Examples of Formats for a Business Report

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How to simply write a business plan for a loan, exporting salesforce contacts.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just talk about things instead of writing everything down? Whether you need to raise money for a new project or you need to show how well your business is doing compared to last year, expect to be asked for a written report that will be taken seriously. A business report can be anything from a set of financial statements to a full-fledged marketing plan, and there are as many formats for reports as there are stars in the sky. The easiest way to format a business report is to look around for a template or an example, and then to tweak the framework to fit your needs.

General Business Report Format

A good general format for a formal business report includes the following:

Informal Reports

Keep in mind that not every business report needs to be presented in such a structured format. It’s often sufficient to detail an informal business report as a one- or two-page letter or even as an email, depending on your audience. This is especially true for small businesses, in which staffing might be lean and nobody has time to create or to read a long, formal report. So, before you use a long-format business report structure, ask your recipient if that format is actually necessary.

Specialized Business Reports

Many types of business reports have a specialized format. Typically, you can find a template, which makes it easy to generate your own report. For example, a balance sheet is a type of business report. It has a common structure that’s easy to replicate, and typically, every spreadsheet and accounting program has a template available that generates the report from basic inputs. Likewise, a marketing plan has a general format that includes a cover sheet, an executive summary, a budget and sections that detail market research, target market, positioning, competitive analysis and market strategy.

Business Plan as a Specialized Form of Business Report

Of course, one of the first specialized business reports entrepreneurs struggle to create is a business plan. The typical business plan format looks like this:

If you follow a generally recognized business report format, it will show that you know what you’re doing, but don’t be afraid to adapt any format to your own needs. The specific format is often not as important as how well you convey your core information.

Terry Masters has been writing for law firms, corporations and nonprofit organizations since 1995, specializing in business topics, personal finance, taxation, nonprofit issues, and general legal and marketing content creation for the Internet. Terry holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a minor in finance.

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Massey University

Business report format and layout

Important: Always check your course guide or ask your lecturer for guidance about how to format business reports .

It is important that your report looks professional - you are, after all, in training for a profession. A typical business report uses the following format and layout:

Most assignments do not require a title page however reports often do. It is important you check your course guide or ask your lecturer. The format of report title pages varies according to the specific requirements of the assignment, but typically contains:

Table of contents

If a report is more than six pages, you might need a table of contents which tells the reader the page location of the headings and subsections in the report. Again, check with your course guide or lecturer if this is necessary. Most word processing software has a table of contents function that simplifies formatting.

Headings and subheadings

Reports generally require specific sections with specific headings (e.g. Introduction, Discussion) and subheadings (e.g. Key issues, Proposed solution/s). APA has guidelines about how to format headings and although APA advises against numbered headings, it is convention in reports to have numbered sections and it is likely this what is asked for in your assignment instructions. It is important that heading and subheading style (i.e. font, font size, font colour) is consistent throughout the assignment and subheadings within each section are sequentially numbered (e.g. 2.1 Strengths, 2.2 Weaknesses).

Sometimes, it may be appropriate for the numbering in one section to match numbering in another section (e.g. the recommendation discussed in subsection 3.1 relates to the conclusion discussed in subsection 4.1). Sometimes, however, matching numbering across sections may not be possible, or you may not present information in a numbered (or bullet point) style. Below is an example of business report format; this is, however, only a suggestion and you should seek advice from your lecturer about required format.

Example business report structure

Executive Summary

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1.1 Situation overview 1.2 Key stakeholders 1.3 Key issues

2.1.1 Loyal customer base 2.1.2Youth 2.1.3 Retirees and older people 2.1.4 Families

2.2 Opportunities

2.2.1 New customers 2.2.2 Existing customers 2.2.3 Synergies with suppliers

2.3 Weaknesses

2.3.1 Limited supply of resources 2.3.2 Ageing customer base 2.3.3 Technological limitations

3. Conclusions 3.1 Customer retention 3.2 New customer recruitment 3.3 Supply chain importance

4. Recommendations 4.1 Develop customer loyalty programmes and incentives 4.2 Marketing and promotion for new customers 4.3 Consolidate supply chain

As you are writing a report as part of a course assignment, it is likely that you will need a reference list . Check your course requirements about which referencing style is preferred. APA is the most commonly used style at Massey, however, MLA and Chicago are also used by some departments. Whichever style is required, it is important that citations are formatted correctly both in text and at the end of your assignment. Make sure your reference list (or works cited list, or bibliography) begins on a new page with a clear heading.

