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5 Types of Business Reports

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Business reports are invaluable, no matter the type or size of your business or enterprise. The information they provide can help you see what is working in your company and what isn’t, so that you can make adjustments and improvements.

What Are Business Reports?

Business reports are actual documents that inform by summarizing and analyzing a particular situation, issue, or facts and then make recommendations to the group or person asking for the report. The goal of these reports is usually one of the following:

  • To examine potential and available solutions to an issue, situation, or problem
  • To apply business and management theories to produce different suggestions for improvement
  • To show your evaluation, reasoning, and analytical skills in recognizing and considering possible solutions and outcomes
  • To make conclusions about an issue or problem
  • To produce a range of suggestions for future action
  • To present clear and concise communication skills

Keep in mind that with business reports, you’ll get several possible solutions instead of just one. Your job would be to identify and weigh-up the cost and benefits of each solution for the organization in the form of a business report.

How to Write a Business Report?

A business report uses headings and subheadings, as well as tables, diagrams, and bullet points, if needed, to make the data easy for the reader to understand. The main function of the report is to communicate relevant information and facts clearly, quickly, and efficiently. Don’t forget the target audience while writing the report – is it aimed only for the CEO or the entire staff? This will help you adopt the right level of formality, objectivity, fairness, and sensitivity.

A business report can include some of the following sections:

Executive summary This section can be as short as a paragraph or as long as ten pages. It summarizes the main points, such as the topic of the report, the data obtained, the methods of data analysis, and suggestions based on the data. By reading this part of the report, you’ll know what it is all about.
Table of contents This part is added if the business report is lengthy. It’s a list of the main topics and the page where they can be found in the report.
Introduction This part highlights the major topics covered in the business report and gives background information about the reason for collecting the data.
Body This part of the report describes the issue, the data obtained, and the way it was obtained and discusses important findings. You can break the ‘body’ into subsections with subheadings which emphasize the particular point covered in that subsection to make the report easy to read as well as understand.
Conclusion This part explains what can the information described in the body of the report mean, and what conclusions can be drawn. It usually gives suggestions on how to use the data to improve a certain aspect of the business. Sometimes, the conclusion can suggest additional research.
Reference A part of the report which includes other sources of information you’ve used to research and obtain the data included. References prove the facts you’ve stated in the business report and allow readers to review the original data sources.
Appendix This part is optional and includes any pictures, charts, or additional research that’s not cited in the body of the report, but it’s still relevant to the topic of discussion.

What Are The Types of Business Reports?

There are many different types of business reports, depending on the business’ needs and situation. Here are some of the most common:

Informational Reports

You ask for this report when you want objective information on something. It presents non-biased facts without explaining the reasons and the possible outcomes of a situation. It is the ideal business report for learning things such as the number of employees, the role each of them plays in the company, or the departments the employees work in.

Analytical Report

This type of business report is usually required when a company is trying to make an important decision. An analytical report analyzes the company’s situation, presenting relevant information, explanations, and conclusions. It helps the company to make good decisions going forward.

Research Report

This is the most comprehensive type of business reports required when a company considers trying something new, such as going into a new geographical area, or offering a new product. A team of specialists or researchers are given a topic and asked to find all the relevant statistics and details obtained from an informational report, followed by a detailed analysis of the data found in the analytical report. The conclusion of the research report will be based on the available data obtained from the analytical and informational reports.

Explanatory Report

This report is required when you want to explain a topic or situation so that everyone can understand it. For example, you can write it to explain the research you’ve conducted. Along with the table showing the results, you should include the reason for the research, sample sizes, methodology, etc. After explaining the results, you should briefly summarize the findings.

Progress Report

You want this report to show how things are going at the moment. A progress report isn’t based on analysis or tons of research. Instead, they are an update for the person who needs it.

To Sum Up

Every business or enterprise needs business annual reports to see how things are working right now, and what adjustments can be done to improve the situation. They provide a summary or analysis of a particular situation or issue and give specific recommendations for further improvement. You should know how to write a business report to ensure the best results, as well as choose the right type of report you need for every situation.

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