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How to Write a Business Report

By an eHow Contributor
Planning and writing a proper business report that reaches its intended audience and
motivates its readers takes planning, research and a commitment to the success of the
Difficulty: Moderate

Define and clarify the purpose of the report. Do this as early as possible so that
you do not waste time and energy with unnecessary issues. Gather all the
information needed to make a reliable report. Sometimes this can mean talking
to the people involved, or it can be as involved as conducting a research project.

2. 2
Organize all relevant information. Be sure to limit your information to the
purpose of the business report. Don't let the scope of the report expand. If the
purpose of the report is to identify potential new markets for your product, stay
focused on that one product and new market information.

3. 3
Write to your audience. You need to understand who you are writing to and for,
and determine how best to address this audience. Define the tone, attitude and
emphasis that is geared towards your readers.

4. 4
Compose the business report using strong words that will motivate your
audience. Create effective, well arranged sentences. Some of your audience may
only scan the report, so write the business report with bulleted points, plenty of
white space, good headlines and subtitles and short paragraphs on point.

Proof, edit, revise and distribute the report. Having a second set of eyes read
over the report is an excellent way to make sure your message is clear. Leave
yourself plenty of time to edit and revise the report before the due date. Do not
rush this step. When you distribute the report, ensure that all documents and
attachments are included and that everyone gets them.
Business Writing Skills: Writing Formal Business
Aug 20, 2010 Priscilla Tovey

Business Writing: Reports -Priscilla Tovey

Following are guidelines on how to write a formal business report, a skill many corporate employees seem to
be lacking, according to industry leaders.
The State of Business Writing Skills
While the demand for business writing skills continues to rise, the number of American corporate employees
who can proficiently use the written English language remains concerning. The College Board National
Commission on Writing did a research report titled: A Ticket to Work...Or a Ticket Out, A Survey of
Business Leaders (2004), and found that while writing is a required skill for hiring salaried employees, one-
third reported that most of their employees do not have the business writing skills necessary for their
positions(15). The report findings represent the views of business leaders in major American corporations,
many who have made substantial investments in remedial business writing training for their employees.
According to these industry leaders, writing essentials are “accurate, clear, and grammatically correct”
communications (13). These are the foundational skills needed for effective writing.
Effective Writing: Formal Business Reports

Formal business reports are a common form of business writing, and there are many types, reflective of
industries and functional areas. Whatever the type, they all require assessing purpose, defining the
audience, and analyzing information, among other activities. The formal business report should reflect high
professional standards in every way, from substantive and strategic content selection and analysis, through
concise and clear lines of reasoning. It should be free of grammatical errors and maintain an appropriate
tone and style. The following guidelines are important to consider as steps in the process to producing a
high-quality formal business report. (Note: If you’re having trouble with grammar, it can be addressed with a
good writing handbook, study, and practice.)

1. Define the Purpose: The first question when writing a formal business report is: “What is its purpose?”
Often the purpose will be both to inform and persuade. It could also be to argue, analyze, or recommend, or
a combination of these, among others. The purpose will drive the information that’s included and how it is
presented in the report.
2. Define the Audience: Who is the audience for the formal business report? This is an extremely important
consideration as content, style, and tone should be written appropriately for the audience. If it is submitted to
a boss, what are the boss’ standards? If the boss is submitting it to upper level management, what are the
standards there? Effective writing reaches the intended audience by speaking their language.
3. Gather facts and information: Do the necessary research and gather the relevant information from
reliable sources. Be thorough and organized in the process. Consult the stakeholders, if appropriate,
subject-matter experts, and any others who should weigh in.
4. Analyze the information and create an outline: Review all the information and analyze it based on your
purpose and audience. Analysis should be done thoroughly; it is important not to rush through it, as it will
serve as the foundation for the report. Then create an outline of the key points and concepts organized
logically in preparation for drafting the report.
Read on
• Teen Texting: Affecting College Grads' Communication Skills?
• How to Succeed in a College Business Writing Class
• Online Business Writing Courses

5. Draft the Report: Using the outline, draft the report. State the purpose in the opening, so your audience
is clear on what it’s about. If you’re making a recommendation, summarize the compelling reasons for it.
Often referred to as an "executive summary," this gives the reader a high-level overview from page 1.
Develop the report by indicating and supporting each of the key points and concepts thoroughly. Use bullet
points to make it clear, easy to read and reference. Find an internal company report of the same type that
you can use as a formal business report model.
6. Proofread it! A formal business report needs to be proofread. In addition to looking it over yourself, ask
one or more of your co-workers to review it before submitting. It’s easy to become blind to our own mistakes
when writing, and it’s embarrassing and potentially costly when someone points them out after the report is

Formal business reports are among the most common type of business writing required of corporate
professionals today. In addition to the necessity for clear writing, free of grammatical errors, there are
essential guidelines to consider when composing formal business reports. While corporations can provide
training on business writing skills, it is up to employees to take individual responsibility for the development
of effective writing skills through study and practice.

