Wondering what are the characteristics of a good business report?
To answer this question and to make your business report effective and purpose worthy. We have prepared this guide which contains the top 15 characteristics of report writing along with the importance and scope of a business report to enhance your knowledge.
What is a business report?
A business report represents the compilation of various information regarding business interests such as present facts, statistical data, arguments, research analysis, and more such data.
It is usually an unbiased, orderly, and factual report readied to back the purpose of the business. That is why every organization values the characteristics of a good report.
A business report is prepared after thorough scrutiny, estimation, and assessment of significant conditions and issues that concern the operating organization.
Essential qualities of a business report help to handle several steps in running a business, such as –
- Creating a mechanized workflow
- Reviewing process
- Decision making
- In setting practical expectations
11 Characteristics of a Good Business Report That You Should Check
1) The report should be accurate and reliable:
Just like any other report, the information and data in the business report should be accurate and reliable. This is a prime characteristic of an effective business report as accurate and reliable information will influence decision-making, leading to better growth for the organization.
Business reports play a vital role in making important decisions for the business. Hence the information feature within the report should be backed up with facts and figures. The method for data collection should be analyzed before implementation to reduce the marginal error and represent reliable data.
2) Create a short but clear title:
The report’s title is the essential feature of any business report. The title should accurately reflect the crust of your business report and indicate the content present. The title should be drafted keeping in mind the need of the reader and the target group of people for whom the report is prepared.
Ensure the drawn title is short and easy to read. The opening para after the title should state the report’s purpose, which will help justify the reason for preparing the report.
Example of a short and clear title from a business report
3) Reader-specific language:
The report’s target audience should be kept in mind while drafting the business report. The information should not consist of any grammatical or factual errors.
Moreover, the critical content of the report should be visible clearly, with supportive graphs and data. Avoid using too much technical jargon, as it gets difficult for the reader to understand.
4) Keep your paragraph structured:
For better understanding, you should divide your business report into required paragraphs. The crucial paragraphs should be placed logically toward the beginning. Each paragraph needs to describe the point mentioned descriptively.
It is always recommended to keep your paragraphs between 200 to 300 words with 10 to 17 words per line. This is an important characteristic of business reports as small sentences always make it easier for the user to read and grapes the idea of the sentence.
5) Concise writing:
A business report that remains objectively intact is always more helpful for the organization. Therefore report should be concise in nature to extract the most productivity.
One should also aim at incorporating the most crucial information within the body section of your report. The supporting data and elements should be appended at the end of your business report.
6) Clear suggestions and recommendations:
It is in the nature of a business report that it is prepared to solve complex business problems and discover alternative solutions. The business report should create a separate section consisting of suggestions and recommendations.
The following can help business management make constructive decisions for the organization. Furthermore, suggestions should be made based on what has been studied and analyzed in the following report.
Example of a conclusion drawn within a business report
7) Signature and Date:
Authenticity plays a vital role in creating a business report. After all, big business decisions will be taken with the help of business reports. Therefore a good business report feature that the creator should follow is to have his signature on the report as an act of reliability.
The date signifies the period within which the report was drafted. This is useful at the time of comparing two reports from different periods.
8) Usage of effecting headings and subheadings:
A business report may consist of many sections, but structure formatting makes it more compelling. When a writer uses headings and subheadings within a report, it gives a clear hierarchy to your content.
Better representable content is always easy to consume and is considered to be the main characteristic of an effective report. On top of this, it helps the reader identify your report’s vital section. Make sure your headings and subheadings are aligned with each other and are descriptive.
This is one of the crucial characteristics of any report, and don’t you want your headings to be longer and meaning less. Ensure the content under each heading is focused on justifying the report’s purpose.
9) Maintain professionalism in writing:
Business reports are often formal in nature. Therefore it is essential to keep your writing tone appropriate for the reader. An essential of a good business report is that it should not contain offensive words which may disturb the purpose of the report.
In most cases, the readers look for the group responsible for completing the following task. Therefore, avoid being gender specific such as “She/He,” and instead use plural pronouns, such are “they,” while referring to any identity.
Another essential feature of a good report is to use an active voice over a passive voice in your writing and leave the contraction words out of the report.
10) Have numbering pages:
One of the foremost qualities of a good business report is to Use proper page numbering which helps the reader map the report in a structured format.
Roman numerals should be used for executive summary and table of contents. The rest of the pages within the report can be denoted with Arabic numerals.
Table and figures should be placed separately under the appendices section. Each table and figure should contain a label and a title for better recognition. It is always recommended to give a short text description for the data in the figures and tables mentioned.