Sometimes you need to include additional information, transcripts, questionnaire details, or raw data. These should go in an appendix.

If there is only one appendix, it is given the title "Appendix". If there are several appendices, each is given a letter (follow the same order that they are mentioned in the body of the assignment): "Appendix A", "Appendix B", "Appendix C", etc. You refer to the title of the appendix in the body of your assignment (e.g. see Appendix B for details).

APA style (the style most commonly used at Massey University) put the appendices after the reference list.

Page authorised by Director - Centre for Learner Success Last updated on 15 January, 2021

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Business Report Writing - Step-By-Step (With Examples)

When it comes to business, a lot is riding on your reports. Whether presenting to clients, investors, or upper management, a business report can make or break opportunities for your business or organization. After all, that's the whole point of writing one—to convince your reader to see things from your perspective and make decisions accordingly.

If you're not sure how to get started, don't worry. This guide will show you how to write a formal business report step by step, complete with tips and examples. Let's get started.

What is a formal business report?

writing a business report format

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A formal business report is a document that presents information or data in a structured, organized way. It's typically used to communicate research findings to decision-makers or organizational stakeholders, such as your manager, colleagues, or clients.

If you're wondering when you might need to write a formal business report, the answer is: pretty much any time you want to convincingly present information or data. This could be when:

Components of a business report

Typically, business reports contain three sections: an introduction, body paragraphs (or sections), and a conclusion that provides recommendations for future action. That's the basics of any report, which include a title page, table of contents, and appendices (if needed). Let's take a closer look at each section.

writing a business report format

The title page is the first page of your report and should include:

Table of contents

If your report is long (5+ pages), you might want to include a table of contents. This will help readers quickly find the information they're looking for instead of having to flip through the entire document.

To create a table of contents, start by looking at the headings and subheadings in your report. Then, list each heading and subheading along with the page number where it appears. Today's word processing software programs can automatically generate a table of contents for you—just be sure to update it if you make any changes to your report.

Some reports will begin with a summary, which is a brief overview of the main points in the report. This is useful if your reader only has time to skim the report (or if they need to quickly get up to speed on its contents).

If you decide to include a summary, ensure it's no more than a few sentences to a paragraph in length. You can think of it as an executive summary for your report—it should concisely give your reader a general idea of what the rest of the document will cover.


The introduction is where you'll set the stage for your report by providing background information on the topic. This could include:

Essentially, the introduction is your chance to explain what your reader can expect from the rest of the document. It should be clear and concise—after all, you don't want to lose your reader's attention before you even get to the meat of your report.

writing a business report format

Next comes the body of your report. This is where you'll present the points you want to make in detail. 

Depending on the type of report you're writing, the structure of the body will vary. It could be organized chronologically, by topics, or in another way that makes sense for your project. Some projects require a deep dive into data analysis, while others might be lighter on research.

The important thing to remember is that each section of the body should flow logically from one to the next. You'll want to use headings and subheadings to break up your text and help guide your reader through the information you're presenting. Here are some example headings you might use in a business report:


In this section, you'll state your recommendations or suggestions and provide justification for why the company should implement them. Remember to back up your points with data from your research and analysis in earlier sections, and always link your recommendations to the company's goals.

For instance, if your report is about increasing sales, your recommendations might focus on strategies for boosting marketing efforts. The justifications for these recommendations should be based on data that proves that marketing and sales are related (for example, increased marketing leads to more sales).