Read more at Suite101: Business Writing Skills: Writing Formal Business

Reports http://www.suite101.com/content/writing-business-reports-a276592#ixzz16swelOpj


Sample Material

On completion of this module you will be able to:

• Produce a personal development plan that meets the Level 2 requirements.

• Obtain primary and secondary data for defined research objectives, using a variety of
research methods.

• Analyse quantitative and qualitative data and present research findings in writing, with
appropriate use of figures and tables.

• Explain the advantages of particular methods, as well as the limitations and difficulties
associated with them.



How to Use This Study Guide

1. Research for Business

The Business Environment
Undertaking Research
Research Projects
The Nature of Research
Strategic Issues

Progress Check 1

2. Types of Research
The Approach to a Research Project
Typical Topics for Research

Progress Check 2

3. Ethics and Access

Ethics and Morals
Three Basic Principles
Ethical Investments
Ethical Research Guidance Sources

Progress Check 3

Formative Assessment – 40075/01 83

4. Secondary Sources
Reviewing the Literature
International Research and Sources
Availability and Suitability
Progress Check 4

5. Sampling
Why Sample?
Types of Sampling
Non-probability Sampling
Probability Sampling

Progress Check 5


In Level 1 you read of the four styles of learning and developed your skills in effective reading and
research. You encountered the fundamental divide between what is called primary data, which
you have obtained at first hand for yourself, and secondary data, which you have come by
through the efforts of others. You also encountered a second key divide, between research that is
quantitative and research that is qualitative. And you came across another classification, based
on what the research is aiming to achieve: whether it is exploratory, descriptive, analytical or

In this module you are going to see how research is applied to commercial life, where there are
specific areas of interest to be addressed, so that resulting data may be sifted and turned into
useful information that provides intelligence for contributing to the ever on-going effort to establish
and maintain competitive advantage. The aim is to equip you with the ability to conduct, evaluate
and present research to a standard that is appropriate and relevant in a business context.

How to Use this Study Guide

In this Business Research Methods module your primary source of reference is:

• Business Research Projects, by A D Jankowicz (4th Edition) 2005.

This book, which first appeared in 1991, provides a set of guidelines, methods and techniques for
what the author calls ‘in-company work’. This is a respected and comprehensive text by someone
who for some 30 years has specialised in teaching undergraduates how to conduct their research
projects. In addition to this ‘core text’ there are several more that you may well want to
investigate. The most directly relevant of these, as its title implies, is:

• Research Methods for Business Students, by Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian
Thornhill. (Prentice Hall, 3rd Edition 2003).

This is an excellent, thorough and respected academic work.

• Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures, by Ronald Czaja and Johnny
Blair: (Pine Forge Press 1996).

This concentrates, as its title suggests, on the detail of survey work.

There are three more titles listed as indicative reading. Each concentrates on a particular aspect:
Qualitative Methods and Analysis in Organisational Research, Symon and Cassell (Sage 1998);
Key Concepts in Social Research, Payne and Payne (Sage 2004); and Analysing Quantitative
Data, by Blackie (Sage 2003).

From this you will gather that there is no shortage of texts on research, and you will also find an
abundance of interesting reading in a wide variety of journals, magazines and newspapers.

As with earlier modules, from time to time you will come across various Activities, all designed to
add interest and encouragement. You’ll find that this subject is potentially very absorbing and can
be quite fascinating. That is because it goes to the heart of how our world works.

These diverting Activities are of variable duration – how long you are invited to take in each
instance is clearly indicated – and some general feedback is provided at the end of each Study
Guide. Most are for you alone to have a go at, but some may involve others, which you should be
able to arrange yourself but you can always ask your Mentor to help if you wish to do so.

As before, you will find icons used to indicate the classification of the Activity, which can be
helpful for understanding why and where it has popped up. Of course, there are few greater
satisfactions in this life than knowing that a job worth doing has been done well, so you’ll want to
make the most of these opportunities.

