How To Write a Business Report Like a Pro13 min read
Business reports can be a valuable tool for decision-making, which is why they must be meticulously planned and structured to ensure that readers find what they need quickly and easily.
As a digital marketing agency, we strongly believe that business reporting implementation is paramount for the overall health of the enterprise, regardless of its size or industry.
That’s why we have created this step-by-step guide to show you how to create a powerful business report and stay on top of your marketing goals.
The Importance of Writing a Business Report
Assists in decision-making
Large-scale companies and organizations require in-depth information for a cohesive and successful operation. When it comes to making important decisions in a specific area, the executive can formulate a more effective strategy based on the business report information collected from various sectors.
Track progress and future development
Business reports can help you track and document progress over a certain period of time and get a precise insight into your growth history. The collected data can show you which products or services are most successful, so you can make adjustments to meet your targets.
Evaluate the performance of each sector
Writing reports can help the top executive evaluate the performance and activities of each sector and their engagement while working towards a common goal. Managers can control the workflow of their subordinates and foster motivation for stronger cooperation.
Identify and resolve problems
Another major importance of business reports is helping the business to detect and resolve any potential problems. The team can discuss reasons behind any issues and present recommendations for overcoming them.
If the company didn’t have a satisfactory performance in one quarter, these findings could be used to identify and strengthen the weakest points.
Unbiased presentation of statistics
If you want to grow your business, you must have a transparent and entirely neutral analysis of every aspect of your work performance. These reports ensure a fully unbiased presentation and exact data of all financial operations. This is crucial when it comes to attracting investments and new sponsorships.
Set realistic and achievable goals
There is no short way to success; however, setting realistic and achievable goals depending on your enterprise’s current financial capacity will get you there quickly. You can use the data from your business reports to develop new strategies and make your business goals more attainable.
5 Ultimate Tips on How to Write a Business Report
- Plan and outline the business report
The first stage of writing a formal business report is to determine the subject and the context. Think of the objective you want to accomplish and how it can be presented. Highlight the main points and present them in a clear and precise manner.
The entire report should include all the relevant information about the business plan without getting too much in detail and overwhelming the reader.
The business report’s structure should include three main sections:
- Title page
This is the executive summary section or introduction where you can write the reason why you created this business report. Generally, it should include dates and information about the creator or participants that worked on the report.
- Table of contents
Next comes the table of contents, which is the summary of the topics that the report covers. This section is essential, especially for complex business reports that are several pages long, as readers can get a much more comprehensive insight. Ensure to add section headings and page numbers.
Most notably, the executive summary shouldn’t be more than one page long, so it needs to be written in a way where it can stand alone.
- The Conclusion
Finally, end the business report with a compelling conclusion. You should present the key findings and make recommendations on what actions should be taken. Keep it short and concise so the reader can think about what steps they should take afterwards.
- Set a clearly defined purpose and a strict goal
Whenever you are creating a business report, remember that the main purpose of this formal document is to facilitate decision-making related to the future and prosperity of the business.
Most importantly, it needs to maintain effective communication with those you report to, so in this case, it’s imperative to provide actionable recommendations.
While writing informational reports, ask yourself whether the proposed idea is taking the reader towards the main aim and whether it provides solutions. If this is a justification report, you should also add sections that will explain potential risks, benefits, and costs.
- Use a simple and easy-to-follow structure
The business report format type is an integral part of its presentation. Depending on the type of business report you are writing, it can be presented in a specific format. For example, progress reports are usually very straightforward compared to feasibility reports.
It’s always recommended to check whether the company uses its own in-house format that needs to be followed while writing reports. Usually, you can find it in the company’s handbook.
- Organize for clarity and coherence
List all the sources that support your report’s findings, if relevant, in order of appearance (and add footnotes!). This way, it will be easier for the readers to navigate through the sections.
Your written report can be from one page to several pages long. In this case, you must include a table of contents. Add an executive summary with the key details, as well as a conclusion.