Next, you'll wrap up your report with a conclusion. This is where you'll summarize the main points of your findings (in the same order as the body) and reiterate your recommendations.

Your conclusion should provide a clear next step for the company (a call-to-action), as well as what will happen if they don't consider your recommendations. Will they miss out on opportunities? Lose market share? Make it clear what's at stake if they don't take action and the potential benefits.

writing a business report format

As with any formal document, don't forget to include a references section if you've used any sources in your report. Cite any data, research, or other information you've used.

writing a business report format

Finally, you'll include any additional information in the appendix section. This could be:

These are meant to supplement the information in your report and provide additional context or background for your reader.

Formal business report example

If you're still unsure how the final output should look, take a look at this formal business report example. This sample report looks at customer complaints from an automobile company and makes recommendations for improving customer satisfaction.

writing a business report format

How to write a business report

Now that we've gone over the different parts of a formal business report and looked at an example. Let's dig a little deeper into how you can write one yourself. Here are the steps you'll need to take:

1. Create an outline for your report

Like you would with any project, it's important to start by creating an outline for your business report. Don't go straight into research and writing immediately; instead, take some time to think about what you want to achieve with your report. 

What are your objectives? What kind of information do you need to gather? Once you have a good understanding of your goals, you can start mapping out the structure of your report.

That way, you'll organize your thoughts more efficiently and ensure you don't forget any important points. It'll also put things into perspective and help you see the "big picture" of your report. Maybe there are elements you can leave out or streamline if they're not directly related to your objectives, or maybe you need to address some gaps or missing points.

An example outline would look something like this:

Remember that this is just a general guide—you can (and should) adjust it as needed to fit the specific requirements of your report.

Pro Tip: If you need help putting together an outline, try Copy.ai's Essay Outline tool . It'll help you build a basic structure for your business report in minutes and save you precious time in writing.

2. Check for an in-house format

Before you start writing, checking whether your company has a standard format for formal business reports is important. This will usually be outlined in your company handbook. Alternatively, you can ask the person who's commissioning the report to see if there's a specific format they want you to use.

An established format will help give your report a more professional look. You won't have to start from scratch when putting together the final document.

3. Gather the data and prep your research

Now, it's time to start collecting the information you need for your report. This will involve reading relevant articles and papers, interviewing experts in your field, and contacting companies who have experience with similar issues (if applicable).

It's important to be thorough in your research—you want to ensure you have all the relevant information before you start writing.

To tick this off your list quickly and easily, the most important thing is to identify what your audience is actually looking for. Ask yourself:

Answering these questions will help you focus your research and ensure you're on the right track. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but trust us—it'll be worth it in the end. The worst thing is to think you've finished your report only to realize you've left out some crucial information!

4. Craft your executive summary

This is probably the most important part of your report. Why? Because it's what readers will see first, it'll determine whether or not they actually continue reading. So you need to make sure it's clear, concise, and engaging—everything a good executive summary should be. And let's not forget short!

The executive summary describes the report in as few words as possible. Use strong verbs and active language to get your point across. Make sure you include the most important information: the problem being addressed, why it's important, your recommendation(s), and why those are the best solution(s).

For instance, let's say you're writing a report on customer complaints about your product packaging. Your executive summary might look something like this:

"Our company has seen increased customer complaints regarding our product's packaging design. As a result, we conducted a study to identify the root cause of the problem and propose a solution. Our findings indicate that the current packaging design is confusing and difficult to open, causing customer frustration. We recommend switching to a more user-friendly design that will be easier to open and reduce the number of customer complaints."

See how that gives a brief overview of the issue, the research conducted, and the proposed solution. That's what you're aiming for with your executive summary.

5. Format your main sections

After you've written your executive summary, it's time to move on to the rest of your report. The main sections will depend on the type of report you're writing, but they should all be clearly labeled and easy to read using headings and subheadings.

