According to Mr. W.L.Read, A report is a document in which a given problem is examined for conveying information, reporting findings, putting forward ideas, and sometimes, making recommendations.
Report writing is the process of presenting information in a systematic and organized format, usually in written form. Reports are commonly used within organizations to provide accurate, timely, objective, and concise information to aid decision-making processes.
A business report is a formal document that provides detailed information, analysis, and insights about a specific aspect of a business or organization. These reports are created to aid decision-making, communicate important findings, and offer recommendations to address various business-related issues.
Business reports are commonly used to convey information to stakeholders, managers, executives, and other relevant parties within an organization.
Purpose/importance of a Business Report
In a small business, the owner can supervise his business matters by himself. However, in a large and complex business, the situation is entirely different. Here the owner can not be everywhere.
Whenever he faces any problem he needs information which he gets through business reports prepared by reliable experts. A business report helps the managers monitor the various units in an organization in the following ways.
- Informed Decisions: Provides accurate insights for informed choices.
- Problem Solving: Identifies and addresses challenges effectively.
- Performance Evaluation: Measures progress and financial health.
- Strategic Planning: Guides adaptation to market trends.
- Communication: Shares complex information clearly.
- Transparency: Presents unbiased findings, building trust.
- Accountability: Tracks achievements and improvements.
- Resource Allocation: Efficiently uses resources.
- Compliance: Demonstrates adherence to regulations.
Characteristics/Qualities of a Business Report
A high-quality business report is clear and easy to understand. It uses simple and concise language to convey complex information, ensuring that readers can grasp the content without confusion. The language of the report should also be very clear.
Accuracy is paramount in a business report. Quality reports rely on accurate and reliable data, supported by thorough research and fact-checking to avoid errors.
A quality report focuses on pertinent information that is directly related to the report’s purpose and objectives. Irrelevant or extraneous details are omitted to maintain focus.
A well-rounded report covers all essential aspects of the topic at hand. It provides a comprehensive overview without leaving out critical information.
Quality reports present information in an unbiased and objective manner. Personal opinions and emotions are kept aside, allowing the data and analysis to speak for themselves.
Depth of Analysis
A quality report delves into in-depth analysis of data and information. It goes beyond surface-level observations, offering meaningful insights and interpretations.
Quality reports follow a logical structure with well-defined sections. The sequence of information flows naturally, guiding readers through the report’s content.
Effective use of visual aids, such as charts, graphs, and tables, enhances the quality of a report. These aids simplify complex data and make it more accessible to readers.
A quality report adheres to professional standards in terms of formatting, font, spacing, and layout. It reflects a polished and organized appearance.
Tailoring the report to the needs of the intended audience is a hallmark of quality. The report addresses the concerns and interests of readers, ensuring its relevance.
Quality reports present information in a concise manner, avoiding unnecessary repetition or wordiness. Each sentence contributes to the report’s overall message.
Reports of high quality provide actionable insights and recommendations. The suggested strategies are practical and feasible, enabling decision-makers to take meaningful steps.
If the report involves data collection, it should be transparent about the methods used. Quality reports explain the data collection process, enhancing credibility.
A quality report respects ethical standards in data collection, analysis, and presentation. It prioritizes privacy and adheres to legal and ethical guidelines.
Quality reports have clear objectives outlined from the start. The objectives guide the content and focus of the report, ensuring coherence.
Engaging content keeps readers interested and invested in the report. Quality reports use varied sentence structures and styles to maintain reader engagement.
Process of Writing Reports
The planning process involves the following steps:
Defining the Problem, its Purpose, and Scope
The first step toward the planning process is to analyze the problem and know the purpose of the report.
Considering the Reader
The second step involved in the planning process of writing reports is to consider the reader. It is extremely important for the writer to visualize his reader and his needs.
Determining Ideas to Include
It is always highly desirable that the writer should consider as to about what ideas he should include in his report in order to meet its purpose.
Collecting Needed Material
It is very important that the report presents bare facts, collected through reliable sources. In all collecting real, reliable, and relevant material helps the writer add to the aspect of reliability of his document.
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
This fifth step involved in the planning process requires analysis, arrangement, and interpretation of the data collected.
Organizing Data and preparing the Final Outline
After careful analysis and interpretation, the writer should organize his findings and make the final outline.
