "Check your inbox often."
Organize Your Ideas for Clarity and Coherence
Your business report or memo needs to represent a logical progression of thought to make it easy to read and all the important details easy to grasp. Make an outline for yourself that can help you create a clear structure to follow.
- Outlining Guide: Begin with an introductory section, and end with a concluding section. Write a brief description for each topic or title in your outline to help you flesh out your thoughts and rearrange the structure of the outline as needed. A general guide to follow is: 1. Introduction or Background, 2. Purpose, 3. Investigation or Explanation, 4. Results and/or Conclusion, and 5. Suggestions for Action or Description of an Action.
- Example of a Memo Outline: Look at this sample outline for a memo about a change in payroll deadlines: 1. Give background of issue with former payroll dates, 2. State purpose of memo: to inform employees a change has been made, 3. Describe what this change will mean or how it may affect other office schedules, 4. Affirm that the change will make improvements. 5. Invite employees to send any questions or concerns.
- A Word on Formatting: The format of a document is a part of its presentation. Your office likely has a preferred formatting style for different types of business documents. Adhere to those specifications. Sometimes they can help organize the structure and flow of your ideas.
Edit, Proofread; Do It Again
Coming up with what you want to say is just a small percentage of writing. Editing and proofreading is most of the work. When you've finished writing your memo report, it's time to cut away everything that doesn't serve the purpose of the content. Reread your writing often, ideally after every significant edit, and read it out loud. It's easier to catch mistakes when you can actually hear them. Step away from your report and come back an hour, or several hours, later. You'll see it with a fresh eye and likely notice something you didn't before.
Following these tips should give you an inspiring nudge in the right direction; go write a business memo that sells.
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Business Report: What is it & How to Write a Great One? (With Examples)
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 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.
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 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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5 Tips for Writing a Brilliant Business Report
- 9th May 2021
Companies use business reports to analyze information and inform decisions. But how do you write an effective business report? We have a few tips to share:
- Plan your business report based on what you want to achieve.
- Structure your report carefully so that it is easy to follow.
- Make your report easy to skim read and include an executive summary.
- Use a professional, authoritative tone throughout.
- Proofread your report to ensure it is error free.
For more on all the above, read our full guide below.
1. Decide Which Type of Report You Need
Before you start, you need to be clear about the type of report you need. This will depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Some common report types include:
- Recommendation reports – Recommendation reports weigh up potential courses of action with the aim of recommending the best option available.
- Compliance reports – These reports analyze whether an organization is following all relevant laws, standards, and regulations. The aim is to highlight areas where the company is performing well, but also areas for improvement.
- Feasibility reports – A feasibility report or study explores the risks, costs, and benefits of a plan or proposal to determine whether it is realistic.
- Progress reports – A progress report examines an organization’s or team’s progress in meeting a specific goal, aiding project management.
Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can plan your report accordingly.
2. Structure Your Business Report
A business report should be structured logically to make it easy to follow. This means breaking the information down into distinct sections with clear headings.
Most business reports contain some or all of the following sections:
- Title page – A page setting out key details, such as the report title, the name(s) of who it is for and who prepared it, and a date of completion.
- Table of contents – Include a list of contents for any report more than a few pages long. You could also include a list of tables and charts if relevant.
- Introduction – A section setting out the report’s subject matter and scope.
- Methods and findings – Details of how you conducted your research and the key findings achieved. Use charts and graphs to present key data.
- Conclusions and recommendations – A section (or two) to show what you have learned from your findings and the course of action you recommend.
- Bibliography and appendices – If you have cited any sources in the report, make sure to include a bibliography at the end of the documents. You can also include appendices for in-depth data or extra documentation.
For more information on structuring a business report, see our post here .
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3. Make Your Report Easy to Skim Read
If time is money in the business world, you’ll want to make your report easy to skim read. There are a few ways you can do this, including:
- Make sure each section has a clear, descriptive heading.
- Write in clear, concise language , avoiding unnecessary jargon.