As mentioned earlier, the three main sections of a business report are the introduction, body, and conclusion. Here's a quick overview of what each section should include:

No matter how many sections or subsections your report has, make sure each one flows smoothly into the next. You want your readers to follow along easily without getting lost or confused. Also, take care of too much jargon or technical language—simple is always better for business reports.

6. Add a strong conclusion and appendix

The conclusion is just as important as the executive summary, so don't skimp on it! You want to give your readers a strong sense of what your report was about and why it matters. When done right, it'll leave them with a lasting impression and entice them to take further action.

However, avoid using complex language, repeating yourself too much, or giving away too much information, as that will dilute the impact of your findings. Ensure all major findings are included so readers don't needlessly slog through portions of the report they already know about. Additionally, you should always provide a clear call to action for what you want the reader to do next.

You might also want to include an appendix at the end of your report, which is a great way to include additional information or data that supports your findings without taking up space in the main body of the report. This is especially useful if you have a lot of data or charts and graphs that would make the report cumbersome.

It also works well for including information that might interest some readers but not others, such as the detailed methodology used in your research. That way, people interested in that sort of thing can easily find it, while those who aren't can skip over it without having to wade through irrelevant information.

7. Have someone else proofread your final draft

Finally, once you've written, edited, and formatted your report perfectly, it's time to have someone else look at it. This is an important step that should never be skipped, as it's all too easy to miss your own mistakes.

When choosing someone to proofread your work , pick someone who is detail-oriented and has a good eye for grammar and spelling. It might sound like overkill, but if there are any typos or grammatical errors in your final draft, it will be a huge distraction from your overall message and make readers question whether they can trust anything else in the report.

If possible, have someone who wasn't involved in writing the report read it over, as they'll be able to provide a more objective perspective, especially on clarity. Your readers should be able to understand what you're trying to say without too much effort or outside research, so if your proofreader is struggling, that's a sign that something needs to be rewritten or clarified.

Lastly, you want to ensure that all the information you present is accurate and up to date. This might require doing additional research or checking your data against other sources. 

Suppose you find any statements that don't seem factual enough or don't support other details provided earlier on in the document. In that case, you might have written something incorrectly or overlooked some crucial data when putting your report together. That's when it's time to go back and make the necessary changes before calling it quits.

In conclusion

Writing a formal business report isn't an easy task. Still, take the time to learn the proper format and put in the effort to gather accurate and reliable information. You'll be able to produce a professional, impressive, and useful document. It gets easier with practice, so don't be discouraged if your first few attempts aren't perfect. Just keep at it, and you'll eventually get the hang of it!

Also, don't forget that Copy.ai can help you with any writing project, big or small. From outlines to finished drafts, their artificial intelligence writing generators will help you every step of the way. So if you ever need a little help or inspiration, be sure to give it a try!

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Business Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Format)

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The shift from academic writing, such as essays and articles, to complex business reports, can be scary!

A business report is needed in almost any field of work. These are fact-based documents that are used to make decisions in a business.

You can use business reports for several purposes such as pitching an idea, analyzing an idea, pitching a merger, analyzing a merger, proving that your company complies with legal and social guidelines or any specific topic related to your job and work.

So if you have a job, it is crucial that you understand the concept of business reports and how to write them effectively.

In this article, we will talk about the different types of reports and their purpose, the importance of business reports, and how to structure your own in an impactful way!

But hey, first thing first. Let’s understand the concept of business reports a little better.

What is a Business Report? (Definition)

A Business report is defined as an official document that contains factual information , statistical data , research findings , or any other form of information relevant to the course of the job.

This report is a formal document written to-the-point to convey information in a concise yet clear manner. Business reports are majorly used for internal communication within an organization.

A lady creating a business report

Objectivity is a major element while writing business reports. Whatever you say should be supported by data and facts, not opinion and perspective. For example, instead of saying ‘ sales in the last quarter were very low’, you show it by means of data.

The report can vary from one page to several pages depending on the purpose and type of report, which brings us to the second part: Types of Business reports.

