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A good report can be a vital tool in determining the strengths and weaknesses of a team or organization. But a simple yet comprehensive report doesn’t appear out of thin air, they are written carefully enough to ensure that all the essential points are covered accordingly.
One way to achieve maximum efficiency with your report is to use a template. Luckily, we have provided a series of report examples and templates below for you to download and use.
The key to writing a successful report is to determine the questions it needs to answer. What type of information should it include? How can you get your message across more effectively? By defining these aspects of the report, you can identify the components needed to complete it.
1. Cover Page: Always start the report by letting readers know what it is and who wrote it. You can do so by adding a cover page that includes the title of the report, the author, the name of the business being represented, its contact information, and the date of submission. If the document is confidential and should not be shared to unauthorized individuals, this should be noted on the cover page.
2. Contents Page: While this may not be necessary for reports consisting of a few pages, adding a contents page will help readers find the information they are looking for right before diving into the whole document. This makes it easier for people to read and skim through your report using the page numbers given.
3. Executive Summary: Before the report begins, the executive summary will let readers know why they should read your report and how it would be of benefit to them. This consists of a brief description of the report’s purpose along with the bottom-line findings and recommendations or conclusions generated. Avoid giving out too much information, as summaries are meant to be a half-page or less to encourage people to carry on reading.
4. Sections: Reports generally deliver a large amount of information to readers. But because nobody would even be interested to read a lengthy wall of text at a time, it’s important to break your report into sections of similar information to develop a better flow of ideas. This will also make it easy for readers to understand what you are trying to convey without leaving out any important details.
5. Supporting Information: Some types of reports require a series of charts, graphs, statistics, and financial documents to verify the claims made. These supporting documents are usually added in the appendix section of the report to further illustrate a point made in the previous pages.
While the structure of a report may vary from company to company, writing the report generally involves the same set of steps. Refer to the stages below and your report-making experience should be a blast.
1. Prepare the necessary documents:
A professional report is typically based on factual data acquired from a survey or research. This will serve as the backbone of your report to help support whatever claims you’re bound to make later on. It can be anything from business notes to the results of your SWOT analysis, as long as it plays a part in the validation of your report.
2. Form a discussion:
Some reports are lengthier than others. That’s because some reports cover a greater area of a topic compared to others. A detailed discussion and analysis is often provided to give readers a deeper insight about the topic in question. Make sure to refer to the supporting documents gathered in the first step so the report stays accurate and true. As long as it remains significant and relevant to the topic, don’t hesitate to include it in your report.
3. Review the report:
When finished, check the report for any points that may have been missed, thoughts that weren’t conveyed well, and grammar or spelling mistakes committed. Errors like these can greatly affect a reader’s understanding and perception toward your report. It’s best to have the document reviewed by a colleague or superior for further opinion. If you’re finally satisfied with what you’ve made, you can email or print the report for submission.
Here are some tips to help you produce a well-written formal report:
A report can come in several different forms. This usually varies according to the duration of which it covers along with the information it carries. Reports written on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis may hold crucial information pertaining to the organization’s financial standing, operational status, or market performance. Common examples of business reports include the following:
Unlike a written essay, a report covers a topic in a structured, easy-to-follow format to ensure better comprehension. To do so, reports are typically divided into several sections using headings and subheadings to break down a large chunk of text into manageable parts. They can be academic, technical, or business-related in nature. It aims to deliver key information to an audience in a clear and concise manner.
A report can be used for a wide variety of functions. It can be written to keep readers informed about a particular matter, to update managers on a project’s current status, or to show the progress made over a period of time. The content and structure of the report will depend on the purpose it serves. Regardless, a report is a vital document that will assist business leaders in making smart decisions for the company’s future.
The easiest way to create a report is to use a template that suits your exact purpose. Weekly status reports, for example, are usually prepared by the end of your operations for the week. Since they generally contain the same type of information, using a template will help ensure consistency among the submitted documents. All you would need to do is to customize the template as per company requirements and to note down important events as needed.
So what are you waiting for? Improve your reports today with the help of these templates and examples!