- Vary sentence length, and avoid long run-on sentences where possible.
- Use lists and bullet points to set key information apart from other text.
- Break up big blocks of text into shorter paragraphs to boost readability.
In addition, think about including an executive summary . This is a document that presents the key details of your report in an easily digestible fashion.
4. Use a Professional, Authoritative Tone
A business report should be professional and authoritative in tone. To achieve this:
- Read and follow your company’s style guide (if they have one).
- Use formal English , including standard spelling and punctuation.
- Try to maintain an objective, impersonal voice .
- Minimize use of hedging terms , such as “seems” or “feels.”
- Use full names and titles when referring to individuals.
- Back up claims with data wherever possible.
- Reference any sources you have used clearly and consistently.
This can give your analysis and recommendations more weight.
5. Proofread Your Business Report
Finally, never settle with a first draft! When you are done, take a break to gain some distance, then reread your report to look for issues such as:
- Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
- Unclear or overly complex language that your reader may struggle with.
- Big blocks of unbroken text that could be presented more clearly.
- Inaccurate or misleadingly presented data.
- Missing or inconsistent citations and references.
It is also a good idea to get your report proofread professionally, and Proofed has expert editors on hand who can do just that. You can even get a 500-word document checked for free , so why not sign up for a free trial of our services today?
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10 Tips to Write an Effective Business Report [Templates Included]
A business report is an essential business communication tool that we must have come across during our careers. A regular office day is overwhelmed with emails, conferences, webinars, client meetings, team follow-ups, letters, advertisements, and so much more. Amid all these documents, we cannot miss the pressing issues like financial operations, marketing campaigns progress, business strategy, product development, and return of investment. Let us know more about the business reports along with few tips to write an effective one!
Business reports are vital to sharing information with the concerned authorities and stakeholders in a well organized and structured manner. They help in explaining the development forecasts, identifying trends, guiding budget planning, and investigating irregularities. Business reports encourage transparency and help keep every concerned person on the same page and improve the organization’s decision-making.
There are different business reports for every functional area, like financial reports, operational analysis reports, inventory stock reports, trend analysis reports, performance reports, and market analysis reports. Based on facts, research, and analysis, an effective business report conveys the purpose in a clear and concise writing manner. An effective business report helps create strategies and recommendations for improving business by a persuasive formal writing style. Let us walk you through 10 Tips to Write an Effective Business Report for Entrepreneurs.
10 Tips to Write an Effective Business Report
- Understand the audience
Ensure that the audience develops interest by answering the question- “What’s in it for me?” The inclusion of the trigger points of the audience’s interest helps in better engagement. The business report should be straight to the point and satisfy the reader.
- Define the purpose of a business report
Identifying and defining purpose saves a lot of time. Time is money, especially in corporate ambiance, and so the business report should be concise. A business report should focus on specific points and information so, refrain from adding vague information. An effective business report aims to include answers to Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the business issue.
- Keep a neutral tone
As you might be addressing the business report to a higher authority, keep the business report neutral and formal. Use passive voice to emphasize the action and not the person. Active voice sentences are usually shorter and give clarity to the reader.
- Develop a clear framework for the business report
While writing, the chain of continuity of business events or activities must be maintained throughout the business report. A structured framework ensures that no vital information is left unattended.
- Gather and organize data
Extensive topic research and gathering data is the key to the subject matter of the business report. Gather information from various sources like business journals and online articles to get the topic’s grasp.
- Analyze the data
A thorough and comprehensive data analysis helps in driving to the conclusion and improves decision making.
- Use illustrations to support the data
A quantitative and statistical business report must contain tables, charts, and graphs to back up the claims and conclude.
- Ensure good readability
The business report should split the content into sections, use headings, sub-headings, and bullet points for good readability.
- Stick to only one topic per page or slide
This avoids overwhelming data and gives the spotlight to each topic. Addressing a single subject per page or slide clarifies the issues and its proposed solutions.
