Formal business reports have essential roles in assisting administrators and executives in decision making. Based on the needs and market, these documents may have a multitude of applications. It is crucial to know how to write a structured business report. In this post, we will clarify what a business report, how one can be written, and examples are given. Let’s get started!
- What is the business report?
- Why you need to have a business report
- The structure of a business report
- How to write a business report
- 1. Plan for your report
- 2. Check for an in-house format
- 3. Include a title
- 4. Include a table of contents
- 5. Add a summary or abstract
- 6. Write an introduction
- 7. Outline your methodology
- 8. Present your findings
- 9. Complete with a conclusion and recommendations
- 10. Add a bibliography and appendices
- 11. Proofread
- 12 Business report examples for your business
- 1. Daily Activity Report Template
- 2. Weekly Sales Report Template
- 3. Monthly sales report template
- 4. Annual Report Template
- 5. Project Status Report Template PPT
- 6. Business Monthly Expenses Template
- 7. Forecast Budget Template
- 8. Nonprofit annual report template
- 9. Market Research Report Template
- 10. Marketing case study template
- 11. Competitor Analysis Template
- 12. Case Study Template
- Final thoughts
What is the business report?
Formal business is an official document, including data, analysis, facts, and other vital information to help decision-makers develop strategies and goals to support the business. A formal business report may be several pages long and cover detailed data and detail based on the subject.
Depending on the purpose, formal business reports have some major types:
You may use this report to bring forward an idea for the executives. The body will contain parts such as risks, expenditures, and profits. For example, suggesting to purchase a machine for your office. This type of report helps coming up with a strong rationale to persuade the decision-maker.
This report could be highlighting the possible risks of a particular opportunity. It helps business owners foresee any problems in an investment or acquisition. A structured business report may also be created to evaluate a prospective merger.
This report is vital when the company needs to convey accountability and generate a compliance report. It helps a company to prove it meets regulations and spends money appropriately. For example, an accountant may submit a compliance report showing that the organization was implementing federal spending laws.
You will use this report when you need to evaluate the results of a suggested plan. The report will discuss future concerns, related costs, and the advantages of the proposal. It enables you to determine whether the plan will be feasible, whether the deadline is achievable, and whether there is a probability that it will exhaust the budget.
Research studies report
This type of report assists in evaluating a situation. It typically involves specific suggestions for problem-solving.
This document strengthens a company’s products, services, procedures, and practices. The report may contain such things as information about profit and loss or analyze performance: a monthly sales report.
A situation report helps clarify a particular topic, like seminar information.
This type of report identifies different solutions as alternatives for a given situation.
Why you need to have a business report
These reports also allow for data collection by tracking the progress. They help you to compare the different periods and operation, development, and more. You can find out the powerful goods or services, the high-performing marketing strategy, and the priority on which markets or segments.
It’s important to gather all this data to create a paper record of your history. They allow people outside the business, such as banks or investors, to know about your operation and outcomes. They allow stakeholders to be aware of the tangible and intangible assets of your business.
Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of business reports samples in the following aspects.
Risk Evaluation and Opportunity
With samples of company reports, you can improve the comprehension of risks and opportunities within your business. Sample reports emphasize the connection between financial and non-financial performance: they streamline processes, lower costs, and enhance general cohesion.
Trends and Connections
Samples of the business report will allow you to compare your efficiency with other business units or businesses in the same industry. A more specific report will help you dig deep into organizational indicators and specifics and find similarities that would otherwise be ignored. Getting a deeper insight into your data in today’s hyper-connected digital era will allow you to devise strategies that speed up key areas of your business growth by trend recognition.
Business Intelligence (BI)
If you build a business report to improve your BI operations and address important strategic issues, you can have the potential to get specific insights that can contribute to the operational value and manage the overall expenses. With a report with specific examples and templates, you will be able to develop a strong business intelligence strategy.
Although an organization has several types of business reports, they all share one similar trait: collecting data and monitoring business activities that relate to something particular.
With the right reports, users can carry out in-depth visual assessments of many main business sectors or processes as well as provide educated feedback that eventually boosts productivity and promotes creativity.
Despite how great an idea may be, getting buy-in from senior executives or external partners is usually a primary obstacle to development. Luckily, a good report template comes into play. With in-depth details and factual and compelling presentation, the report will promote buy-in among people by offering a chance to sign off on new strategies, initiatives, or ideas.
If the report is factual, then the data will become clearer and well organized. You can evaluate your business activities cost-effectively, decreasing the time needed to examine findings and evaluate significant metrics. A good template presents an in-depth analysis and deciphered their findings.
With a business report, you can answer specific problems in the decision-making process. A business report serves many functions: to prepare for the future, to be aware of a situation, and to answer a business dilemma.
Some executive dashboards are for everyday use, whereas a monthly business report template can allow you to more progressively and incrementally categorize your tasks. They both are key to business success because they make complicated analysis results clearer. As previously stated, the clearer the data, the more cost-effective findings would be; then when determining what kind of report to create, it should be important to realize the exact data to be integrated.