- Wring engagingly using clear vocabulary
Overall, any formal business report must have an easy-to-follow structure with clear objectives. Clarity is an essential attribute – which means no jargon or spelling errors. Be sure to separate sections using bold headers, making it easier for skim reading.
- Keep it professional and stick to the company standards
Accuracy is of utmost importance since transparency is essential in every organization.
Whilst writing any official document or formal business report, it’s recommended to add background information that includes the company’s history and the main philosophy. This will show that you pay attention to their core values.
Types of Business Reports That Every Company Needs
Annual business report
Annual reports give an insight into the company’s accomplishments over the preceding year. They present every segment of its work, from operations to marketing. These reports are usually released at the end of the fiscal year, providing a detailed overview of the company’s financial data, including profits, assets, and revenue.
Typically, annual reports are required if the enterprise is publicly traded or is obligated to disclose financial information to regulatory bodies. Overall, annual reports are necessary for any business, whether they are emerging startups, large enterprises, or SMBs, to measure whether they are on track to meet their goals. You can use the same report structure for creating monthly and weekly insights.
Importance of Annual reports:
- A reliable source of company-specific information that can guide investors before taking investment action.
- The performance of the company, whether it’s sustainable or not, is based on the outcome of a certain strategy.
- The core competence of the company and its management capabilities
- Insight into some unscrupulous account activities and the company’s total debt
- Disclosed cash statement
Sales business report
For any business to flourish, it’s necessary to keep track of its past product/service sales performance on the market. Sales reporting gives a clear idea of how you can optimize your available resources and correct your sales strategies. This way, you can also keep up with the pace of the ever-changing business environment.
Sales reports pave the way for identifying marketing mistakes, identifying skill gaps, and segments that need improving. Depending on each company’s needs, sales reports can be prepared weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Importance of sales reports:
- Capture large amounts of factual information about everything that impacts the company’s profits and make better-informed decisions
- Track sales metrics that can help improve conversions
- Detect unfulfilled sales targets and what triggers a potential prospect to either buy a product/service or abandon the process mid-way
- Identify potential risks and spot advantageous opportunities
- Boost the team’s morale by showing the results of their successful performance
Inventory business report
Not tracking your inventory levels can easily get you in the sticky situation of losing customers because your products are out of stock. Inventory business reports are a crucial aspect of every e-commerce business to ensure an ample stock of products that are in demand.
The inventory report’s purpose is to help follow and manage the location of the inventory in the warehouse, categorize them per their cost, and the spot where you can minimize expenses. Furthermore, this business report can be used to record the company’s inventory and supporting equipment.
Importance of inventory reports:
- Control the goods movement, manage the goods, and keep track of which products sell the fastest or products that aren’t sold frequently
- Keep up-to-date data related to the inventory
- Help in strategic planning, including the exact amounts for the future, distribution mechanisms, and storage necessities
- Calculate the company’s wealth for both movable and immovable assets
- Avoid unnecessary expenses of purchasing goods that aren’t in-demand
Research business report
The primary goal of a research report is to inspect key aspects of how the business operates before requesting improvement recommendations. Topics can include customer service satisfaction, budget research, product development, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
You can create a research business report based on the questionnaires submitted to employees or one-on-one interviews with willing customers. The research report findings should include business problems and what actions need to be taken to resolve them.
Research reports are commonly used before launching a new product. So if you want to skyrocket your sales, make sure you learn how to launch a new product’s strategy.
Importance of research reports:
- Help complex business organizations make better-informed decisions more easily
- Investigate the weak points of business and present the findings with recommendations for improvement
- Assist in giving relevant information and stats on a specific topic for the company, whether it’s planning to venture into new areas, such as launching a new product on the market, or expanding in a new geographical area
- Provide an advantage towards professional achievement. Employees can make their own reports with research showing significant proof of their abilities when submitted to higher authority in the company
Progress business report
Most projects usually have a final destination, but the journey to get there needs to be tracked every step of the way. A progress report serves to give an update on certain tasks. It’s highly important whenever you or your team work on multiple projects, helping you stay on top of your achievements.