Proofread and edit the business report to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Writing a business report using the tips shared above can serve the purpose impactfully. Entrepreneurs are swamped up with tons of work and find the task of writing business reports time-consuming and exhausting. SlideTeam professionals are here at your service with contemporary designs for convincing your audience. We have designed some of the most sought after business report templates, which are a must for entrepreneurs. Download our Top 10 Business Report Templates and present your business information impressively.
Without any further ado, let’s scroll down!
Top 10 Business Report Templates to Download
Give an executive summary to your stakeholders by introducing this pre-built business report template. With this stunning complete deck’s help, you can discuss the key performance indicators, team goals, and operational challenges. This business report comprises a business report which is comprehensively researched for the entrepreneurs to present their findings.
Download Yearly Business Plan Report Template
Highlight the goals and objectives of your enterprise by incorporating this editable business report template. Give the financial summary in tabular form using this customizable, complete deck. Elaborate on the revenue streams and risk mitigation plan by introducing this stunning business report template.
Elaborate on the marketing and sales activity by downloading this amazingly designed business report template. Illustrate the key deliverables and timelines with the help of this striking complete deck.
Highlight the performance management criteria for your firm by utilizing this contemporary business report template. Managers can discuss balanced scorecard implementation in detail by downloading this ready-made complete deck.
Elaborately present the sales performance reporting by utilizing this contemporary business report template. You can discuss the ROI and product-wise development with the help of this amazingly designed business report template.
Illustrate the balanced scorecard implementation across departments with the help of this professionally designed business report template. You can also showcase the performance dashboard by downloading this complete deck.
Give details of the investment plan by downloading this comprehensively researched business report template. Using this complete deck, you can illustrate the competitive analysis and overview of equity research to the clients.
Give the market overview, target audience, and market size insights to the colleagues with this content-ready business report template. Present the market trends impressively by utilizing this special business report.
Elaborate on the digital marketing activities by downloading this comprehensively researched business report. As this complete deck is entirely editable, you can modify the content as per the business requirement.
Discuss the merits of audit reports for stakeholders by downloading this content-ready business report template. The color palette used here instantly grabs the attention of the viewer and hence serves the purpose.
By following the tips to Write an Effective Business Report and taking advantage of our pre-designed Top Business Report Templates, you can establish a good impression on your audience and convey the business information effectively across the board.
Related read: Top 10 Academic Report and Document Templates
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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.
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How to Write a Business Report
Last Updated: December 13, 2022 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Michael R. Lewis . Michael R. Lewis is a retired corporate executive, entrepreneur, and investment advisor in Texas. He has over 40 years of experience in business and finance, including as a Vice President for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. He has a BBA in Industrial Management from the University of Texas at Austin. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 12 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 731,423 times.
Business reports are one of the most effective ways to communicate in today’s business world. Although business reports' objectives are broad in scope, businesses or individuals can use them to help make important decisions. To write an effective business report, you first need to understand what it is and how it can be used.
Deciding What Type of Report to Write
- For example, you want a 3D printer for your division. To convince your manager to requisition one, you would write a justification/recommendation report to formally ask the management team for the printer.
- For instance, say pharmaceutical company X wants to partner with pharmaceutical company Y but has some concerns. Company X doesn’t want to partner with a company that has current financial problems or has had financial problems in the past. Company X conducts an investigation and uses an investigative report to discuss in-depth financial information on company Y and its directors.
- For instance, CALPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) needed to show its board of administration that it followed all applicable laws and rules in 2010. It put together an annual compliance report to show their activities for the year.
- Can this project be completed within its budget?
- Will the project be profitable?
- Can this project be completed within the allotted time frame?
- For example, a business might conduct a company-wide study on whether to ban smoking in its employee lounge. The person who writes up the study would produce a research studies report.
- For instance, a pharmaceutical sales representative might provide a monthly summary of his or her sales calls.
- As an example, a state’s governing body would like a situational report after a hurricane.
