The main purpose of a business report is to convey relevant information quickly, clearly, and efficiently.
This is an important tool in the decision-making processes.
The report poses a business question, examines it draws conclusions and raises desirable courses of action.
For example: examining a new marketing channel, customer satisfaction surveys, periodic flow, a new product, the purchase of a new resource, or the effectiveness of an existing or new method.
The report is intended for those who will have to make the decision. Sometimes it is one person and in other cases it could be thousands.
Examining a new product will sometimes involve a limited number of decision-makers in the organization. A business report can sometimes interest only one person – the lone manager who has to make the decision.
On the other hand, if the purpose of the report is to build public trust or customer loyalty, the report may be prepared for an audience of tens or hundreds of thousands.
Basically, all the information required to make a decision.
Still, if we treat the report as a vessel for every potentially useful piece of information, it’s likely that either we won’t prepare it, or the recipient of the report won’t read it..
The report should take into account that whoever makes the decision needs enough information – but not too much. After examining the report, they may seek to deepen their understanding in one of the areas. But at the stage of submitting the report, it should only make the most important information accessible.
A business report is not written as an essay, but in a shortened style that allows the reader to quickly navigate the report and identify key elements.
Appropriate headings and subheadings should appear in the report, and if necessary, bullet points, charts, and tables. Business reports can range from short reports of one or two pages to lengthy reports of 100 pages or more with multiple chapters, and possibly several appendices.
A long report will include a table of contents and possibly an index
Most reports contain about 4-5 pages, and will usually include the following four elements:
In order for such a report to be effective and easy to read, an understanding of visual information is required. Not necessarily using images – but paying attention to highlights, using process illustration, thinking maps, and other visual techniques that bring more clarity to your data.