The organization and Outline of the Report
The organization and outline of the report body include the following aspects:
- Plans for Organizing Report Body
- Ways to Organize Report Text Section
- Methods of Outlining
Plans To Organize Report Body
To make the report really useful for the reader the writer should choose a suitable organizational plan for the report body. He should know which method of presentation would be more effective for the reader. The two usual ways to organize a report body are:
- Deductive or Direct Plan
- Inductive or Indirect Plan
Deductive or Direct Plan
In Deductive or Direct Plan the writer puts the main ideas or main recommendations in the beginning part of the report and then follows them with detailed explanation.
Inductive or Indirect Plan
In contrast to the deductive plan, the inductive organizational plan confers writer to put the text first and then give the conclusion and recommendations.
Ways to Organize Report Text Section
The details of the text can be organized in the following ways, It depends on the needs and requirements of the readers:
1. By Topics
To arrange text details topic-wise means that the writer should divide the text of the report into different topics and then provide them with suitable, standard heads.
2. By Order of Occurrence
In this sort of arrangement, the writer presents details of the text in chronological order. He presents the different parts of the text not according to any standard divisions but according to the time periods.
3. By Order of Location
Organization of the text materials in order of location means that the writer gives details of the report place-wise or location-wise.
4. By Procedure or Process
Here the writer describes the events of the report step-by-step to save him from possible digressions that may otherwise occur.
5. By Order of Importance
Here the writer puts the details of the text in order of their importance. He first puts the ideas, events, or topics that are of greater importance, and then follows them with ideas of lesser importance.
6. By Order of Familiarity
This organizational scheme aims at proceeding from simple or familiar to complex or unfamiliar.
7. By Sources
In this method, the writer of the report arranges details of the text in order of the sources of his information. This method is good only when the reader is more interested in the revealing sources than in the ideas.
8. By Problem Solution
In this sort of organization, the writer first discusses the problem and follows it with a solution.
Classification/Types of a Business Report
There are two types of Business Report
These are verbal reports. These reports deal with day-to-today matters of lesser importance. An oral report is usually subjective in its approach to the problem.
Contrary to oral, written reports are based on written documents. It is completely objective as the writer studies and analyses the problem objectively. Written reports are classified into different kinds, depending upon their function, format and frequency etc. Written reports are classified into.
- Routine Reports
- Special/Analytic Reports
- Memo/Short Reports
- Formal/Long Reports
i. Routine Reports
Routine reports deal with the routine matters of a business. These reports do not carry any comments or suggestions. Sales reports, financial reports and production reports are the best examples of these types of reports.
ii. Special/Analytical Report
The subject of such reports is some specific situation that needs a complete analysis.
Special or analytical reports are further classified into:
a. Memo/Short Reports
Usually, these types of reports are used inside the organization but depending upon the situation these may be sent outside the firm. The writer of a short report should always try to be simple, direct, and to the point.
b. Formal/Long Reports
A long or formal report is much more detailed than a short or memo report. It covers a wide range of aspects related to its subject.
Pattern of Reports
The reports may be formal or informal but the subject matter of a special report is usually arranged in the following order.
- Terms of Reference
- Findings and Conclusion
Parts of a Short Report
A short report has the following parts:
The purpose of the introduction section is to prepare the reader for the main text of the report. It usually begins by making a reference to the letter of authorization and an introduction to the subject of the report.
The text of the report has its own structure. The facts of the subject are arranged properly in an appropriate, desirable number of paragraphs.
The conclusion of the report is the most important part of the terminal section. It is concluded in a brief gist of the discussion.
4. Suggestions or Recommendations
The writer should clearly mention his suggestions or recommendations in this report.
Short Business Report Sample
Report on the demand of Factory Workers for an increase in wages
The Managing Director,
Long man Garments Limited,
From: XYZ, Manager (Administration)
Subject: Report On The Demand Of Factory Workers For Increase In Wages.
Date: November 10, 2017
This is submitted to the Managing Director, in response to his directive dated October 25, 2017, asking me to prepare a report on the demand of the factory workers for an increase in their wages.
- Text with a conclusion:
I discussed the matter with the office bearers of the Factory Workers’ Union. They want an immediate 25% increase in their wages to cope with the financial pressure on them.
cture announced by the Ministry of Labour and Industries- Government of Pakistan. More
We revised the salaries of our workers in 1999, to bring them to par with the salary structure, we are already giving one bonus salary to our workers every year.