- For instance, ABC Auto Manufacturing, Inc., wants to open a plant in Asia. The report might narrow down three country options based on the company’s needs. The report would then conclude which of the three countries is the best location for the new plant.
Writing a Business Report
- Regardless of the answer, you need to make your objective concise. If it is muddled, then your report will only confuse your audience, which risks damaging the report's credibility.
- For instance, you may want to accomplish receiving a larger advertising budget for your department. Your report should focus on the current advertising budget and how you might effectively use a larger budget.
- Remember that regardless of your audience, no bottom line speaks louder than money to a company or client.
- For instance, say you want to implement a job-share program for your division. You decide your target audience is the company’s HR director, CEO and COO. Consider how much they likely know about job-share programs already. The answer will set the tone for the report. If your company has never considered a job-share program, then the report will be both informational and strategic. If the company has considered a job-share program, then the report will be less informational and more persuasive.
- Data may come internally, which means you'll be able to collect it quite quickly. Sales figures, for example, should be available from the sales department with a phone call, meaning you can receive your data and plug it into your report quickly.
- External data may also be available internally. If a department already performs customer analysis data collection, borrow that department's. You don't need to conduct the research on your own. This will be different for every type of business, but the writer of a business report often doesn't need to conduct firsthand research.
- For instance, if you are writing a justification/recommendation report, then you have to research all the benefits of your proposed idea and incorporate the research into your report.
- Break up relevant data into separate sections. A business report can't be a big flood of figures and information. Organizing the data into separate sections is key to the success of a well-written business report. For example, keep sales data separate from customer analysis data, each with its own header.
- Organize the report into appropriate section headers, which may be read through quickly as standalone research, but also supporting the basic objective of the report together.
- Since some of the sections may depend upon analysis or input from others, you can often work on sections separately while waiting for the analysis to be completed.
- Any goals should include specific, measurable actions. Write out any changes in job descriptions, schedules or expenses necessary to implement the new plan. Each statement should directly indicate how the new method will help to meet the goal/solution set forth in the report.
- The executive summary gets its name because it's likely the only thing a busy executive would read. Tell your boss everything important here, in no more than 200-300 words. The rest of the report can be perused if the boss is more curious.
- Generally speaking, visual figures are a great idea for business reports because the writing and the data itself can be a little dry. Don’t go overboard, though. All infographics should be relevant and necessary.
- Use boxes on pages with a lot of text and no tables or figures. A page full of text can be tiresome for a reader. Boxed information can also effectively summarize important points on the page.
- Use the appropriate formatting for the citations in your report, based on your industry.
- For example, don’t overuse fancy words or make your sentences too wordy.
- Avoid using slang.
- If your report and audience are both closely tied to a specific industry, it's appropriate to use jargon or technical terms. But you have to take care to not overuse jargon and technical terms.
- Generally, business writing is written in the passive voice , and this is one of the few instances where passive writing is usually better than active writing.
- You can often miss errors while proofreading your own work due to the familiarity from writing it. Consider asking someone else in your department who wants the report to succeed to read over it as well. Be open to the feedback. It's better to hear about mistakes from a co-worker than from a boss. Review each comment from the peer review and rewrite the report, taking comments into consideration.
- This applies to any graphs or charts included in the report as well.
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- ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/formal-business-report-example
- ↑ https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/lbcctechwriting/chapter/7-7-feasibility-reports/
- ↑ https://www.adelaide.edu.au/writingcentre/ua/media/44/learningguide-businessreportwriting.pdf
- ↑ https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/learning-teaching/support/approach/steps-to-teaching-success/resources/WSBG-report-writing-guide-2017.pdf
- ↑ http://wac.colostate.edu/teaching/tipsheets/writing_business_reports.pdf
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/how-to-write-a-business-report
About This Article
To write a business report, start with an introduction that presents a clear idea, problem, or objective. Next, present the facts, focusing on one main idea per paragraph, and discuss benefits and possible risks associated with your objective. Then, present your research and proposed solutions. Be sure to organize the data into separate sections based on subject matter and include section headers for readability. Finally, summarize the main points of your report in the conclusion. For tips on formatting different kinds of business reports, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to write a business report with ease
When it comes to sharing facts about your business, there are few better ways to communicate than through a formal business report. Business reports are often required to analyze past performance and make informed decisions about the future.