Types Of Business Reports

There are many types of business reports used in an organization for various purposes. Obviously, you cant use the same report to analyze employee performance and sales in the last quarter, right?

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Here are some common types of business reports:

1. Informational reports

You use this report when your boss asks for data that is purely objective i.e., just plain facts without any reasoning or potential outcomes. For instance, a workforce report stating the number of employees in the company, their duties, department of work, and responsibilities.

Read more:  How to Write Project Reports that ‘Wow’ Your Clients? (Template Included)

2. Analytical Report

As the name suggests, this report is used when some critical company data has to be analyzed in order to make informed decisions.

For instance, analyzing the sales drop in the last financial year. This report consists of sales numbers, a comparison of those numbers with earlier years, and finding reasons for the fall. The report will also indicate possible measures the company can take to solve this problem.

3. Research Report

You use a research report when something big is coming up! It could be a potential merger, or a new product line, or a shift in the current way of working.

A big change requires a comprehensive report studying all its implications. For example, if the company wants to introduce a new product, the research report will consist of elements like target audience , marketing communication strategy , advertising campaigns, etc.

4. Explanatory Report

You use this report when you want to explain your individual project to the entire team. Let’s suppose you performed research.

An explanatory report will showcase the facts, list the findings, and determine the conclusion of the research. It should be written in very simple, concise, and clear words. Although the readers are mostly peers of the same industry, jargon should be avoided.

5. Progress Report

This is a small report used to notify updates in a company.

How was the previous week?

How is the sale for this quarter coming along?

What is the percentage change in conversions since the last week/month?

Two employees working on research report

Questions like these are answered in a progress report. It does not contain analytics. Only information and changes.

Progress reports are a good medium for companies to track their day-to-day work and come up with new ideas for growth and expansion.

Still not convinced? Here are 4 compelling reasons why business reports are important for efficient workflow in an organization.

Read more:   What is a Progress Report and How to Write One?

Importance of Business Reports

1. mode of communication.

You know how you text or call in daily life to communicate? In businesses, reports are prepared for it. We can say that business reports act as a medium of communication in an organization.

But why is it done?

Well, in big companies, there is an entire line of workflow that takes place. It is also known as a delegation of duties. In this workflow, there are branches, sub-branches, departments, and niche specific zones. If communication is done verbally, information may get lost or contaminated.

So for every important piece of communication, a written report is created. Anyone who needs access to that information can read the report and equip themselves with first-hand data.

2. Decision making

Thinking about launching a new product line? Prepare a report.

Aiming to cut company costs? Prepare a report.

From deciding the target audience to laying off employees, every decision is taken on the basis of detailed reports prepared with facts and stats.

Reports are transferred two-way in an organization. Employees create business reports and send them to higher management for decision making. Upper management creates reports to circulate information, tasks, etc. among the workforce.

3. Crisis management

In case of a crisis, chaos, and panic outbreaks, everyone has an opinion on the matter, and the transfer of thoughts verbally gives rise to workplace gossip.

In such a situation, business reports are created to get everyone on the same page and then factually analyze the problem.

Crisis management reports comprise of the cause of the issue, steps to take for damage control, and policies suggesting future protection from such crisis.

4. Effective management

The delegation of duties is done via reports. Every employee has their own to-do tasks with an assigned deadline. This helps in more sound and effective management of the company.

All the information is in viable written documents, decisions are taken upon careful analysis, and the overall functioning of the company is better using business reports.

So now that we know that we HAVE TO prepare business reports to survive in the corporate world, let’s move on to the next and probably the most important section where we teach you how you can get started on writing a proper report.

Read more:  Business Requirements Document (BRD): What, Why, and How to Write?

How to write a business report? (Steps and Format)

Follow this step-by-step guide to create your powerful business report:

Step 1: Create a plan of action

You are writing a business report, not a school essay. You can’t base your report on thoughts as and when they come. Before starting the report, identify its purpose.

Define what you aim to achieve with the report and how you plan to present it. Do not beat around the bush! This will help you write a clear and concise report.

