The Best Way to Write a Business Report: The Grade Miners Guide

A business report is a report that provides information about business-related matters. Business reports vary, and each has its requirements. There are several types of business reports based on their uses. Some of them include recommendation reports, periodic reports, investigative reports, feasibility reports, yardstick reports, project reports, compliance reports, research study reports, and situational reports, financial reports, and risk management reports.

All business reports require thorough research before writing them. Analysis of the information involves the use of the appropriate methodology. After your assessment, you are required to make conclusions and give recommendations.

Comparison between Essays and Business Reports

Essays are given by your tutor to test your ability to create a persuasive argument in response to the given question. They require logical argumentation that is evidence-based. Essay writing does not require the use of sub-headings. Contrastingly, sub-headings dominate a business report. There is a distinct item discussed under each sub-heading.

When writing essays, transition words and sentences are used to guide the reader as they move from one paragraph to the next. That way, they can relate different ideas to each other thus enhancing their cohesion of your text. Therefore, your reader cannot read a section of your work and get a clear understanding of your argument. For them to understand your logic, they have to go through the entire essay. That is different when it comes to business reports. In business reports, you must address what your reader requires for each section as they may only be interested in reading a single segment of your book report.

Another distinction between an essay and a business report is that an essay is written for your professor or tutor. On the other hand, a business report is addressed to different people depending on the context. A business report written for school purposes is directed to your professor and an imaginary figure of the business. In the work environment, a business report might be addressed to any stakeholder of the company. Therefore, readers of business reports require clear and straight to the point detail as they have tight schedules.

The language used is also different. When writing a business report, you have to sound both respectful and knowledgeable about your profession. In essay writing, you are trying to impress your tutor based on their expectations of your understanding of what they have taught you.

Nevertheless, business reports and essays have some similarities. When writing both, demonstrate that your discussion portrays critical thinking and analytical skills. Additionally, you must express your ideas vividly, and your work must be free of all types of errors.

What is the Purpose of a Business Report?

In business settings, business reports are used to guide the decisions undertaken by the organization. In the college context, business reports are given to students to help them to develop adequate business report writing skills that are needed in the work environment when they finish school.

Business report assignments simulate those written in professional settings. Ordinarily, students are asked to write a business report to an imaginary client or a person that is associated with an imagined professional environment. Even so, students should not assume that providing a professional business report is adequate. Remember that the business report was given in an academic setting. Therefore, you must demonstrate that you have ample knowledge of the subject that relates to the matters raised in the academic business report. You have to prove that you can apply what was taught in class when discussing and evaluating the issues presented.

In other cases, a business report is given as an assignment that incorporates both elements of an essay and those of a business report (‘report essay’). In this case, write an evidence-based argument in the context of a business report.

In some situations, academic business reports serve the same purpose as those used in professional settings. Therefore, they should resemble workplace business reports as much as possible. These business reports include feasibility reports, financial reports, case study reports, project reports, and risk management reports. Other business reports are more academic oriented.

Each business report has its function as illustrated below:

Risk management reports discuss the organization’s risk management system. It outlines all the strategies, procedures, and policies for identifying, measuring, and monitoring potential risks and assesses their efficacy at managing them per the business strategy.

Recommendation reports are used to introduce a new idea to the management or key decision makers of the business. They outline the recommended idea and discuss the benefits, costs, risks, and other factors involving its implementation.

Financial business reports outline the financial position of the organization. This report has the balance sheet, the income statement, the statement of retained earnings, annual reports, and any other information about the financial health of the organization.

Yardstick reports are reports that weigh different options. For example, a company wants to change its suppliers, five well-known suppliers present their proposal, which supplier does the company choose? The report studies the options and shows critical information about each option after analyzing them carefully. Afterward, recommendations are provided based on the findings. All the potential options are weighed, and the best alternative is given in the conclusion.

Compliance business reports are used by firms to demonstrate accountability. They are usually written by the firm to regulatory or governing bodies to show that the firm is adhering to all the stipulated rules and that money allocated to the firm is not misappropriated. Compliance business reports provide facts, data, and other relevant information required by the regulatory body.

Investigative reports are written to evaluate and measure the risk associated with undertaking a particular business activity. It assists the business to make calculated risks.

Feasibility reports are exploratory reports. They assess the practicality of an idea or project and determine whether it will work or fail.  These reports outline the benefits, potential challenges, and costs associated with implementing the plan. It gives information about the project’s profitability and whether it can be completed within the allocated budget and time frame. Situational reports review one-time events. A good example is a report written after a training event organized by the company. They disclose its details and discuss what occurred in that particular situation. Recommendations are provided if necessary.

Research study reports present findings on a specified subject. They usually analyze the issue from an in-depth perspective. Typically, it has the following sections: the abstract, introduction, methodology, the findings of the study, the conclusion and recommendation. The sources used to compose this report should be mentioned.