Knowing how to write a business report is an important skill, no matter what industry you're in. Today, we'll help you learn more about how to create a professional business report so you can more confidently share your business ideas with others.
What is a business report?
A business report is an official document to convey factual data about your business. Business reports can contain data, statistics, or any other information related to your company or industry.
A business report may simply be designed to convey information about your organization or your past financial performance. But business reports are often created to propose a new business idea or make decisions regarding your corporate strategy. This is why it's essential to hone your report-writing skills — so you can make a good impression and help guide the management of your company.
Types of business reports
Business reports come in different varieties, and each serves a slightly different purpose. Here are some of the most common forms:
Informational reports are some of the most direct and simplest to write. They're designed to convey objective facts. Informational reports are often used to compile background information about the company or the industry, presenting statistical data on market performance, the number of employees, and other relevant data.
A progress report is usually created to provide an update on a specific project or set of goals. For example, a progress report might include data on how sales are improving over the quarter, or it may highlight specific benchmarks associated with the completion of a particular project.
As with informational reports, a progress report doesn't seek to interpret data — it only sets out to present objective facts.
An analytical report is used when a financial decision is on the horizon. An analytical report will present data just like an informational report, but this type of report goes one step further by providing a detailed analysis of the data.
This type of analysis can be helpful when you want to examine efficiency for a particular process or if your company is looking to perform a SWOT analysis to explore your organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
You can generate a compliance report when your organization needs to confirm accountability to industry or legal regulations.
For example, you can use a compliance report to demonstrate that your organization is spending money according to federal regulations or that you're adhering to specific environmental protocols in the way you conduct business.
Investigative or feasibility report
An investigative report analyzes the risks associated with a particular project and presents key findings so that you can decide whether to move forward with an investment or idea.
A feasibility report is very similar, but rather than analyzing risks associated with a proposed idea, a feasibility study determines whether a particular business venture is possible. For example, you could use a feasibility report to decide whether an organization can afford to offer a specific product or service.
A periodic report simply refers to a report generated on a recurring basis. This can be scheduled or unscheduled. It presents data relating to the past quarter, fiscal year, or other specified period of time.
As the name suggests, a situational report is specific to a particular event. Information gained from a web seminar, for example, could be compiled into a situational report.
A yardstick report is a slang term given to business reports that propose several solutions to a single problem. This helps companies brainstorm new approaches to historical challenges and refine their strategies for the future.
Research studies report
A research studies report (also called a "research report") presents research and statistics on a particular problem or issue. A research report is usually created when you face a major decision and need as much factual information as you can get to make the right call.
Even though the research you'll be sifting through may be advanced, you'll still want to be clear and concise and avoid any technical terms or insider jargon. Remember, the easier it is to understand, the simpler it will be to make an informed decision.
How to write a business report for your company
How to write a business report
Before you start researching and writing, you'll want to determine your exact plan. What is the purpose of your report? Who is your target audience? How do you intend to accomplish your goals? Your report's purpose might actually be given to you, especially if your report is made upon the request of upper management. If so, make sure to refine your goal carefully and ask any questions that can help you zero in on the exact aims of the finished document.
If you're working at an established company, you may be expected to adhere to company standards for writing a business report. Check to see whether there is a specific format you're expected to follow. You can also ask for copies of past business reports so you can match your organization's guidelines.
Here's where the fun begins! You'll want to gather as much data and information as possible about your report's topic. For reports about your own organization, you might rely on your company's internal reporting processes to provide up-to-the-minute sales data, employee records, or other important findings. Data about your industry might be found through online resources and popular journals. However, make sure to use reputable sources and note the references you use for inclusion in your bibliography.
