Business reports are a written collection of specific activities carried out over time. They are formal documents that contain verified facts, analytical information, and statistical data reflecting the past, present, or future exercise of an organization.
Business developers and managers use business reports to make critical and expert decisions for their organizations. Being able to analyze, structure, and write down your findings in a detailed and understandable manner is a skill called report writing.
Report writing is a soft skill every educated person should possess. In this article, we will be focusing on business report writing skills.
Practical steps on how to write a business report, business report formats, types of business reports, and business report samples will be discussed.
What is a Business Report?
A business report is an official document that gives a detailed account of a business activity carried out over a predefined period. It is a descriptive essay that accounts for how a business functions.
A business report can also be a form of expository writing that reports findings and makes an informed conclusion from those findings based on facts, analytical research, statistical data, and concrete investigations.
Business reports are an integral part of the decision-making process. Managers and COOs utilize business reports for strategic planning, trend forecasting, product and user experience evaluation, expert decision-making, and many other activities.
As a manager or expert in a company, you can not perform your responsibilities without the help of a detailed business report. Business reports are your eyes, legs, and hands, and you cannot simply operate efficiently without a very standard one.
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How to Write a Business Report in Nigeria
Seeing how essential and integral a business report is to the general function and smooth running of a company, it is imperative to know how to write a business report.
A business report is not only a formal and official document; it is a document that could be referenced ten years from the time of writing for evaluations and reviews.
Therefore you not only need to know how to write a business report, you need to learn how to write an excellent and standard business report. Though business reports are written slightly differently due to their types and functions, there are general components that a standard business report should have.
The nitty-gritty of how to write a standard business report has been outlined below.
The first component of a standard business report is clarity. A good business report is meant to capture the reader’s attention at first glance. It must be clear and straight to the point.
Proper labeling of titles and headers, clear points to and against the report if it is an investigative one, and clear points based on analyzed data and statistics.
Remember, this document is to be used for a business decision; your report writing has to be as straightforward as possible.
Simplicity and unambiguousness
Simplicity is not so much not using big words; it is also making sure your writings are not ambiguous. A good business report is written clearly and simply without confusion.
Your audience should not be wondering what to do with your business report; the report should tell them what to do.
For example, a monthly sales business report of a typical Nigerian company should contain but not be limited to the record of all products pushed out for sale, how many products were sold, the predefined target set, the targets met, rate of customer complaints and a collection of their reviews.
Now, this sales report should not be written in such a way that the reader will be confused about what to do or be conflicted about the analyzed data. Therefore, simplicity and unambiguousness are key factors when writing a standard business report.
Present facts first, then your findings
When writing a standard business report, endeavor to always state the present/current fact about the project you are about to report on before proceeding to share your findings.
This will help your reader to flow with you and understand the entirety of your report.
A standard business report should be organized so that your observations and findings are systematically arranged with proper headings and subheadings.
Your points should be written hierarchically from the top down. Always have it at the back of your mind that the report you are writing will be used primarily to make informed decisions, no matter how small it is.
Writing out your report systematically not only ensures clarity and understanding but also lays out your writing beautifully. Some companies also have In-house templates. This can be used to make your report more elegant.
Back your findings with solid facts that are current
A very outstanding feature of a good business report is the availability of fact-backed sources. Writing your report based on solid real-time facts and situations makes your information more helpful.
While old news and trends might be good to be cited as a reference, it is not advisable to base the entirety of your report on them. This is why business reports are written over some time, preferably monthly.
It gives the writer time to study and investigate the project or be able to put together all the important events or activities carried out during that period.
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It is easier to expound a problem than seek a solution for it. No report is complete and standard without making a positive assertion of the problem.
Your report should reflect the solutions to the problem discussed in it. Your findings are a good pointer to those solutions.
Though there are different types of business reports, making sure to input solutions or propose approaches to solve the problem always makes your report standard and credible.
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Types of Business Reports
We are going to list below some types of business reports and examples of those business reports.
- Informative Report – e.g., Monthly / Annual report.
- Analytical and deducement Report- e.g., Survey/literature review report.
- Operational Report – e.g., Inventory/Sales report.
- Industry Reports – e.g., Trends and events report.
- Research and Investigative Reports – e.g., Market research report.
- Vertical and Lateral report. – E.g., Management report.
- Departmental report – E.g., Weekly report
- Descriptive and Explanatory report – E.g., Acquisition/Procurement Report.
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Business Report Format
The business report format depends on the type of business report you want to write. Most companies have customized business report templates for different types of business reports. However, there is a generally accepted business report format. It is broken down below.
This covers the who, what, and when of your report writing.
Table of contents
This covers the list of everything your report is going to evaluate hierarchically.
A summary of the what and why of your report.
Introduction or abstract
This is a snippet of what your report is about.
Main body with appropriate heading and subheadings
Full details on the what, why, and how of your report.
The final summary of your report and the highlighted solutions or critical events of the report.
Survey links, research documents, and other reference materials used in the report.
Writing a business report can be daunting and precarious. Knowing how to write a good business report is almost directly proportional to the quality of decisions your managers can make with it.
In this article, we have explored the definition of a business report, how to write a business report, the business report format, and some types of business reports.
I hope all the above information will assist you in becoming a better business report writer. Thank you for reading!
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