There will be four Assessments along the way; the first three for your Tutor to see and provide
feedback on, and a final one that will reflect every element of the learning outcomes for the
module. That’s some way ahead, though. First things first: have you a copy of the core text and
do you know how you’ll being fitting in the time needed for this Module?

About the Core Text

Business Research Projects is designed to facilitate successful project-based reports. ‘The only
research concepts, principles, and techniques that it provides are the ones you will need to
complete your project, on time, and to an acceptable standard’. The practicality of the text is
emphasised by the Project Guides, which appear at the end of each chapter.

These are designed to pace the reader through his or her current research project stage by

Throughout this Study Guide you’ll be directed to reading specific parts of the Jankowicz book.
This is designed to make sure that you extract what you need when you need it, but here are
some overall points about the book.

It aims to serve two audiences:

• readers who are studying full-time, described as being ‘undergraduate students’ even
though they may be doing a second degree or seeking a professional qualification. These
students do not have any supervisory or management experience

• readers who are studying part-time, described as being ‘post-experience managers’ even
though they may be temporarily full-time because they have taken time out from their
occupations to study. These latter readers may be in full-time or parttime employment;
they do have some supervisory or management experience.
Obviously you belong to the second group, those people who are finding time in their busy lives
for part-time study. It is helpful to bear this in mind when using the text, because, as the author

‘The needs of both groups are different, and the kind of business project they do tend to be
different. Apart from anything else, the second kind of student almost always does an empirical
project in which they collect data of their own, within their own organisation; the first kind of
student may collect their own data in an organisation, but may prefer to do a library-based
project, staying mostly within the premises of their university or college’.

This difference soon becomes apparent if you decide to read the book as a whole. For instance,
choosing a topic: chances are your subject has arisen at work, whereas the fulltime
undergraduate has to think of something appropriate and viable ‘from scratch’.

Throughout, the author seeks to address both audiences, so bear with him on this.

About Your Project

Among the ten main topics of study in Business Research Methods is:

• Research potential career choices and relate these to a self-evaluation.

This leads to your development of a personal development plan, which, in no more than 1,500
words, tells the examiners about your current job and career ambitions. It is worth up to 30% of
the available marks.

So start thinking around that now and see if you have some initial ideas about how you will want
to research for it. You could plan this as one substantial activity or as a succession of shorter

Either way, you’ll need to address the self-evaluation, for which you may need help in framing
some of the questions that you need to ask of yourself. If you are unfamiliar with personal
development plans or could do with some help in getting started, consider asking your Mentor
about this.

There are self-evaluation questionnaires in instruction books and websites that may be helpful.
Books range, for instance, from primers such as Hopson and Scally, Build Your Own Rainbow
(Lifeskills Publishing Group/Open University) to more advanced texts, including Studner, Super
Job Search (Mercury) and McMullan, Be Your Own Boss! (Kogan Page).

It may well be that you have a personal development plan already. Perhaps you decided way
back to develop one because at school the idea took hold that you definitely needed one. Or
maybe your current employer or a past one insisted that you had one, framed in the context of
your current occupation. In which case, well done, now you can use that to kick-start this project.

Why, if you have one, start again? Well, as you know all such plans need to be kept under review
and refreshed from time to time. But more immediately, this course requires you to produce one,
and presents a golden opportunity to start asking of yourself some questions that you might not
have thought much about lately. For instance:

• Did you really plan your current job, or did it just happen?
• What really is interesting, even exciting, about your work?
• What would you really like to change about your job?
• What are you really prepared to go without in order to succeed?

So, in addition to telling you business research methods, this module includes a research
exercise into you, which should be a whole lot more interesting that any other topic!

And you can start on that project straight away. And before you start, here is a quick ‘health
check’ to make sure you are match-fit.

magine this - You are a busy, senior level manager, overseeing a number of departments of the
organization, you work for. Every quarter the managers of various departments submit report, of
how their respective departments have performed. Such business writings are important and have
to be read carefully, to analyze overall working of each department and decide if any corrective
measures need to be taken to boost the performance of any department. Going through such
reports usually takes time. But what can be more frustrating is, each manager using a different
business report format. This makes reading the reports more time consuming as you have to read
through the whole report carefully, to look for specific information.

