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In the words of Gil Amelio: “Developing excellent COMMUNICATION skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” This is why business people need skills in writing Business Reports. 

Why are Business Reports Important?

In the working world, Business Reports are inevitable. It is a valuable and vital communication tool used to trace and analyse various key performance areas as well as follow the overall health of any business regardless of its size. They identify and address where improvement is needed and pinpoint growing opportunities. Certain business reporting can be obligatory and a reoccurring requirement in some of the bigger corporations. Some reports like financial reports are a legal requirement for most businesses determined by various institutions. These reports provide useful insights for management, shareholders and board members that they can use to help develop future forecasts, marketing plans, budget planning and assist them with making informed decision-making. 

What types of Business Reports are there?

The first thing to determine is what type of report you are required to write. There are 7 main business reports that feature in most companies:

  1. Financial Reports/Formal Business Reports 
  2. Annual Report
  3. Sales and Revenue Report
  4. Production and Inventory Report
  5. Quality Control or Performance Reports
  6. Marketing Report – included here can be a Social Media or Digital Traffic Report
  7. Proposals or Tenders
  8. Research Report

Many companies have different names for numerous other types of Business Reports dependant on which industry and enterprise size you are working in. Something like an investigating report can either be aimed at financial auditing of a firm or it can refer to stock levels disappearing etc. 

What Do You Want To Achieve With The Report?

Your objective should be plain and concise. Ask yourself “Why are you required to write this report?” Try and answer in only a few words like “To increase Advertising Budget by 10% for the year 2020”. 

Who Are You Writing The Report For?

Identify your audience. Who are you writing the report for? Your objective and audience will greatly impact the format you will use to write your report. If your audience is your team members it will be a much more informal report type and writing. If it is for board members or shareholders, you would write more of a formal style report. However, remember that regardless of whether it is for internal or external people, formal or informal individuals, the figures and money make the report more substantial and at the end counts more. 

What Do You Need To Start Writing The Business Report?

Before you even get started, you need to do your research and gather all the information and figures required to amplify or justify your objective or request. Then, organise all your information into different sections and according to the relevant data categories. Don’t flood the report with unnecessary information. 

What Do You Have To Include In The Business Report?

Start with the executive summary no more than 200-300 words which sum up the entire report. Depending again on your audience and objectives, include things like the Mission Statement, your objectives and target audiences involved, some company information, your projected growth highlights, the products or services you are focusing on, timelines or deadlines, milestones etc. Include visuals to explain things better like infographics, graphs, pie-charts or comparison analysis. Oh, and remember to refrain from over explaining and too much jargon. 

How To End The Business Report?

A report should always end with specific conclusions or recommendations for each of your objectives. It should also end with ways of measuring the success or ROI (Return on Investment). Part of ending the Business Report is the final proof read. Sometimes it helps to give your report to an objective person who will read through it. Spelling errors are embarrassing and if something doesn’t make sense to the objective reader, chances are that someone else will also be confused. 

Business Reports guides strategic decision making and, helps business leaders formulate budgets. It assists with planning and justification of ideas as well as monitoring and identifying opportunities for growth etc. Reports record previous activities and also identify proven successes. The Mindspa Institute offers a short course in Business Report Writing.