The purpose of your report should be stated clearly and specifically, because this is the direction for your further writing. You should also consider the fact that the nature and the amount of information given in the report differ, depending on the audience to which it will be directed. Gather all available supporting information on the purpose of your report—factual data, research, and so on.
In order to make your report reliable, organize it properly and analyze it. Its main goal is to set up, in a couple of sentences, the upcoming content of a report. Give some brief background information here; define the problem or topic and its relevance. Also, state the purpose you have determined in Step 1. Introduce your key findings.
One of the best ways to do it is to organize them in a bullet list, though you can also display it graphically. Here you must present a factual outline and give your interpretation of it. Specify the most significant findings; emphasize any unexpected issues discovered during the research process that should be considered.
The next step is to write conclusions. This section summarizes your key findings, introduces your opinion on the topic, and answers the questions raised by the purpose. In the recommendations section, you should provide concrete suggestions on the report findings. This is a more subjective, but at the same time, one of the most important parts of the report.
Here you must specify what needs to be done, by whom, how, when, and where. Explain why you think your ideas on solving a certain problem will work. Compose a back matter section. Usually, it contains some technical information and references. Topic Selection Most commonly, a business report is prepared to solve a problem a company is facing.
For example, you can be asked to write a report to: Basically, business reports adhere to the following structure: However, in businesses which often experience time constraints, another structure is valued: For example, a business might conduct a company-wide study on whether to ban smoking in its employee lounge. The person who writes up the study would produce a research studies report. Help a company improve its policies, products or processes via consistent monitoring.
This report, called a periodic report, is written at fixed intervals, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. It may examine efficiency, profit and loss, or any other metric over the chosen interval. For instance, a pharmaceutical sales representative might provide a monthly summary of his or her sales calls.
Report on a specific situation. A specific situation — as opposed to a fixed interval — calls for a situational report. The situation can be as simple as the information provided at a conference or as complex as a report on the response to a natural disaster.
These reports contain an introduction, body and conclusion. Use the introduction to identify the event and briefly preview what you cover in the body of the report. The conclusion discusses the undertaken or necessary actions for the situation. Present several solutions for a problem or situation.
A yardstick report weighs several potential solutions for a given situation. Based on the results, the writer would recommend a particular course of action. A yardstick report should contain an introduction, body and conclusion. The conclusion reveals the best solution or alternative.
The report would then conclude which of the three countries is the best location for the new plant. Determine your objective and format. Ask yourself what you would like the report to accomplish. Regardless of the answer, you need to make your objective concise. If it is muddled, then your report will only confuse your audience, which risks damaging the report's credibility. For instance, you may want to accomplish receiving a larger advertising budget for your department.
Your report should focus on the current advertising budget and how you might effectively use a larger budget. Consider the knowledge or familiarity the audience already has with the intended topic. Also, think about how the audience will use the information in the report. For instance, say you want to implement a job-share program for your division. Consider how much they likely know about job-share programs already.
The answer will set the tone for the report. If your company has never considered a job-share program, then the report will be both informational and strategic. If the company has considered a job-share program, then the report will be less informational and more persuasive. Identify what you need to learn. The hardest part of writing a business report isn't in the writing. This involves a variety of skills, including data collection and market analysis.
What do you — and, in the end, management — need to know to make an informed decision about the topic? Collect the appropriate data for your report. It is important that your data is well-researched; otherwise, you risk losing credibility. Data gathering itself is going to depend on the type of report that you write. Ensure that the data parameters you choose are concise and relevant to the point of the report.
Data may come internally, which means you'll be able to collect it quite quickly. Sales figures, for example, should be available from the sales department with a phone call, meaning you can receive your data and plug it into your report quickly.
External data may also be available internally. If a department already performs customer analysis data collection, borrow that department's. You don't need to conduct the research on your own. This will be different for every type of business, but the writer of a business report often doesn't need to conduct firsthand research.
Organize and write the report. How you organize your report depends on your objective. For instance, you would organize a compliance report differently than a feasibility report. Once you have an idea of how you want to organize your report, you can write your content. Break up relevant data into separate sections.
A business report can't be a big flood of figures and information. Organizing the data into separate sections is key to the success of a well-written business report. For example, keep sales data separate from customer analysis data, each with its own header. Organize the report into appropriate section headers, which may be read through quickly as standalone research, but also supporting the basic objective of the report together.
Since some of the sections may depend upon analysis or input from others, you can often work on sections separately while waiting for the analysis to be completed. Introduction and terms of reference. It may even be distributed via email. The formal report is usually more complex and runs several pages long. Although specific business fields may have differing approaches, a report can generally be structured as follows note that you will not always need to use every section:.
Base the title on the essentials of the brief you were given. You can also give your name and the date of the report. You only need to include a Contents page in a formal report that is long or complex. It is usually the last page to be typed, after the entire report is finished and its pages are numbered. List the section headings exactly as they appear in the report, with the corresponding page number.
This is a paragraph that sums up the main points of the report. Although some reports benefit from this brief synopsis , it is not always obligatory to include. Check with the person who has asked for the report if a summary or abstract is required.
Describe the details of the brief you were given or any other reason for writing the report. Present the outcome of your research in a succinct and logical way, making sure that you include enough information to demonstrate that you have investigated the matter thoroughly. You can summarize the opinions of people you have approached, present statistics in support of your points, or describe any other relevant information.
It will help the reader if you organize these findings under further headings, subheadings, or numbered subsections. Use graphics or illustrations if appropriate, and be sure they are identified in some way, such as with a title or a figure number. The placement should coincide with the corresponding text for easy referral by the reader. This section should sum up your assessment of the current situation, based on your findings.
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