Step 2: Check for an in-house format

Your company may have a specific format for writing reports. Ask your supervisor or check the company’s handbook to find it. Do not blindly trust the internet.

However, if no such format is specified, you can use the standard global format listed in the following steps.

Step 3: Add a title

The title of the report may be specified in the brief you received from your supervisor. If not, you may write your own title. It should be clear, crisp, and be able to convey the purpose of the report.

You should avoid using very long and complicated titles. For instance, use ‘Sales report for FY 2020-21’ instead of ‘Analysing the customer interaction with the company in the last 12 months in comparison to previous years’. People will yawn and leave the room at the start of your report!

Also, add your name and the names of other people involved in making the report. Portraying someone else’s background hard work as your own is highly unethical in the workplace.

Step 4: Write a table of contents

You should include a table of contents page only if the report is long and contains sub-sections.

If this page is added, make sure to write contents exactly in the manner headings are written inside the report. All the contents should be properly numbered for the reader to easily navigate through the report or jump on a specific section.

Step 5: Add a Summary/ Abstract

This is a very important page in any report. You should write the abstract in such a manner that even if a person does not read the entire report, this page can give them a clear and detailed idea of the entire thing.

It should contain your title, issue, key findings, and conclusions. You should basically summarise everything you wrote in the report to fit in the abstract.

Step 6: Write an introduction

Now begins your actual report. On this page, specify the purpose of writing the report along with a brief idea of the main argument.

You can also include some background of the topic on this page.

Step 7: State your methodology

On this page, tell the readers how you created this report. It includes the sources of information, type of data (qualitative or quantitative), channels of receiving information, etc.

This is to equip your readers with the process you went through or, as we can say in the urban slang, the BTS of the report. It makes your report more credible.

Step 8: Present your findings

This is the main section where you present your findings. It should convey that you have done thorough research. So include stats, facts, and graphs to portray the information.

An employee going through sales report

To prevent it from getting messy, align the data into various headings and subheadings. Use pointers, bulleted, or numbered whenever required.

Step 9: Give a conclusion or recommendation

End your report with a compelling conclusion. This should be drawn from previously stated findings.

You can also give recommendations for change or improvement in a policy, supported by valid documentation. The conclusion should come off strong, based on factual data, not biased views or opinions.

Step 10: Add bibliography and references

Adding this section is a legal compulsion in any report wherein the data is taken or inspired from previously published sources.

Let us explain it simply. If you have added any data or statistics in your report, you must give due credit to the original author. Else, it counts as plagiarism, which is a punishable offense.

Also, note the difference between references and bibliography, and don’t confuse the two!

Here’s an example:

Suppose you read a business report online and got inspired by it. Although, you didn’t use any of its data in your own report. In this scenario, you will list that report under the bibliography section.

However, if you took data from that report to directly include in yours, you will list that in the reference section.

Step 11: Proofread

Proofreading or revising is very important before finalizing a report. In this section, check for any spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or punctuations. These are small mishaps that can make a very bad impression.

Also, while proofreading, check the citations, footnotes, appendices, etc, according to the company standards. There may be guidelines you missed while writing the report!

Bit.ai : The Ultimate Tool For Writing Business Reports

With its new-age cloud technology bit gives your business report superpowers!

You can choose from pre-designed templates and just worry about putting your content into it.

With Bit’s smart integration, you can add rich media elements like cloud files , charts , pdfs, embeds, diagrams , graphs, and much more into your business reports within seconds.

Bit.ai: Tool for creating business reports

Not only this, bit.ai lets you work with your team in real-time. You can co-edit and use inline comments to bring your colleagues to the same place to make decisions related to your business reports.

You even have document tracking to see who is opening your report and how much time they spent on it.

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Few more business templates you might be interested in:

As we have seen, writing a business report involves a lot of aspects. All of the time and energy is consumed in writing engaging content, and one tends to forget about the design element.

Yes, the design is a very important aspect of any report. When your report is visually appealing, it engages the reader and stands out in a room full of black and white text.

