It is crucial for business to make informed business decisions. Individual business owners, partners, corporations have to make sure the decisions they make and the actions they take are based on well-informed, comprehensive, and legitimate information in order to help the business thrive. If they act out based on impulse and without proper analysis of the situation, it may negatively affect the business as a whole. Therefore, businesses rely on well-researched, logically analyzed, and legitimately checked information with enough supporting data before they even start to plan on what to do and how to do such actions.
With that in mind, businesses make it a point to gather the most relevant data through the most reliable way possible before they negotiate and debate on the best decision to make. They simply cannot afford to make decisions solely based on gut feelings because it may affect the business negatively, or worse, cause bankruptcy. Aside from that, businessmen invest in people and requirement that can help or assist them in making decisions. For example, a business entity may hire a third-party agency to help them figure out what the issue is and figure out what it entails.
However, most of the time businesses do an internal review of the things that could have gone downhill that has affected the business as a whole. There are also times when business do such an activity to figure out what they can do to help improve and develop new methods to make the business thrive, or it can also be because the management wants to check how the business is doing so far. Regardless of the motivation in doing internal checks and whatnot, it is important that the data gathered are presented comprehensively, logically, and coherently so that analyzing the data can be easier and efficient.
If you want the easy way out into understanding what a business report is, it is all the reports used for businesses purposes. But more than that, a business report is an evaluation or assessment of a particular issues or circumstances or financial operations that directly relates to the performance of certain business. Usually, a business report is created in response to a request by a senior executive of the company and is usually handed in the form a of a memo with the report attached to it.
In addition, a business report helps a business or organizations make effective, well-informed decisions through its accurate, timely, objective, and concise presentation of relevant information and data. More accurately, a business report can be defined as “an organised presentation of information to a specific audience for the purpose of helping an organisation achieve an objective” (Bowman & Branchaw, 1988, p. 12). Although it is more commonly used to focus on existing issues or problems, a business report can also be predictive in nature. In the sense that it can tell the company or organization how it can best position itself in ways that they can best benefit any future developments from their current situation.
And although business reports have similar characteristics, they may also be customized to fit their specific purpose. Case in point, an informal and formal report. Informal reports may feature a letter or memo format, minimal use of headings and visual aids, usage of personal pronouns and contractions, a length from a few paragraphs up to five pages, and content primarily for internal audiences. Moreover, formal reports tend to include a more standard format that is organized into separate sections, front and back matter (sections) along with the body of the report, a greater number of headings (including subheadings) and visual aids, third-person pronouns and no contractions or slang, a length from five pages to several hundred, and content designed for internal and/or external audiences.
As it should, the business report presents the findings made by the author regarding the issues or set of circumstances the report was requested for. The business report should also contain a recommendation of the course of action the company or organization should take in order to solve the issue, improve current situation, and/or develop new strategies and course of action. However, in order to do all that, the report should have an in-depth analysis of the matter at hand. The report should also make the interpretations of data easily understandable to the reader
As you may know, a business report contains information related to the business’s activities as it is mainly used to help a company or organization solve its issues as well as help them think of better ways to benefit from future developments. The very nature and purpose of a business report sets it apart from other reports. In that sense, here are the unique characteristics of a business report that differentiates it from other reports:
As mentioned earlier, a business report will help the company or organization determine the current status of an issue, problem, incident, and so on. At the same time, the business report will also hep analyze how such issues can be effectively addressed in order to resolve it. More than that, the business report will help the decision-making body of a company or organization make will-informed and objective decisions that will help the company or organization in the long run. Therefore, a business report is an important document that will help the management of the company or organization become enlightened on different issues as well as the analysis and the resolution of such issues.
In addition, a business report will also help examine available and potential solutions to a problem, situation, or issue, apply business and management theory to a practical situation, demonstrate your analytical, reasoning, and evaluation skills in identifying and weighing up possible solutions and outcomes, reach conclusions about a problem or issue, provide recommendations for future action and show concise and clear communication skills.