Once you've organized your research data, you're ready to start writing. To start, you'll want to present the reader with a clear introduction. A good introduction will: - Help the reader understand the purpose of the report - Provide a summary of the main argument - Present any background on the subject matter of the report - Define any key or unfamiliar terms This sounds like a lot, but you'll want to be as concise as you can in your introduction. You'll present a more detailed explanation in later sections.
Next, you'll want to briefly explain how you acquired the information contained in your business report. You can simply give a brief overview of how you located your data, as well as how you analyzed your findings.
The main body of your business report will contain all the information necessary to accomplish the report's purpose. This will likely be your longest section, so you'll likely want to split your findings into multiple sub-sections to make it easier for your reader to follow along. The structure of this section should be clear and simple to follow. Make sure to use titles for each sub-section you include to help your reader understand the data that they're reading in your reports. Remember: you're not trying to draw conclusions just yet. Instead, you're presenting your findings in a clear, objective manner.
When writing a business report, you'll always want to end well. Your conclusion should summarize your main points and draw out the implications of your research findings. For example, your research could lead to the conclusion that your organization is not spending money properly. You can use this specific opportunity to make a recommendation in this section. Typically, you'll want to write a report that contains specific recommendations and measurable actions for the future. These conclusions can help with your organization's decision-making processes, so it's important to be clear and direct.
After your conclusion, you'll likely want to include a quick bibliography that lists any references and sources used to obtain your findings. This helps the reader know where to look to double-check any facts or data you've included in your report.
The executive summary and cover page appear first in your report, but you'll actually write these sections last. The executive summary should be a brief summary of your most important points, providing the reader with a one-page synopsis of the focus and conclusions of your business report. Instead of writing out long paragraphs, you can write quick bullet points to summarize the main contents of your report. Your executive summary should still follow the basic structure of the report itself, but provide a digestible version of your report for easy reading. You can also add a cover letter to your report. A cover letter can serve as an introduction to the report for any readers who might be unfamiliar with your organization or industry.
Longer reports can benefit from a title page and table of contents page. These can appear on the same page, but you might also consider using a separate table of contents page. Your table of contents should match the structure of the report itself (introduction, contents, conclusion, etc.) so that it's easy for readers to find the sections they need. Remember, your title page will not be numbered, so you'll actually start numbering your pages with your executive summary.
Tips for writing a business report
Writing business reports will get easier with time. But you'll always want to follow a few basic tips to help you write a report that's professional and helpful for your business.
Determine your purpose
First, always make sure you understand the purpose of the report. Are you simply presenting facts or are you performing a detailed analysis? Keeping your purpose in mind will also help you when attempting to draw conclusions after writing the report.
Avoid personal pronouns
Casual business writing can include personal pronouns ("I," "we," etc.). However, you'll want to avoid these on a formal report, as it simply makes your writing look informal and unprofessional. Likewise, avoid gendered pronouns like "he" or "she" and instead refer simply to "the client" or "customers."
Proofread, proofread, proofread
Don't just rely on spell check to distinguish between "there," "their," and "they're." Proofread carefully, looking for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes.
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Frequently asked questions
Need some help writing your report? Here are answers to some of today's most-asked questions.
Your organization may set the format of your report, but generally, every report should contain: - An executive summary - An introduction - Results/data - A conclusion/recommendation section - A bibliography Longer reports might also include a title page or table of contents and other supporting documents to provide additional data.
Typically, business reports are used by: - Upper management - Shareholders - Lenders - Business partners The report helps all interested parties understand what's happening in your organization and make decisions about future investments and other key decisions.
You may be asked to write the entire report on your own, but you might also collaborate with other members of your organization. Your accounting department, for instance, might have valuable data about the associated costs of particular projects that can help you write a more accurate, detailed report.
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The definition of report writing is creating an account or statement that describes in detail an event, situation or occurrence, usually as the result of observation or inquiry. The two most common forms of report writing are news report wr...
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In this video, you'll learn more about writing a powerful business report.
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