In this guide, you will learn about what is business communication report writing. How to draft a business report, what are the objectives & characteristics of writing a report with live examples.
What is a Business Report
A business report is a formal documentation consisting of theoretical and quantitative information about a business. It is highly research-based and backed up with data, facts, and analysis.
It is to be noted that every business communication report serves a purpose for business. It should help the organization to make sound decisions based on data and accurate information.
A formal business report is drafted in an orderly manner starting with:
According to finereport a business report is defined as
A business report is a formal document that objectively provides statistical data, summarizes historical facts, and sometimes offers reasonable recommendations for a company’s managers.
Types of Business reports
1) Informational Reports
A business uses this report to provide clear but descriptive information. The report does not involve any personal opinion but is more objective. For example the number of branches a business has. The amount of revenue generated by these branches. The number of employees it contains etc.
2) Analytical Report
As the name suggests, this report represents an analytical framework for the business. Which can be used by various departments such as sales, HR, administration, or finances for strategy implementation.
A business that wants to grow 20% by the next quarter would require an analytical report to analyze its competitor, customer preferences, sales channels, and external factors to reach its goal.
3) Research Report
One of the key driving forces for any business is a research report. To grow sustainably the business needs to offer new products and services and identify new market opportunities.
To do so, the business needs to focus on research and collecting consumer data that would help the departments to produce new products and test the new market as per the changing environment.
4) Routine Report
Routine reports are prepared to assess the daily activities of a business. A manual audit is conducted for all processes and SOPs followed by departments. This allows the business to look for deviations and inconsistencies, and measure the performance.
Routine reports are more concise in nature and avoid long descriptions. These reports are often used by managers and senior executives to make the team work smoothly and efficiently.
5) Progress Report
Also known as an after-work report. Represent the progress and analysis of the effort and action implemented by the team. The progress report measures the improvement and compares it with the benchmark set. If the effort outcome is not up to the mark, then corrective actions are taken by the firm.
Related Readings: Types Of Business Reports In Business Communication
The objective of business communication report writing
The objective of a business report should be clear and purpose-driven. There are more chances of getting wrong interpretations if the objective of the report is not set.
To set the objective the managers need to identify gaps and assess improvements the report will initiate. The overall aim of any report should be to help the organization to take corrective action and maintain the efficiency of a business.
Moreover while drafting the report it is also important to make sure that the report is not biased as there is no room for subjectivity.
How to draft a report
After understanding the types and the objective of the report now it’s time to put it in place. This phase involves planning the structure of the report and including the relevant information. A proper format for your business report should be followed for its acceptance.
Key points to address while structuring the report
1) The type of the report:
As discussed above there are many types of reports a business can create. So it is important to select the right report according to the objective set.
2) The mission for the report:
Understanding the purpose of the team needing the report is crucial. It will help you to look for questions, queries, or doubts the report can solve. After all, every report will serve as a decision-making tool for top management. Thus keeping in mind the purpose of creation, will help you move forward.
3) The goal of the report:
Always state the objective of the report on the first page. This will help you stay on topic and avoid including personal viewpoints.
4) The variable of the report studied:
In every report, you need to set variables for comparison and testing. Variables allow you to prove your hypothesis and reach the conclusion.
5) The sample size:
To provide valid facts and figures you need to be aware of your testing audience and sample size. This will help you answer the questions such as from where the data is going to be collected? The primary and secondary source of your report?
6) Tool to analyze the Data:
What tools and software are you going to use for validating your data? The analysis technique should be clear before reaching any conclusion.
7) The problems addressed, and the results:
The report should address the problem and the finding you received. It makes it convenient for the reader to read the report and interpret the findings.
At times business communication reports are informal in nature. Meaning you need to have your own recommendation, and suggestions at the end of the report.
This is one of the most important aspects of any report. You need to mention your reference so that your organization can trust your study and can make informed decisions.
Elements of business report
1) Outline for the report:
Always create an outline before writing your report. This gives you a clear idea of the format and points you need to cover in your report. Just think of it as an index page where you write all the subheadings that would exist within the report.
2) Title of the report:
The title page of your report consists of a topic in the heading style following with submitted by and submitted to names. If you are executive preparing the report then you can include your name under the submitted section. The date of submission should also be mentioned on the title page.
3) Executive summary:
The executive summary is been used to briefly explain the core theory of your report to the reader. It contains information in a concise manner covering each section of the report.
It is usually drafted using a word count ranging from 200 to 300. The executive summary also talks about the findings of the report and the supporting resources used.
The intro section is the first point of interaction for your report. The executive starts the introduction by explaining the reason for the report, the background of the topic chosen, and how the report helps in tackling the problem mentioned.
It is very important to keep the intro section to the point without going into a deeper explanation. The readers are looking for a simple introduction with clear objectivity within the intro.
5) Cornerstone the main message:
The core crust of your report should be clearly visible within your study. Highlight your key findings and make sure they are visible throughout your whole report.
6) Update report with valid facts:
As discussed above, include all relevant data and figures to support your conclusion. Always remember data speaks for itself so make sure they are accurate and reliable.