Business reports and essays use basically the same format since both take a written form. However, the two have easily distinguished differences that should be brought up so that when you have to make business reports or essay you don’t end up making one instead of the other. With that said, here are some of the difference between a business report and an essay:
Before you start on making a business report, you should know what are the essential parts that constitutes an effective business report. Because unlike an essay, a business report segregates its ideas and topics with headings and subheadings. Therefore, it is really important that you know what and where you should write or list the ideas you want to include in your business report. Listed below are the essential parts of a business report:
Since you already have knowledge of all the essential parts found in a business report, you are already prepared to make one. In an event when you still don’t know where to start, here is an easy guide on how you can make an effective business report:
Before you even start on your business report, you must first understand what is the main intention in making it so that planning on what to do, when and how to do it will be easy. Planning your business report must be the first step you take into consideration; arrange your thoughts, organize the information that you will need, strategize how to gather data, and so on. These are the key questions you should ask yourself when planning a business report:
1.1 What is the purpose of the report?
You have to always remember the motivation for making the business report in the first place; it is generally to assist in decision-making. It may be easier for you to think about the purpose of the report this way: After reading through this report, my readers will know/understand/be enlightened, etc.
1.2 Who is the report for?
As you plan for your business report, you always have to bear in mind who the report is for. You have to consider your primary readers as well as the secondary readers. The primary readers being your director, supervisor, or manager, and the secondary readers may be the teams in charge of the topic being discussed on the report. You have to consider what they already know, what they need to know, and how they will use this report in order to provide ample information for them.
1.3 What is the report’s main message/s?
With all the considerations mentioned above, you have to carefully think about the main message/s of the report that you need to convey to your audience. This will help you determine what main information and additional information are required to be included in the report.
1.4 How should the message be structured?
You should consider what approach is effective to use in your report. The approach you take will help you determine how to effectively tackle an issue or issues in your report making easier for your audience to understand. After that, you can proceed with constructing an outline, or structure, for your report. You have to consider what is the most logical and comprehensive way to present your report.
After coming with a concrete plan on what to do and how to do your business report, you have to determine what should you include in the report. You have to remember that the inclusions in your report should clearly discuss the topics and subtopics relevant to the main message/s of your report.
2.1 Cover letter/memorandum
The cover letter or memorandum should officially introduce the business report to your audience. If the audience is from the outside of the company/organization, it is appropriate to follow a letter format; if the audience is from the company/organization, a memorandum or memo is appropriate. The cover letter/memorandum should remind the audience of their request for the report, state the purpose of the report, acknowledge any assistance, and indicate any future actions to be taken.
2.2 Title Page
The title page of your report should clearly state the title of the business report in a brief but descriptive manner. It should also include the date of completion/submission of the report, the author/s, and their association/organization.
2.3 Executive Summary
The executive summary should be able to make sense on its own. Your executive summary must help the readers immediately get the grasp of the report’s purpose, conclusions, and key recommendations. The executive summary should be no longer than a single page. Lastly, to make it clear an executive summary is different from an abstract in a way that an executive summary gives recommendations and conclusions, rather than just a summary of the document.
2.4 Table of Contents
The table of contents should chronologically reflect all the topics and subtopics contained in the report along with the exact page number where they can be found. The titles and subtitles used as heading for each topics and subtopics should be used in the table of contents.
The introduction of the report should briefly describe the context, clearly determine the main subject matter, describe the issue or problem, state the specific questions the report will answer to, comprehensively outline the scope of the report, share a preview of the report structure, and lastly, comment on the limitations of the report and any assumptions made.
It is important to keep in mind the difference between a conclusion and recommendations. Generally, a conclusion is usually related to the present or the past situations. Meaning the conclusion is focused on what is currently happening or what has already happened, it gives a decision or judgement on all matters relating to one or another. Meanwhile, recommendations are future-oriented, meaning it focuses on what can be done in the future. They are usually specific, action-oriented suggestions to solve the report problem.
2.7 Findings and Discussion
The discussion of your report is where you present and discuss your findings. It should be able to relay enough information regarding the subject matter. It should also give enough analysis and evidence to support your conclusions as well as strong justifications for your recommendations. It should be subdivided into logical and cohesive sections.
If you have used information form other sources on your report,s, references must be provided in-text and in a list of references. However, the style on how you format/style your references depends on what is required in your company or organization.
All the information that are somehow not essential in explaining your findings, but directly supports your analysis, verifies your conclusions or seeks a relevant point should all be included in your appendices. You may include the details of the process or analysis you underwent in your appendices.
After you have a clear plan on how to make your business as well as what contents to include, you have to proceed on the writing process of your report. You have to organize your thoughts in order to demonstrate clarity and logic. In addition, you should always put into consideration how your readers can easily understand your report. In order to achieve effectiveness and good readability, you should
We hope that this guide has helped you with your business report writing and that all the examples given effectively guides you in your writing process.