Importance of Business Report Format

A business report is not an example of creative writing which a reader should go through word by
word. Business reports are mainly about statistics and specific information. Moreover, people who
read such reports are busy personnel of high rank. They do not have time to go through each and
every word. They look for particular information and if an organization follows a specific business
report format, such personnel know exactly which part of the report to look, for specific
information. This saves them a lot of time. Secondly, following a standard business format also
allows one to organize his report effectively and logically. This is specially useful in case, the
report has a lot of data. Also, one won't forget to cover information on particular area, if one refers
to a sample business report. Hence, knowing how to write a business report is very important in the
business world.

Sample Business Report Format

There are few standard rules for writing business reports that dictate what information should come
in which section of the report. This format is followed in most of the business report examples,
that one may refer to. The most widely used business report consists of the following standard

Title Section: In a short report, this could be the first page bearing the title of the report, author
name and date. The reason of making such a report could also be included in this section, so that
the reader can establish an instant connection with the information in subsequent sections. In
case of long reports, include the Table of Contents, Terms of References and so on.

Summary: As the name suggests, this is the summary of the whole report. Then why include it in
the beginning of the report itself? It

Summary: As the name suggests, this is the summary of the whole report. Then why include it in
the beginning of the report itself? It is because this is the section that most of the senior
personnel, who do not have enough time to go through the whole report, will read through.
Hence, give a very clear and precise information about the problem/aspect of business that the
report is analyzing. Also, include the main points, conclusions, recommendations and important
results. Although, this section contains a lot of information, ensure that it is a small one. Treat the
summary as a separate report and use bullets and numbered lists to highlight important points.

Methodology: List the methodologies used in your research, like if, you interviewed focus groups
or consulted research firms. Also, give the reason why you resorted to using a particular

Introduction: This is the first part of a proper report. Use this section to provide the background
of the report. Highlight the reasons why the report is important for the readers. Include information
about what is covered in the main body and the order in which the details are covered in the
report. In case, the Terms of Reference has not been mentioned in the Title Section, Introduction
is the section to include it.
Main Body: This is the heart of the report. Arrange all the information in order of priority, so that
this section follows a logical sequence. Divide this section further into subsections. Lend greater
order to the Main Body using sub-titles within each subsection. A paragraph about the relevance
of the findings of the report can also be included in this section.
Conclusion: Present logical conclusions for the topic investigated in the report. One can also
suggest an option for the way forward. In case, discussion has not been included in the Main
Body, include it in the concussion. Otherwise keep this section small.

Recommendations: Since you have worked on the report, no one would have a better
understanding of the topic than you. There may be a few solutions or actions that you think would
be effective in dealing with the problem, investigated in the report. Include those solutions in this
section. List them in bullets and numbered lists for easier comprehension

Appendix: Although very few people read the Appendix, the information in this section gives
support to the arguments used in the report. It is the Appendix where the author includes all the
sources and research information, in detail.

Although it is not about creative writing, good writing skills are important in business information
reports, as one needs to give comprehensive information using precise words. It is advisable to
keep the language simple and lucid in a business report, specially in the Summary and the
Recommendations, as these are the sections most commonly read by senior level managers.
However, some technical jargon can be used in the Main Body, as this is the section that is
mostly read by experts.

In the world of business, time is money. Following a standard business report format is what
senior level managers and busy businessmen look for, as it reflects what they value the most,
that is, effective utilization of time.

business information report endeavors to make the reader understand the business
plan, business growth strategies and the goal of your business. Business report writing is meant for
an audience that is internal as well as external. These audiences are either from technical
background or non-technical background. Business report writing can be a tedious tasks for those
who find it extremely difficult to organize and write a detailed report.

It is very important to follow a proper format when writing business reports. There are standard
business report writing formats that are can be easily understood by anyone reading it. These
sample business report formats also help reduce your time of preparing one as it helps you
become more organized. These sample business report formats have been developed by
professionals over the years. These well-writtenbusiness writings also do not waste the time of the
reader and do not allow them to skip the information that they should be reading. If you are
wondering about how to write a business report, then read on further. The following business
report example will help you understand how to write a business report.

Writing Business Reports

Business report writing involves use of logical steps that explains the information and data
regarding the business related issues. The following sample business report will explain the major
constituents of business information report.

Title Page: The title page includes the name of report, the author's name and date. You can also
write the reason of report on the title page to inform the reader regarding the problems or
solutions offered.
Letter of Transmittal: This is used to announce the release of the business report and give the
reader the necessary background of the business information report.

