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:
- Evaluating or reviewing progress
- Taking necessary actions
- Decision making
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
- Accuracy: Business Report should be accurate. That is to say, all the facts in the reports should be true, exact and genuine.
- Relevant: It must include only those facts, figures and information which is pertinent to the report.
- Precise: Unity, coherence and brevity must be maintained in the report. Also, it should be abridged so that the reader can easily navigate the report and locate the main elements.
- Objective: Recommendations that the report offers should be the logical conclusion of the research findings and analysis. In addition, it should be unbiased as well as must not cover the interest of the person preparing the report.
- Clear: The writer should maintain clarity in thoughts while preparing the report. Also, he should identify the source first. After that, present and arrange all the findings in an orderly manner. Also, he should divide them into short paragraphs in a logical fashion. To aid the flow of information, he ought to provide suitable headings.
- Reader Oriented: One must prepare the report keeping in mind the type of reader who is going to read the report. In other words, whether they are knowledgeable persons like Directors, Managers, Supervisors, and so forth. Or they are workers and shareholders who don’t have much knowledge.
- Simple and Unambiguous: One should use simple and unambiguous language to write a report. It is a business document with a general-purpose utility, so it should not create confusion.
Elements of Business Report
There are five main elements of a business report which are:
- Executive Summary
- Key Findings
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:
- Purpose: Report must have objectives for which the report is written.
- Organization: Right and logical sequencing of the report is necessary.
- Clarity: It should use simple and clearly understandable language. Also, it should be free from technical words.
- Brevity: It indicates the conciseness of the report. Brief reports are easy to prepare, analyse and present.
- Scheduling: Assignment of task and delegation of authority is required. This ensures least burden on a person to prepare a report. Also, adequate time is to be given to get data, prepare and analyse reports.
- Cost: It indicates cost-effectiveness regarding the preparation of the report.
Example of Business Report
Format of Business Report
Report Writing Process
The report writing process involves the following steps:
- Determining the objectives of a report from the terms of reference.
- Investigating sources of information
- Taking notes of all the relevant information, evidence and data.
- Compilation, classification and tabulation of data
- Data Analysis
- Making an outline
- Drawing inferences or conclusions
- Making suggestions or recommendations, if required
- Preparation of Draft Report
- Making all the relevant corrections and changes in the draft report
- Final report preparation
- Submission of the report to management.
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.