A business report is an official document that helps people make decisions about how they run their business. Some reports go to external organisations or individuals, but most are for directors and managers within the business itself. These reports help them make the right decisions to guide the company to success.
This guide will make the process of writing detailed business reports easier to understand. In it, we’ll be covering some of the more important topics surrounding business report writing, such as:
- The different types of business reports
- The information you should include in your business reports
- How to structure your business report correctly
The different types of business report
This is not a comprehensive list of the types of business reports you might need to write, but it does cover some of the more common and more important examples.
Recommendation reports propose an idea. In this kind of report, you should include the benefits of the idea, as well as the potential risks and costs. In addition, a recommendation report should be persuasive, as it’s trying to convince the reader that the idea is a good option. This is handy in small businesses where you work with a partner and need their approval to start projects.
A feasibility report helps its reader decide if an idea is possible and profitable. It should include detailed information without the persuasive tone of a recommendation report. For instance, it would involve research about the sort of deadlines needed or the kind of business competition that might be faced. You might need this if proposing a new business idea to investors, or if you’re working as a consultant, you might write these sorts of reports for your clients.
Investigative reports specifically focus on the potential risks of an idea. It’s helpful for business owners looking to plan and prepare for any consequences of a particular purchase, strategy or investment.
This kind of report aims to show that the business is following regulations and acting responsibly. Compliance reports frequently go to external organisations – for example, you might write a compliance report for a government body to show the company is complying with GDPR.
Periodic reports are the most common kind of business report. They contain an analysis of the company’s actions over a certain period. Examples of this would be a monthly sales report or an annual report on business expenses.
What to include in your business report
Your business report will mostly consist of facts, figures and data. What kind of data depends on the kind of business you’re running and the kind of report you’re writing. That said, there are a few rules you should follow when writing any report.
Firstly, think about your audience. Who is the report for? Are they part of your business or not? If they aren’t, you might need to include a lot of background information about your business and its activities in your report so that the reader understands what you’re talking about.
You should also consider how formal you need to be. If you’re a business owner, it’s unlikely you’ll need to be too formal, as your reports won’t be for a superior within the company. Still, you might want to take care when writing a report for an external organisation. Think of it as though you’re writing a professional business email – you need to take care to set the right tone.
Next, you’ll need to think about the best way to present that information. Show your reader, as well as telling them by using graphs and charts to view data that might be difficult to understand if presented another way. You should also take care to check that you’ve included all relevant data, so it’s clear to the reader that you’ve done your due diligence.
Structure of a business report
Writing a business report is similar in some ways to how you would write a business plan. There should be a summary, a main section that contains your research, and a conclusion that revisits the topics of the report. More formal reports may require other information, but let’s look at how to write these most common sections.
Summary and introduction
Your report should open on a summary that briefly describes the report’s contents – everything from the title to the conclusion. It exists so that readers can get a reasonably good overview of the report without reading the whole thing.
Your introduction should introduce the main points of the report. It’s also a great place to put context and background information for readers who aren’t part of your business.
The main body of your report is where you put the majority of your research and your relevant data. Try to present the data in the clearest way possible – i.e. using graphs and visual aids – so your readers can understand what you’ve written. You should also include your research methods so it’s clear how and where you found your information.
Conclusion and recommendations
The conclusion should be very similar to the summary, but focused more on what your research found and what the results of the research should be. Depending on the report, you may also want to include your recommendations on the best course of action for the business going forward.
Keep on top of your finances with a simple app
Most types of business reports require some form of financial data. If you rely on physical copies of your financial information, it can be difficult and time-consuming to get the statistics you need for your report. To save time and energy, consider using Countingup for your finances instead.
Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are.
You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward!
Find out more here.