7) Include pictorial graphs for elements and data sets:
Make your report more visually appealing, add diagrams and charts for better representation. Nobody likes to read a wall of text, so take care of your visual representation.
8) Use slippery slides to maintain interest:
Use bullet points where you think the content is too technical to read. Using short paragraphs for creating slippery slides, generates interest for the reader to read more content.
9) Final check before delivering:
Before submitting the final copy, make sure you revise the report and check all the facts and figures mentioned. You can also take feedback from your peers and colleagues.
Check out our detailed guide on elements of the business report to know more.
How to organize your report
There are three basic forms in which a report is organized.
1) Letter Form:
The letter form follows a standard approach beginning with the date of writing, address line, and a clear subject at the top left corner. The next phase starts with the main body which includes a brief explanation of the concern raised. Ending up with an appreciation to read followed by signature and reference.
2) Memorandum Form:
Memorandum form reports also known as memo reports are the most used reports in business communication. The structure is as follows
To: For whom the report is for
From: By whom the report is written
Date: The date of writing the report
Res: The subject for writing the report
Main Body: Covering the concern raised in detail
3) Letter-Text Combination Form:
The most authoritative reports are formed by Letter-Text Combination. The writer assemble this report into three parts which include-
- Introductory Start:
This section includes the writer’s name and the concerned party along with the date of writing.
A concise overview of the report is given with a table of content at the beginning. This section also includes acknowledgement for the supporter of the report.
- The body part of the report:
The main body section starts with the intro for the subject along with the objective of the report. The next phase covers the description in detail, with proven facts and figures. Finally, the report is presented with a valid conclusion.
- The Appended:
This section of the report is presented with all the references and support material used. It Includes all the primary and secondary sources for the data collected.
Real Examples of Business Reports
How to write a conclusion in a business communication report
The conclusion is the most important aspect of your written report format, it helps you to answer the question raised within your report. A business report conclusion should summarize the purpose behind the report with supportive findings.
The conclusion should logically describe the outcome of the report and should be relatable at the same time. Make sure the conclusion does not introduce a new concept altogether leaving the reader in confusion. If required the writer of the report can also use data and facts from the report findings to support its conclusion.
Based on the conclusion drawn the recommendation should be thematically aligned with the report summary for a better course of action.
The recommendation section needs to be futuristic and should define a plan of action for the organization. A business report conclusion and recommendation would help the organization to come up with answers to questions like,
- What is needed to be done?
- How it is going to be done?
- And Who is going to do it?
Therefore the recommendation should be drafted by analyzing the report carefully as it can affect the overall productivity of the organization.
Business report conclusion example
The above conclusion example from a business report summarizes the need for multi-cultural training for employees and managers in an Australian company.
The company should give importance to cross-cultural communication and should maintain a diverse culture for employees for a cooperative environment.
Characteristics of a good report (Checklist)
Solve a purpose:
Every report is meant to accomplish a goal. Therefore it is crucial to keep the purpose in mind while preparing the report.
No matter how in-depth the report is. If it is not drafted keeping in mind the audience’s needs, it won’t have a significant impact.
Reliable & backed with facts:
Your report should always back your claim and the information presented.
A formal business report should always be well-structured and formatted.
Easy to skim:
A business report should be formatted into smaller sections so that it becomes easy for people to find what they are looking for.
Use of simple Language:
Using too many abbreviations and difficult words can be confusing. You want people to understand your content easily.
Every report is prepared around an objective. A report should always give solution-oriented alternatives to tackle the problem faced by the organization.
The theory mentioned in the report should be relevant to the context of the problem being solved.
Related Reading: Characteristics And Features of a Good Business Report
Importance of report writing in business communication
Help the organization achieve its objectives:
A well-structured report can allow businesses to make informed decisions. Look for various alternatives to solve complex business problems and achieve the overall objective. All the alternatives found are backed by real feedback and data collected through primary and secondary research.
Reports are also prepared to evaluate the performance of employees and check their progress. They are easy to read and instant feedback can be given to employees for improvements. Large organizations also rely on digital reports that are easily transferable and stored.
Analysis of the report can help businesses to take corrective action and mitigate the risk of the business.
Businesses represent their financial position at the end of the financial year. An annual report is used to showcase the performance of the business. This is crucial data that helps shareholders to make informed decisions for their investments.
Old reports can be compared with current time reports to look for deviations and improvements. Businesses can repeat the actional plan that worked in the past after comparing for better results.
Related Readings: Importance of Report Writing In Business Communication
Business communication report topics for research?
- Importance of the communication process in the corporate world?
- Non-verbal aspect of business communication?
- Modes of the communication process?
- Changing patterns of business correspondence?
- Cross-cultural differences & language barriers in business communication?
- Employment and group communication?
- Aspects of administrative communication?
- Formal dimensions of corporate communication?
- Theory and practice of advanced commercial correspondence?
- Research methodologies in business communication?
- Interdisciplinary approaches to business communication?