Required data diagrams can be inserted within the body text of the report for better explanation. Moreover, make sure the footnotes and endnotes are used for better reference.
11) Targeted communication:
One of the essential characteristics of business reports is that the report should be drafted while keeping in mind the target audience/group.
The report must include the answer the intended audience is looking for to be able to solve its purpose. Therefore it is essential to understand the need and the problem the report will solve before starting.
Essentials Elements of a Business Report
1) Title Page
The presentation of the title page of a business report represents its eminence. Hence, it is of great significance. The title page must begin with a proper label along with the name of the person who prepared the report, the name/names of the audience it is being submitted to, the date of submission, and the name of the organization.
2) Effective Abstract
It is of most importance that the report has a highly efficient abstract that summarizes the purpose and key points of the entire business report. The usual length of an Abstract is 200-250 words. In case, an executive summary is added, it can be one page or shorter. Including an “abstract” is a must for both long and short reports.
3) Table of Contents
No matter how short, the table of contents should be listed on a separate page. This is basically the third page following the title and abstract page.
4) List of Tables/Figures/Symbols/Abbreviations
In case, there are more than five tables or figures in a business report, it is safe to prepare a separate “list of tables” page following the contents page. Similarly, if there are more than five symbols or abbreviations used in the report, including a “list of symbols” or “abbreviations” page is the smartest decision.
The main body of an effective report should start with an excellent introduction that depicts the goal and scope of the entire report. Whatever background research data has been added in the report, must be mentioned here to help the audience understand them without any trouble.
Each primary section of the report should begin with an apt heading. The body covers the key sections of the report be it an existing problem, a potential solution, or any subject of interest that matters to the audience. Also, including illustrations, tables, figures, symbols, research and sources makes the body of a report more proficient.
7) Conclusion & Objectives
This is one of the essentials of a good report. The report must end with a well-prepared concluding page where the presenter may add his/her own arguments and ideas.
8) Endnotes & Bibliography
If there is no footnote in the body of the report, the page after “conclusion” must be dedicated to “endnotes,”. The “bibliography” contains sources of any info such as books, websites, interviews, research papers, and so on.
Related Readings: 8 Elements of Business Report Structure With Process of Report Writing
Importance of a Business Report
Apart from monitoring the business report characteristics, preparing business reports on a regular basis helps to keep track of everything regarding the management and work in an organization.
Let’s have a look at how significant the reports play in a business
- A business record keeps a track of company growth, project details, and history of measures taken for the progress of the organization.
- A company can formulate its budget and marketing for various projects and even for the entire business based on the reports.
- By preparing business reports, an organization gets to craft a paper trail of its past while not having to keep track of every kind of document stored.
- A business report usually documents various plans, initiatives, sales, meetings, finance, and even annual budget along with research data.
- Even when selling or buying a business, potential partners look for business reports of the past and present to assess if the deal is worth it.
- Every company has to submit an annual business report to the stakeholders stating the essential stages the organization has gone through over the year. With this, businesses get to have a note of their benefits and losses.
- The yearly business reports are mostly used not only for the company’s own benefit but also for marketing purposes.
- A business report is the most important document when an organization plans to increase its business as the report possesses complete data on the company’s financial history.
Related Readin: Importance of Report Writing In Business Communication
Scopes of a Business Report
- Business reports play a great part in framing and developing organizational strategies and workflow.
- An organization gets to have a clear view of available funds and carve upcoming investments through an effective report.
- A finely presented business report show development ideas and initiatives that can be taken for the business growth.
- Employee objections and labour relations are highlighted in business reports, which cater to the establishment of a good work environment.
- Different levels of management officials can take the necessary steps to develop their operational procedures based on the type of business reports prepared.
- Organizations get to formulate efficient marketing strategies and future operative actions with the help of the reports.
- An important feature of a good Business report is that it provides a base through which a company can evaluate its performance and develop its work process accordingly.
- Business reports show clients’ opinions along with market research which helps the company to take necessary steps. It even caters to instituting operative mechanisms and coordination within the organization.
Frequently Ask Questions
Q1) 5 Characteristics of a good report?
Ans: The only five characteristics of a good are, Accuracy, Clarity in the title, and Concise and professional writing with the proper numbering of pages.
Q2) Which is not an essential characteristic of a good report?
Ans: Using technical jargon is not an essential characteristic of a good report, as it makes it difficult for the reader to understand and creates unnecessary complexities.
Q3) What are the characteristics of reporting?
Ans: The report should be, accurate and reliable with a short and clear title followed by statured paragraphs drafted keeping in mind the reader-specific language.