…and bit helps you do just that!

On bit, you can edit the document according to the type of report you created without compromising on the design. Play around with hundreds of fonts, themes, and color palettes with Bit to create an impact on your work!

Which was your last business report that really brought about a change? Which tool did you use to make it?

Tweet us @bit_docs and let us know!

Further reads:

7 Types of Reports Your Business Certainly Needs!

Performance Report: What is it & How to Create it? (Steps Included)

Formal Reports: What are they & How to Create them!

Business Documents: Definition, Types, Benefits & Steps to Create Them

Technical Report: Definition, Importance, and How to Write it?

16 Best Business Tools Every Business Needs in 2021

How to Write a Business Case: Step By Step Guide

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Marketing Report: Definition, Types, Benefits & Things to Include!

Technical Report: What is it & How to Write it? (Steps & Structure Included)

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Business Communication  - How to Write a Powerful Business Report

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Business Communication: How to Write a Powerful Business Report

Lesson 8: how to write a powerful business report.


How to write a powerful business report

writing a business report format

When a company needs to make an informed decision, it can create a business report to guide its leaders. Business reports use facts and research to study data, analyze performance, and provide recommendations on a company's future.

Watch the video below to learn how to write and format a business report.

The basics of a business report

Business reports are always formal , objective , and heavily researched . Every fact must be clear and verifiable, regardless of whether the report focuses on a single situation or examines the overall performance of an entire company.

Because objectivity is crucial in a business report, avoid subjective descriptions that tell the reader how to feel. For instance, if sales were down last quarter, don’t say “Sales were terrible last quarter,” but rather let the sales data speak for itself. There should also be no personal pronouns, such as “I think we should invest more capital.” A business report should remain impersonal and framed from the company’s perspective.

The structure of a business report

Although the size of a report can range from one page to 100, structure is always important because it allows readers to navigate the document easily. While this structure can vary due to report length or company standards, we’ve listed a common, reliable structure below:

Some companies may also require an executive summary after the front matter section, which is a complete summary that includes the report’s background, key findings, and recommendations. This section lets people learn the highlights quickly without having to read the entire document. The size of an executive summary can range from a paragraph to multiple pages, depending on the length of the report.

As mentioned in Business Writing Essentials , revision is key to producing an effective document. Review your writing to keep it focused and free of proofreading errors, and ensure your factual information is correct and presented objectively. We also recommend you get feedback from a colleague before submitting your work because they can spot errors you missed or find new opportunities for analysis or discussion.

Once you’ve revised your content, think about the report’s appearance . Consider turning your front matter section into a cover page to add some visual polish. You can also create a table of contents if the report is lengthy. If you’re printing it out, use quality paper and a folder or binder to hold the report together. To diversify the presentation of your data, try using bulleted lists, graphics, and charts.

Example of a business report

To demonstrate the principles of this lesson, we’ve created a brief business report for you to review.

Let's start by looking at the first page of this two-page report.

writing a business report format

The layout of the front matter is simple and effective, while the background sets the stage in a quick, specific manner. The key findings provide the main takeaways that warrant further investigation, along with a chart to add emphasis and visual variety.

Now let's look at the following page.

writing a business report format

The conclusion features a little of the writer's opinion on the key findings, although the writing is still centered around the company's perspective. The recommendations are clear and supported by the data, while the references are thorough.

While business reports may seem intimidating, you have the ability to create a thorough, informative document through practice and careful research. Collect the facts and present them in an organized, objective manner, and you’ll help your business make informed decisions.



How to Structure a Business Report

How to Structure a Business Report

5-minute read

The content of a business report will depend on what you are writing about. Even the writing style may depend on who you are writing for (although clear, concise and formal is usually best). However, there is a general structure that most business reports follow. In this post, then, we’ll look at how to structure a business report for maximum clarity and professionalism.

1. Title Page

Every business report should feature a title page . The title itself should clearly set out what the report is about. Typically, you should also include your name and the date of the report.