Content Page: This page includes the table of contents of the major titles or heading mentioned
in the report. You should include the letter or memo of transmittal in the table of contents. If there
are sub headings in the report, try to include them too. You should mention the page number on
which the main heading and sub heading lies. The page numbers should be written an inch from
the bottom of the page.

List of Illustrations: This page is used to mention the illustrations included in your business
report. When the business report includes only figures, title the page "List of Figures" or if it
includes only tables then mention, "List of Tables".

Executive Summary: The executive summary is used to summarize the background of the
report in one page for managers who do not have time to read your business report. The
executive summary should include purpose and scope of the report and also the major
conclusions and recommendations suggested. Mention only the information that is worth writing
in the executive summary.

Methodology: Explain the methods followed in your research to come to a valid conclusion. You
need to mention if you did a group survey or searched for information through the internet or
library or involved an outside agency to carry out the research for you.

Report Body: This is the major chuck of business information report when writing business
information. The headings and page numbers should match according to the table of contents.
The report body should contain:

• Introduction: The introduction will explain you’re a

• Main Body: The heart of your report lies within the main body. All your important data and
information that needs to be mentioned while writing a business report need to be
covered in the main body. You need to put forth your best writing skills when writing
business reports.
• Conclusion: The conclusion will analyze your result and bring your business report
together. This is the answer to your business report, and will be read by everybody. Keep
the conclusion short and to the point.

Recommendation: This will provide your reader the possible suggestions that will help address
the issues mentioned in the business report. You should mention the recommendations using
bullets and numbered points when writing a business report. You should be thoroughly sure
about the recommendations made as they may be followed by the reader.

Appendix: You need to mention all the sources of research in detail. These details will prove
helpful in supporting your recommendations.

This sample business report guidelines will help in writing business report that is concise and
easy to digest. You should include all the relevant and important data in the start of the paragraph
as people don't have time to read the entire page and hunt for information. Always keep a back-
up of the data and research material as you may need it support your findings. You should make
two copies of your report. Proof read the first copy and make appropriate changes and submit the
second corrected copy of your business report. You can always search for business report
examples on the Internet to help you format your business report. Business report can help make
an impression on your audiences, thus, be very professional and precise when writing one. I hope
these writing tips have solved your query how to write a business report.

he style of a formal report or a business report principally depends on the matter for which a said
report is being presented. The situation greatly influences the report and its contents. A formal
report can demanded by you superior for various reasons and the report can be anything right
from a general monthly progress report to a sales report or even a project report. Some other
formal report topics include, show cause meeting proceedings, reporting of accidents and
mistakes, etc. The size and the volume of facts would of course depend on the situation. The
monthly progress report can for instance contain a single table showing the input, output, time
dedication and any other contributing element to the production process. In short it is necessary
to do the formal report writing as per situation.

Irrespective of the situation, size or even the number of facts and elements that are to be included
in the report, all the facts and figures can be presented in a specified and simple manner. Such
a formal report format will ensure that the person reading the report can comprehend, understand
and image the entire station and the contents of the report. You may also read more on formal
report outline.

How to Write a Formal Report?

There are 3 primary elements that can be incorporated in such a report. Such elements include,
the background of the situation, the actual execution of the projected situation and finally your
own conclusions, suggestions and error points or rather the points where the error could have
been avoided. Per se the last part of concluding the report is the challenging one as your own
logic, skill understanding and knowledge are applied in such a situation. You may also refer to the
answer to how to write a formal report.

Formal Report Format:

Here's brief explanation to the format of the entire report…

• Part 1: In the first part, you will be required to present the background of the report, for
example, a project report of a construction contract will carry the specifications that have
been demanded by the client, plus you will need to include, governmental compliance
that you would be fulfilling or have already fulfilled. In some cases you will have to quote
price, cost projections, budgets and estimated time frame of completion of the project.
You will have to of course back it with a logical explanation as well as some margins and
remedies to possible risks.
• Part 2: The part two includes the detailed procedure that will come into the picture. This
has to again backed by sufficient budgeting and time scheduling.
• Part 3: Part three as mentioned above is of course a report about the mistakes and
conclusions from them. The remedies that are taken or are to be taken are mentioned in
this part.

Formal Report

The following is a brief sales and consultancy report given by a head of department, which has
been assigned to procure adequate land and set up a supply facility to a restaurant chain. Note
that thi