You can notice many major performance indicator examples in different sectors that should be examined when producing this type of study. You may also create an interdepartmental or business report to evaluate the sector’s values and identify the positioning of your business in the industry.
Accuracy and Consistency
Data is a massive field throughout this Digital Age. You should ensure data’s accuracy and consistency to get the most out of it. To create a report, you should consider choosing an online database platform as it is user-friendly, time-saving, and provides accurate information. An online dashboard tool also enables you to be consistent and avoid hit-miss data.
With real-time data, your report will be up-to-date and supported with the latest information. Business reporting examples allow you to investigate your data and analyze it to gain significant insights to act on them. Your report will be more valuable when your findings are illustrated by visuals, hence, are clearer and more comprehensible.
Business-centric reporting tools are simple, easily understood, and visual tools. You can understand it easily, and its story also resonates with your audience. When you investigate your data, you can gain meaningful insights with only a few clicks.
If you create a clean and personalized report, it will be more beneficial than printing or searching through a spreadsheet. Business dashboards provide all the information you need through a few clicks.
Creating an efficient business-centered report means you can get specified, precise benchmarks. You will maintain the business activities while fueling your overall growth and productivity levels by regularly establishing specific objectives based on your most critical business priorities and using visual reporting tools.
Better internal collaboration and communication is one of the main applications of business reports. By getting real-time access to the most important business data and improving the way you interpret and show it, you will motivate everybody in the company with better access to info.
These reports can also be of several different forms. Yet, they still share one similar characteristic: collecting data and monitoring business activities linked to something particular. Through this, the process of investigation and giving recommendations will take place.
The structure of a business report
A business-centric report is mainly about building trust and transparency. It’s important to determine your goals as well as the audience before you start writing your paper. You should know your audience, whether it is external stakeholders, executives, or the sales team. It is vital as you need to determine the level of elaboration, tone, and vocabulary for the interpretation of the report.
Furthermore, the scope varies with the report’s objective. To be on the right track, from scratch, understand the requirements and goals. It should be an unbiased objective with a structured presentation or dashboard reporting tool that allows for interactive data flow and quick access to any details required to draw specific conclusions.
To create a formal report, you can take a look at its structure.
1. Title Page
A title page is mandatory as it informs the reader of the things they are going to read, its author, and the report’s date.
2. Executive Summary
The executive summary is the whole report’s CliffNotes version and contains the topic, a summary of the information gathered, and any recommendations drawn from the analysis. For busy managers or executives who may not have time to digest the whole report, but need the summary of the results, this condensed version of the report comes in handy.
3. Table of Contents
This section is important for longer reports because it includes the sections and any subheadings and the position of those sections and subheadings. When the reader is searching for particular sort of information, they can find page numbers easily.
The introduction demonstrates the topics that will be digged into by the report. It will specify what data was gathered and why, and the report’s ultimate intent.
This section provides the details of the report’s methods and findings and gives data. You can show the supporting data in tables, charts, or graphs. Remember to enter the title for each descriptive data.
Common sense, the conclusion will sum up the report’s body section.
If the report’s results justify a statement, respond to questions, or include action, then the suggestion section is where you discuss future actions that need to be taken.
If third party sources or tools are used in writing the article, they are to be mentioned in the references. This part informs the reader of where the additional information they need is.
The appendix section is at the end of the report with additional documentation such as a report—financial data, a glossary, or interview transcripts.
How to write a business report
1. Plan for your report
Regard the formal report of the business as a project. You outline precisely what you’ll do before you start collecting research and writing down pieces. By doing this, you will be more likely to create a report in a straightforward and simple format.
2. Check for an in-house format
For formal business reports, your company may already have an existing format. Search the company handbook, or ask whoever needs the report to find out if you can use a specific format. You should use a format already established to improve the professionalism of the report.
3. Include a title
You could get the report’s title with the brief, or create it yourself. Put it at the start of the report and ensure its clarity and visibility. You should also include your name and if any, the names of those who contributed to the report and the date you wrote it.
4. Include a table of contents
The page that follows the title and author(s) page should be the table of contents. It is required for a long and complicated formal report. While this page is at the beginning of the report, you should write it after you finish the report. Write down the section headings precisely as they are presented in the report’s section and ensure the matching of page numbers.
5. Add a summary or abstract
The summary sums up the key points of a formal business report. Having this page can be helpful for the reader, yet it’s not required if your report is short. It is wise to contact the person needing the business report, whether they want a summary or an abstract. While this summary appears at the beginning of the report, you should write it last, along with the page of contents, hence, you can add notes from your conclusion and suggestions.
The summary should inform the reader of your findings and even reveal some details in your conclusion. Try to focus on the key points mentioned in the report.
6. Write an introduction
This section will explain why you’re writing this report. The introduction should discuss the objective of the report and background details about the topic. Also, provide any definition as well as outline the principal argument.
7. Outline your methodology
The section on methodology should describe the research methods you have selected for creating this report to the reader, like using a qualitative method, a quantitative method, or a hybrid of both. Show the reason for using these methods.