Periodic reports are used to assess the performance of a company on a regular basis and provide recommendations based on the findings. They evaluate the efficiency, profitability, service delivery, employee satisfaction, losses, and other parameters associated with its performance after the specified interval of time. These reports assist the company to better its services, products, policies, processes, and overall performance through periodic monitoring.

Writing Business Reports

When writing any business report whether, for your workplace or classwork, the first thing to do is to ask yourself the objective of that business report. Business reports are very particular. They address a specific item. Therefore, understand what your business report is required to accomplish and focus on it. Remember that the format you use is also dependent on the purpose of the business report.

Understand your audience: Your business report is addressed to a specific audience. It might be written for someone within the company or people outside the company. As such, understand who those people are and what kind of information they expect from your report. That will not only help you to provide the required information but also to use the appropriate language. Your target audience has substantial knowledge about the subject tackled in the report. As such, you must ensure that you provide relevant information that is valuable to them.

Create a research plan that will help you come up with the necessary information: A good research plan will help you to identify the best methods of data collection and market analysis. Gather data that is relevant to your discussion. The data you provide must be adequately researched and accurate. Therefore, you must use reliable methods of data collection that ensure that the information you collect whether external or internal is credible.

Organize your business report: A business report has several distinct sections. Each section is identified with headers. Give the table of contents for lengthy business reports. The format used will be different depending on the objective of the business report you are asked to write. For example, the organization of a feasibility report is different from that of a case study report. It is often necessary to work on individual sections separately since some parts might be dependent on the analysis or other unwritten sections.

Ensure that you draw all the conclusions you make from evidence: They should follow logically based on your analysis of the presented data. Give your recommendations based on the conclusion you have stated. The proposals should mention the implementation plans and how executing the new actions will meet the goals outlined in the report.

Writing the executive summary of your business report: Although the executive summary appears on the first page of the business report, you should write it last. Writing the executive summary last ensures that you give a detailed summary and you do not leave valuable information out. Give a brief overview of the entire report and present the findings and conclusions of your business report in the executive summary. It is essential to make this section count because it might be the only part of the entire business report that some readers will read especially company executives.

Employ graphics in your report: When quantitative data is included in a business report, graphs and charts might be used to aid in illustration. Use of color makes it easy to differentiate information. Enhance readability by using numbers, bullet points, and boxed data as it isolates your data from the rest of the data in the business report thus stressing its significance. Boxes are appropriate where there is a lot of information and no other graphical presentation. As you know, a page that is full of information is not very appealing to the eyes. To break this monotony, use the boxed information to summarize critical points on that page.

Write down all the sources used on a fresh page: You might be required to list all the sources you used when writing some types of business reports. That is necessary because the readers might want to follow up the data and look into it. The formatting style will depend on your organization.

Proofread your business report: Ensure that there are no grammatical, typing, or spelling mistakes in your work. You do not want to give your reader the impression that you rushed through your report and thus put the credibility of your business report in doubt.  Ensure that you use formal language. Use of fancy complicated words is unnecessary. However, technical terms relevant to that profession can be employed whenever appropriate. Ensure you communicate clearly and straight to the point. Passive language is preferable when writing business reports. It is crucial that you have another party review your business report to pick errors that you might have missed.

Create a table of contents for your business report: The table of contents you create should include all the sections mentioned in your business report. Some readers especially executives have no time to go through the entire business report. Most of the time they want to go through the executive summary, the conclusion, and recommendations. A table of contents helps them locate these sections with ease.

Present your business report in the best way possible: Regardless of the qualifications and the amount of experience you have, you try as much as possible to present yourself in the best manner possible during a job interview. Similarly, you don’t want to work so hard to create a thoroughly researched and well-compiled report only to present it poorly. That would beat the purpose of writing it so nicely in the first place. Therefore, submit a business report that is neat and has an appealing format.

The Structure of a Business Report

Business reports have a well-structured format. Each segment of a business report has subheadings that serve to highlight the content of each section. The section to be included will depend on the requirements of your assignment.

Book reports have a heading for each section and a subheading for each subsection to help the readers assess the information they need with ease.

The headings and subheadings provide information about how different parts of the report are related. Use different fonts and sizes for different titles to differentiate them. Ensure that they are also appropriately spaced to ensure that the reader can see the transition from one section to the next.

Choose the headings and subheadings carefully because you will include them in the Table of Contents and the body of your business report. They give the reader an impression of your business report. The style you use to write your headings and subheadings should, therefore, be clear and consistent.

The following components are commonly used: introduction, literature review, methodology, findings, discussion, and conclusion. However, it is not apparent that you will be required to use them in your business report. Whether you use these headings or not, it is your work to come up with the subheadings using your own choice of words. Here are some examples:

When writing headings, you can use nouns or noun phrases.  For example, Supply Chain Management; Apple’s Inc.’s Competitive Strategy.

