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.
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?