This too, is a fact that during the last three years, the cost of living has gone up due to a number of factors. The recent devaluation in the currency has made the situation more critical for the common man, Yet, we should feel satisfied that we are offering better service conditions to our workers by giving them certain extra facilities which no other organization gives to their employees.
- Suggestions and Recommendations:
In view of the present situation, and in light of the discussion that I had with the office bearers of the Workers’ Union, I suggest that:
- To lessen economic pressure on the workers, we may set up a Fair Price Shop on the premises of the factory where necessary commodities should be available to them on a no-profit-no-loss basis. This will not cost us much but will certainly alleviate the financial suffering of the workers to a great extent.
- Similarly, we may also set up a dispensary on the factory premises to give free outdoor medical assistance to our workers and their families.
- Once, these facilities are provided to the workers, we may revise their salaries and may give them a 10% increase instead of 25%, as has been demanded by them.
Report on a fire accident in the branch office of a company
ABC Finance Company, Lahore.
From: Manager (Security)
Subject: Report On Fire Accident In The Multan Branch.
Date: November 11, 2017
This report on the Fire Accident in the Multan Branch of the Company is submitted to the General Manager in response to his directive No. 101 issued on October 25, 2017.
The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning of 20th October 2007. In addition to my meeting with the Branch Manager, I interviewed the watchman of the branch who told me that he was in his cabin when he heard a loud noise.
He rushed out of the cabin and, to his great shock, he saw smoke clouds and flames rising up from the main office building. He immediately rang up the Fire Brigade which reached the site within 15 minutes.
It was after two hours of hard struggle that the Firefighting staff brought the flames under control. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had eaten away all wooden furniture and most of the windows and doors of the building. All the papers and files in the Branch otherwise the loss would have been far more serious. Still, the damage caused by the fire is considerably great.
I have made an inventory of the items consumed by the fire, which is enclosed herewith. As per a rough assessment, the total loss caused by the fire is worth Rs. One million. This includes the cost of repairs and other causes of the fire, It seems most likely that the fire was caused construction of some portions of the office building. In the absence of any because of some electrical fault, perhaps due to the exposed wiring.
- Suggestions and recommendations:
In view of my findings, I make the following recommendations:
1. Repair and construction work of the office buildings be carried out on an emergency basis.
2. Special care be taken that all electrical fixture, including the wiring, is safe up to the maximum standard of safety.
3. All Branch Offices of the Company be equipped with a Fire Alarm System to avoid recurring such heavy damages.
4. Firefighting equipment be provided to all Branches and the staff be given the necessary training to cope with an emergency.
5. Periodical safety inspections of the branches be carried out from time to time.
Parts of a Long Report
A long/formal report is composed of the following parts:
1. Title Page
It bears the subject of the report, the name of the recipient, the name of the writer or sender, and the date of completion.
2. Letter of Authorization
A letter or Memorandum of Authorization is the letter that authorizes the writer to write the report.
3. Letter of Transmittal
Letter of Transmittal is a short cover letter. It is attached to the complex document to emphasize more context. It contains a message that conveys the report from the author to the reader. It is usually worded in conversational language.
4. Introduction / Preface
The introduction is a significant part of the report. It describes in general the subject and scope of the report.
5. Table of Contents
Table of Contents is an important part of a long report. It contains a list of the main headings of the report outline with page numbers shown against them.
6. Table of Charts
The purpose of this table, like the Table of Contents, is also to guide the reader. It provides a list of the charts, maps, and other illustrations included in the report.
It is a condensed, concise, accurate statement of what is important in the report. In other words, we may say that a summary is a report of the report.
The text or the Body of the Report is the actual report which contains an objective and analytical discussion of the problem.
An appendix is the collection of supplementary material, given at the end of the report. This part of the report is used for reference purposes only.
It comprises a list of books, magazines, journals, and other such published sources. The author benefited from compiling the report.
The index is a kind of guide for the reader. It lists alphabetically important words, terms, names, etc. used in the report with their respective page numbers to enable the reader to find them in the document without trouble.
Overall, report writing is an important communication skill in the business as well as in the professional world. It enables organizations to effectively communicate important information, analyze situations, and make informed decisions based on credible and well-organized data.
Business reports are intended to provide information in a systematic manner that aids in making important decisions and future planning. Reports assist firms in setting budgets and choosing promotions and marketing based on the researched data.