Subheadings should be parallel. For example, Increase the cost of production is parallel to Decrease in output and not decreasing output. Note the use of abstract nouns at the beginning of the first two subheadings and use of a gerund in the third subheading.

Headings should never take a question form. Business reports are formal documents. Questions are used when the writer is addressing the reader directly in informal contexts.

Sections of a Business Report

Title Page

In this section, you will write your name, the course, the name of your lecturer, and the date. Although this part is mandatory, what is included in this section varies. In other cases, your lecturer might give you the title page.

 Letter of Transmittal

The Letter of Transmittal is a cover letter that is addressed to the person who asked for the business report. It is usually brief. It highlights the terms of reference, the extent of coverage of the business report, and the issues to be tackled. It provides the record that the business report was given and it highlights the writers and other contributors. The letter of transmittal is usually not included in most academic business reports. Nevertheless, it is necessary for professional settings and those taking International Business Courses.

Executive Summary

The executive summary provides a brief summarization of the entire business report. It is commonly written for business executives who have hectic schedules. It talks about the purpose of writing the business report, the findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The executive summary can be seen as a synopsis or an abstract. Ordinary, it should not exceed one page. In some assignments, you are not required to write the executive summary when writing your business report. Check the guidelines in the report brief to know whether to write the executive summary or not. If you are required to write it, it is advisable that you write it last and on a fresh page.

Table of Contents

The table of contents provides a list of the sections of your business report and the headings used as well as the pages where they can be found. It may not be necessary to include the table of contents for all business reports, especially if they are short.

Introduction

The introduction comprises of a short description of the background information, the purpose of the book report, the scope of coverage of the book report, and the definition of terms. The introduction gives the reader an overview of the business report. Therefore, ensure that you have outlined the purpose for writing the business report in the introduction. Some of the information found in the introduction is also found in the executive summary. However, since they serve different purposes, they are read separately.

The Body

The body makes the bulk of the business report. It is divided into the following parts: the background information, the theoretical framework, the literature review, the methodology, the findings, and the discussion.

The sections mentioned are not found in all business reports. Therefore, check the instructions given in your assignment to see which parts you should include. Subheadings and numbers or even numbers alone are used for the sections included in the body of the business report. You must first introduce the theoretical framework because it is considered very important for academic business reports. Afterward, give the results of your research and discuss them with the theoretical framework in mind. When writing, ensure that there is a distinction between how you present the results of your study and how you discuss them. The results of the research are facts. However, the discussion of those findings is opinion based. As such, you must create that distinction in your writing.

Conclusion

The conclusion is where you give the summary of the business report, the assessment of the findings, the recommendations and the limitations of the business report. Writing the conclusion is mandatory.

Recommendations

In this section, you will present the series of actions to be undertaken based on the findings of your research. These suggestions should be very particular. They must state the proposed measures, how to carry them out, the appropriate time to implement them, the areas that require the recommended steps and the cost of undertaking the action or failing to take the recommended actions. You can number the recommendations or write them in point form.

 Appendix

Tables, charts, and other graphical information are put in the appendix section. However, they can be included in the body of your business report if you need to demonstrate a crucial point that would be impossible to illustrate without them.

References

In the references section, you list all the sources that you used when writing your business report. This section must be included when writing business report assignments. However, the reference section is not necessary for most workplace business reports. In most academic business reports, the Harvard referencing style is the formatting style of choice.

When writing book report assignments, it is essential to adhere to the writing style and language used for other academic writing assignments. In the workplace, this is different because business reports should be written using simple language and a familiar tone. The readers of workplace business reports are busy people who have no time to comprehend complex wordings thus writers of workplace business reports must use simple language. Also, the language used is familiar as evidenced by the use of ‘I,’ ‘you,’ and ‘we’ when writing most business reports because the writer knows the readers. However, for classroom business reports the tone should not be familiar. Therefore, the use of passive voice is encouraged.

In a nutshell, the following factors are what makes a good business report:

  • Demonstrates the purpose of the business report in the introduction
  • Draws a clear distinction between the introduction and the executive summary by showing a deep understanding of their objectives
  • Discusses the methodology or theoretical framework used to evaluate the information
  • Employs the theoretical framework adequately to illustrate the findings
  • Utilizes logical assertions to present the results of the study
  • Uses clear headings and subheadings that are parallel
  • The format used is fitting for that type of business report
  • Gives the overall summary of the business report in the executive summary
  • Presents the recommended course of actions in brief and explicit statements and provides the rationale for those actions based on a careful examination of the findings
  • Use of the appropriate language and tone that reflects an understanding of the relationships between the reader and the writer.

The guide we have given you will assist you to write an excellent business report for any context. The Grade Miners is here to handle all your concerns regarding business reports. We have a team of accomplished writers who are committed to serving you. The writing team at The Grade Miners comprises of competent professionals from different fields of study. Their proficiency is second to none thanks to their wealth of experience. Contact The Grade Miners today, and we will offer you exceptional and customized services.