Most business reports begin with a summary of its key points. Try to include:

A paragraph or two should suffice for this in shorter business reports. However, for longer or more complex reports, you may want to include a full executive summary .

3. Table of Contents

Short business reports may not need a table of contents, especially if they include a summary. But longer reports should set out the title of each section and the structure of the report. Make sure the headings here match those used in the main text. You may also want to number the sections.

4. Introduction

The introduction is the first part of the report proper. Use it to set out the brief you received when you were asked to compile the report. This will frame the rest of the report by providing:

These are known as the “terms of reference” for the business report.

5. Methods and Findings

If you are conducting original research, include a section about your methods. This may be as simple as setting out the sources you are using and why you chose them. But it could also include how you have collected and analyzed the data used to draw your conclusions.

After this, you will need to explain your findings. This section will present the results of your research clearly and concisely, making sure to cover all the main points set out in the brief.

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One tip here is to break the findings down into subsections, using headings to guide the reader through your data. Using charts and illustrations , meanwhile, can help get information across visually, but make sure to label them clearly so the reader knows how they relate to the text.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations

The last main section of your report will cover conclusions and recommendations. The conclusion section should summarize what you have learned from the report. If you have been asked to do so, you should also recommend potential courses of action based on your conclusions.

If you are not sure what to suggest here, think back to the objectives set out in your brief.

7. References

If you have used any third-party sources while writing your report, list them in a bibliography after the main report. This could include other business documents, academic articles, or even news reports. The key is to show what you have based your findings and conclusions upon.

8. Appendices (If Applicable)

Finally, you may have gathered extra documentation during your research, such as interview transcripts, marketing material, or financial data. Including this in the main report would make it too long and unfocused, but you can add it to an appendix (or multiple appendices) at the end of the document. It will then be available should your reader need it.

Summary: How to Structure a Business Report

If you are writing a business report, aim to structure it as follows:

Don’t forget, too, that a business report should be clear, concise, and formal. And if you would like help making sure that your business writing is easy to read and error free, just let us know .

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How to Write a Business Report

A business report is a collection of data and analyses that helps make relevant information easily accessible to a company. There are many different types of business reports, but this guide will show you the basic outline.

Before You Begin:

Components of a Business Report


Business Jargons

A Business Encyclopedia

Business Report

Definition : Business Report implies a formal document that presents facts, information, arguments, statistical data, analysis of research, etc. related to business interest, in a systematic manner. It is factual, orderly and unbiased communication, prepared to serve a business purpose. It is an analysis, evaluation, assessment or review of specific events, issues, set of circumstances, etc which concerns the enterprise. Business Reports are helpful in:

It discloses the key issues, determines gaps, gives reasons for those gaps and suggests possible outcomes. Therefore, the person writing report must give emphasis on three components:

The creation of business reports needs thorough investigation. After that, the presentation of the report to the interested parties takes place. It is a means of upward communication. It enables communication to flow from lower level to upper level.

The use of abbreviated style is common in preparing business reports. This is because it allows the reader to go through the report at a glance and locate key elements. For this purpose, headings, sub-headings, bullet points, charts, tables, figures, graphs, etc are included in it. This helps in communicating the information in a concise manner.

A business report can be as short as one or two pages or it can be as long as a hundred or more pages.

The term ‘Report’ is originated from the Latin word ‘ reportare ‘ that refers to carry back. Therefore, to report means to describe some event carried back to a person who was not present .

Characteristics of a Good Report


Elements of Business Report

There are five main elements of a business report which are:

A lengthy report also includes table of contents and index

Principles of Drafting Report

There are six principles of writing reports. These are principles of:

Example of Business Report


Format of Business Report


Report Writing Process

The report writing process involves the following steps:

A word from Business Jargons

In conclusion, a report is nothing but a presentation and summation of facts in a logical manner. In addition, assignment and writing of business reports enable managers to make decisions when they cannot observe the physical and human resources directly.

Related terms:

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