Writing a Business Report
We have designed this lesson to help our users develop better skills for writing business reports. We will specify different parts and aspects of business report writing and outline a comprehensive process for creating a winning business report. If you have a panic attack each time you have to write a business report, this blog is for you. The main thing you need to remember while working on your business report is facts – they are everything that matters in business report writing. Your task is to assemble and organize your facts and data in such a way that they bring meaning to your readers.
So, just to begin – a business report is a formal written type of document, which incorporates all information and facts a business needs to make strategic and tactical decisions. Business reports are produced with a single purpose –to inform businesses and provide the data they might need to make decisions and promote their effectiveness and efficiency. A typical business report contains factual information about profits, revenues, effectiveness, productivity, and other data to help businesses navigate across the most competitive environments. This is why it is so important to structure a business report accordingly.
Business Report Components
Imagine a situation – Josh is a top manager of a large corporation, and one of his subordinates has accumulated a lot of factual data regarding the problems experienced by workers in terms of productivity and efficiency. He will produce a business report that will contain the following elements.
All business reports should begin with an executive summary. Imagine that an executive summary is a brief combination of the most important and meaningful facts. An executive summary is written to cover the central points of the business report, so that every reader knows what to expect in the body of the document. It will include the purpose, the main data, methods of analysis, as well as the most valuable results. The length of the executive summary will vary, depending on the length of the report itself. Sometimes it will be just a tiny paragraph. Sometimes, it will be two-three pages long. It will always be the first thing the reader sees when reading the report, but it will always be the last thing to be written.
Table of Contents
Table of contents is optional. It is suitable when the business report is long and contains rich information. It will be more convenient for Josh to use the business report when it has a table of contents.
Now it is time to start writing the report. All business report should begin with an introduction. It provides background information and sets the context for the rest of the business report. The introduction offers an insight into the problem to be covered in the report and justifies its importance. For instance, Josh’s subordinates will say that poor workplace performance compromises the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization, supplying just some basic information about the effects of poor performance on the organization, such as decreased revenues and lower employee satisfaction.
Now it is time to write the body of the business report. It will provide the most detailed information about the issue, its effects on the organization, data available to support the problem, methods of data collection, as well as the most important results. No matter how short or long the body is, it should be divided into several sections and subsections. For example, it can contain a section devoted to poor workplace performance, a section devoted to the effects of such performance on the organization, as well as the section devoted to recommendations.
Finally, the report must contain a conclusion. It will wrap up and summarize the key facts and decisions highlighted in the body of the business report. The conclusion must also contain valid recommendations for the organization, based on the data provided in each section. For example, the organization may want to expose its workers to additional training opportunities to improve their skills and build their job satisfaction.
If the report makes references to external sources, they must be properly cited and referenced. A list of references must be included to help the reader trace the origins of external data. It must contain each and every reference used in the report.
Finally, a business report may include one or several appendices. Not all business reports have an appendix. You are the one to decide if one is needed. At times, appendices provide valuable information to help readers understand the issue and justify potential solutions. At other times, appendices are used to share graphic or numerical information that will make the body of the report redundant but is still necessary to inform readers. Information and analytical business reports will contain different types of appendices, and it is the author who must decide when and how they can be appropriate.