8. Present your findings
Here, you can show the findings of your investigation. It’s crucial to interpret your findings clearly and concisely and ensuring you’ve provided sufficient detail to show you’ve extensively investigated the topic.
Using headings, subheadings, and numbered sections to arrange it is a good way to present your results more effectively. You will want to show the results either in bullet points or with a table. You can also want to show diagrams and graphics, like infographics, yet make sure these graphics are suitable for the report.
9. Complete with a conclusion and recommendations
Based on the findings, you will show your conclusions from the findings and present recommendations in this section.
You can apply specific actions to them if you include any targets. Each proposed target, strategy, or alternative should inform the reader of how it will influence the firm.
10. Add a bibliography and appendices
Add all the references which you used to write the article like online articles or books. Remember to list the sources by alphabet. All of the data to support the study can also be included. This might involve questionnaires, maps, notes, summaries, charts, tables, illustrations, and so on. Use a letter to mark each note, map, and other materials so that you can explicitly reference them in the report.
When your report is completed, proofread it and ensure it does not include any grammatical or spelling mistakes to improve your report’s credibility. And when writing, be straightforward and succinct. Stay away from using terms and slang that are confusing. Using jargon and industry-related technical terminology is necessary, yet avoid using so many of them. Please ensure the content transitions from one section to another, particularly if the report has more than one author.
12 Business report examples for your business
When it comes to working from home; the best practices involve regular reporting and interaction. Think about incorporating an employee’s daily report if you are under a telecommuting policy. These detailed yet concise templates are incredibly helpful for your daily reporting activities.
Take into account reporting on sales a segment of the weekly meetings. For company-wide meetings, a brief update will be necessary, and for sales and marketing team meetings, a more comprehensive report.
For example, this design includes the week’s total sales for and pinpoint their differences with these of prior weeks.
For a monthly sales report, you may want to elaborate on your metrics by presenting engagingly and succinctly.
To make the data clear to your audience, you can use this template with various charts and tables.
To compare your company’s performance in the current year with that from the previous year, an annual report is needed. This type of report covers the mission statement, growth, statement of income, statement of cash flow, different business segments, details about the directors and executive officers, stock and dividend policy, wins and success stories of your company.
This annual report design has various charts and uncommon sections like “reflecting on our business” to tell a story.
Major updates will involve experts to communicate the progress of a project personally. This presentation template incorporates charts and data visualization to convey your key points clearly.
Although the last slide leaves space for what is still pending, customers or other stakeholders can see what has been done and when.
Throughout a meeting, a completed budget report seems to be too thick to carry around a table.
And yet, much like the example here, a visually compelling presentation and one-page overview are ideal for your team and stakeholders.
A forecast illustrates where an organization is financially going. It’s not a future plan, in fact, it is more like a current short-term route.
You can use this simple but effective forecast template to estimate sales for your companies– and respond appropriately.
Nonprofit annual reports can gain credibility with sponsors if done properly. Ensure the transparency of the finances of your nonprofit and the results of its operation. Strive to make the reports easy to read and understand.
The template incorporates unique charts to visualize data, for example, the half donut charts.
Doing regular market research is vital to your business’s growth. It helps you to plan and refine your marketing approaches, to find new potential customers and product ideas.
Market research typically includes collecting information about consumers’ desires, concerns, and wishes. For your product or service, this research will allow you to create your consumer personas and address particular issues.
Market research can be performed though qualitative research or survey research. A way to engage consumers and establish confidence in them is to include facts and analysis to back up the suggestions.
A market research report points out the scope of the industry and provides specific advice on the path ahead, everything supported by evidence.
Case studies are an effective way of marketing because they present to a prospective buyer how the product or service has already been used by current consumers to accomplish their objectives.
For example, this template shows how Blue Cap boosted their conversion rates by this social tracking tool.
Win marketers’ attention with a report on competitor analysis. A good report should demonstrate what a firm has to fight off in order to remain competitive.
A competitor analysis report typically covers product summary, competitor strengths and weaknesses, competitor strategies and goals, and vision (the growth of the market growth, the possibility of entering niche segments).
For this example, such categories are nicely grouped into compact sections and key stats are emphasized. Stakeholders can conveniently compare them to the figures of their own business and have an instant sense of how they are holding up.
A case study examines a specific aspect of an organization or a circumstance that is encountered. It may be mandatory as part of a training program they are implementing for the company.
Such situations in case studies may include startup or early-stage venture, merger, joint venture, acquisition, market entry or expansion, new project or product, pricing optimization, profitability, industry landscape, and growth strategy.
Case studies are generally a story to tell. They should provide background information about the business, the situation, an outcome, a protagonist, or key players.
This case study template has room for this narrative in addition to showing important information by icons and a bar chart.
In conclusion, you have read the definition of business reports, ways to structure and write them. Your business can be way better off if you do the reporting part properly.
To attract the readers, try to create a well-written report that lives up to their expectations. Make sure to make them accurate, clear, well-structured.
Ever heard about a marketing report? Sounds strange, right? To better evaluate your marketing efforts, you should find out more about it here: 7 Things Every Marketing Report Should Include.
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