Additionally, the progress business report not only can boost the team’s accountability but also encourage decision-making, improve initiative, and help them stay motivated by showcasing each milestone.
Importance of progress reports:
- Serve as the backbone of someone’s performance, enabling fair assessment of work ethic based on their achievements instead of feelings or bias
- Help the team to stay in sync, especially in the distributed workforce during holidays and sick leaves. All the information in one place can keep the team members updated, helping them catch up quickly with their schedule
- Serve as a reference for motivation, improvement, or drawing up ideas if the business decides to repeat the project or use the same strategy in the future
- Highlight the positive and negative advancements in the project and enable a much smoother workflow within the company
Analytical business report
An analytical business report is a type of business report that is based on historical data and statistics, providing data insights and predictive analysis on a specific issue, such as an SEO rating on a new product or a conversion rate.
The upper management team creates these reports whenever there is an important decision to be made in the other departments within the company, for example, staff turnover. The analytical business report either focuses on an existing business process or proposes a new one.
Additionally, these reports assess the results of any new implementation, whether it positively or negatively impacted the company’s goals. Liquid Digital can provide detailed data analysis and insights tailored to your needs.
Importance of analytical report:
- Improve the efficiency of communication between partnership companies
- Eases the decision-making process for managers based on the analysis results instead of experience or instincts
- Provide in-depth information about repetitive trends, helping the business predict future trends and make preparations accordingly for any potential challenges
- Give an up-to-date insight regarding changes in the business environment and new competitors entering the market
- Showcase a large amount of factual data about the business through visual graphics and different metrics for a better understanding
Informational business report
Informational business reports provide any type of analysis in an organized and objective way. Their primary quality is that they don’t contain any arguments and tend to maintain a neutral point of view. These reports’ main objective is to present specific and relevant information, usually from the board of directors or the stockholders of the company.
These types of business reports provide extensive information on financial statements, line of business, history of business, and other special events that occurred in the past involving the company’s upper management.
Importance of informational reports:
- Present improvement opportunities supported by valid documentation to streamline several processes and, if possible, reduce costs while increasing efficiency
- Using informational business reports, the company can outline its budget for its marketing strategies and figure out which products have been most successful on the market or which of them didn’t provide the expected profit
- Help quickly communicate important messages to internal members of the company, like routine information or additional insight on specific cases
Explanatory business report
As its name suggests, an explanatory business report serves to explain a particular topic in order for them to understand it. You can present your goals, methodology, recommendations, or some important research findings that are recommended before taking further steps while working on a project.
An explanatory report should be especially clear and concise, so even those that aren’t closely involved with the project can understand it.
Importance of explanatory reports:
- Helps marketers dive into individual landing page performance and inspect their conversion rate
- Investigate patterns and trends in existing data that weren’t noticed before
- Helps fill the gaps in existing analysis, providing solid information on the reasons behind specific phenomena
- It’s cost and time effective, allowing you to use previous results and resources throughout heavier analysis
Social media business report
Social media reports are based on the data collected from various social networks and metrics over distinctive time frames. This type of report complies with real-time and historical data points of your social media activities, providing key metrics and applicable insights.
Depending on your client’s requests or your company’s practice, these reports can be presented in a simple numeric list-type of form or a slide presentation.
Importance of social media reports:
- These reports provide insight into which days of the week it’s best for the brand to interact with existing and potential customers
- Assess the most engaging themes of the business audience and the most successful type of content created for each platform
- Determine the best strategy for each social media platform
The Key Role of Business Reports in Any Organization’s Success
If you ask us, we don’t think business reporting is ever going out of style. At the end of the day, it’s a powerful tool for making better decisions, increasing productivity, and creating a more efficient workflow.
Companies can use the findings from business reports to provide employees with the information they need to stay on top of their tasks and projects, make sure that their operations are running smoothly, and gain a competitive edge.