How to Write a Business Report
Business reports help many people address most important problems, evaluate future perspectives, and make important decisions. Business report writing requires you to have some practice, so there’s no surprise if you suddenly realized that such a task is too difficult. First of all, you have to better understand the task itself, so let’s take a closer look at business reports and their purposes.
Types of Business Reports
Before you start writing a report, you have to decide what type of a business report you need.
- First of all, a report may present a certain idea. Such reports are called recommendation/justification reports. They are aimed to provide management with suggestions that may simplify decision making. The structure of such reports consists of a summary and a body. The summary section describes the request, and the body part explains all the benefits, drawbacks, and costs of such a solution, as well as other details.
- Another type of reports considers risks associated with a certain opportunity. These reports are called investigative reports, and they are aimed to present possible consequences of a certain course of actions. Such essays start with an introduction that indicates considered problems. The body part of an investigative report provides readers with results of an investigation and with relevant facts about possible actions and their consequences.
- Compliance reports are used to illustrate the accountability of a company. In this case, the body of a report provides many specific details and facts that must convince a certain government structure that a company follows all laws and rules and that it spends money properly.
- Another type of reports is focused on the feasibility of a certain product or idea. Feasibility reports perform an exploratory function and include two most important parts: the summary and the body. Just like in previous types, the summary introduces the idea, while the body part provides a detailed overview of problems, benefits, costs, etc.
- Research studies reports are aimed to present a research on a certain problem. The subject of such reports is often a very specific issue that requires a detailed consideration. These reports include an abstract, introduction, conclusion, and particular sections devoted to the results of the research and its methods.
- Periodic reports are aimed to help a company improve the quality of its products and policies, illustrating statistical data for different periods, losses, profits, and other important metrics.
- Another type of business reports focuses on various specific situations. Situational reports may consider different situations from conferences to extraordinary problems like natural disasters. They consist of three parts (introduction, body, and conclusion), presenting possible actions and addressing a situation as a whole.
- Yardstick reports consider a given situation, presenting several possible solutions. An author of the report considers all possible solutions, providing his or her opinion on which of them is the most profitable one, as well as suggesting available alternatives.
How to Write a Report
First, decide what issue you’re going to address, and what format fits your purposes best. Your objective must be concise. Otherwise, you risk to confuse your audience and lower the credibility of the report. Focus on concrete issues and provide a clear point.
Think of your audience because it determines what information you will focus on, and how you will write the entire paper. If your audience consists of people who don’t work in your company, you may want to choose a different way of presentation than in case you’re talking to colleagues. Think how the audience can apply your information. This issue is really important, and we suggest focusing on it in the conclusion. However, no matter what is your targeted audience, the main subject of your paper must be money. Don’t forget that real figures speak louder than a long sophisticated analysis.
The most difficult thing about business reports is not the writing process itself but your need for collecting necessary data. All your thoughts must be supported by facts, so before you start writing, identify what information you need and what data is crucial for the understanding of the addressed issue in details.
Collect necessary information and make sure that you use only facts that are directly related to the topic. Usually, you will need only internal data, so you will likely gather it fast. In case you need some external data, consider possibilities to get it internally by cooperating with various departments of your company. Business reports don’t require you to provide a first-hand research, so you may use any available information.
Organize Your Report
To make your report easy to read and understand, divide all your information into several sections. Each section must include its header. The properly organized structure also gives you an opportunity of considering each section separately, while talking to each particular department.