What Is a Business Report?

A business report is a written document designed to assist managers in making critical decisions for the company. This enables you to examine potential solutions to a problem, apply business and management theories to a situation, and provide recommendations for future action. The report is written after careful research and assessment of a specific business matter in order to relay these facts to readers in the most comprehensible way possible. By getting an even deeper insight into the problem, you can overcome challenges with ease.

The very nature of a business report is what differentiates it from other business documents. It tackles a specific subject, targets a predetermined audience, follows a particular layout, contains factual information, maintains a neutral essence, and is presented in an orderly fashion so that readers can easily locate the information they need. A level of formality, sensitivity, accuracy, and objectivity should be established to prevent unfavorable results. These unique characteristics help those interested make practical decisions for every area in business.

Key Elements of a Business Report

Business reports are only useful if they answer all the key questions that need to be addressed. The main points it should include and the way your facts, figures, and analysis are organized will affect how your message is carried across. For this reason, breaking down the document into various sections will help you clearly and effectively construct the report.

Listed below are the five elements that make up a good business report.

1Cover Page: Always start a business report by letting people know what it is and who wrote it. The cover page or title page of the document contains all the essential details that simply describe its contents in as few words as possible. You can find this section in nearly every publication as it pays credit to those who exerted their time and effort to complete the document.2Contents Page: Long reports typically have a contents page for a reader’s convenience. This is meant to assist readers in finding the information they want when in a rush and to go back to it later on for reference. Here, you can find the page numbers of each section for easy browsing. Some documents might also make use of headings and subheadings for sections with lengthier contents. But then again, this would depend on the length of the report and its expected shelf life.3Executive Summary: Not everyone has the time to skim through every single report on a shelf to get what they need. That’s because some people can only find the answers to their questions after rummaging through multiple documents. The last thing you would want to do is waste a person’s reading time by giving them a report that’s far from what they’re looking for. Thus, it’s always best to include an executive summary at the beginning of the document. This provides readers with an overview of the topic discussed, your bottom-line findings, and recommendations or conclusions that encourage further reading.4Chapters: One way to make a report easy to comprehend is by breaking it down into manageable chunks. This means dividing the report into different sections based on the information that they carry. Not only will this group similar ideas together for readers to locate, but it can also improve the logical flow of information. You can also use subheadings to simplify complex ideas and offer a more precise view of the matter in question.5Supporting Data: Extensive research, statistics, financial figures, graphs, and charts are often used as supporting information to back up what’s written in the body. Readers may refer to these materials to verify the claims made in the report. Remember to include this data only if they are necessary to aid or prove the points that were mentioned.

Samples of Business Reports

The following are samples of reports written in different disciplines of business.

The Different Types of Business Reports

Business reports are made to formally present a piece of information clearly and concisely. It’s about communicating information to give business leaders what they need to make major decisions and plans for the future. But when it comes to writing and formatting these reports, we must consider how every report is different based on their need and the situation at hand.

Below we discuss the common types of reports used for different business-related purposes.

Routine Reports: Reports that are made periodically, like in a daily, monthly, or annual basis, are often made to closely monitor business activity and performance. Managers can use these resources to locate previous loopholes that might have caused current issues in the company’s operations. Routine reports that cover shorter periods are also valuable in identifying what was done and what needs to be done to complete an ongoing project. They paint a clear picture of your mistakes and accomplishments by keeping employees accountable for their actions. That way, your team can deliver the best possible results for each task. Earnings and Financial Reports: Financial data can be crucial to illustrating your exact profit-and-loss statements. Without a report to interpret these figures, the business may end up investing much more than it could afford. Financial reports can also help forecast future earnings for leaders to analyze. If the business can manage to upscale their current numbers by implementing a particular strategy, then they might just generate a certain amount by the end of the period. This can come in handy during the decision-making process. Performance Reports: Managers always want to know how each department is doing on a regular basis. Is the team reaching their quota every month? Is the employee performing his or her duties effectively? Performance reports help evaluate whether the business has successfully reached its objectives for the period. The information reflected in the report can also be used to recognize existing employees who are due for a promotion or even those that need to be monitored after failing to meet company expectations. Analytical Reports: When a company is on the verge of making a crucial decision, an analytical report becomes the most sought-after source of information. These reports present a thorough analysis of relevant data, perhaps by comparing two possibilities, that the business may use to arrive at a sound decision. They usually center on past events that business leaders may learn from as they move forward with their endeavors. Informational Reports: This type of business report is pretty self-explanatory. It is prepared with the intention of delivering descriptive information in order to address a particular issue or situation in a way that readers can grasp. Apart from blocks of wordy text, you can also use visual representations of this data to demonstrate your points a lot clearer. Authors of these reports aim to provide only the most important information so that readers may gain a direct insight into the matter at hand. Research Reports: As you begin to contemplate about exploring new territories to expand your business, you’re bound to find research reports very helpful. Here, researchers are tasked to collect relevant information and analyze these findings to obtain a better understanding of the topic. Many experts even consider it to be a hybrid between an analytical and an informational report because of the way it is structured. However, it also shows just how complicated and time-consuming research reports are to produce.

Business Report FAQs

We answer some of your frequently asked questions about business reports below.

How do you title a business report?

The title page of the report contains the main subject of the document, the date of the report’s submission, the author/s behind it, and the organization or group that they are associated with. It basically labels the document for readers to know the what, when, and who of the report. When writing your title, you need to keep it brief but descriptive of the project. Focus on the business matter being discussed in the document and convey it in a way that will entice your audience. This will make it easy to comprehend and remember for future reference.

Why is reporting important in business?

Detailed reports can be very useful for businesses to critically analyze their financial standing and market performance. The data found in the report will be used to back your decisions and justify your every move. It can even reveal areas that are experiencing more turmoil and turnover than others. With the knowledge acquired from these reports, managers can set solid strategies and provide solutions to each problem.

Rather than feeling intimidated by the idea of writing another report for your boss, consider this as an opportunity to share vital information that covers the complex points of a problem or situation. This will give you a better look into how the business functions and which areas to improve on. Whatever you do, remember to keep your audience in mind to ensure that the information you put remains focused and relevant to what they need.