In business, reports are used to summarize facts and findings, provide recommendations and analyze a specific situation or outcome. Reports can range from just a few pages to several hundred depending on the kind of report you’re writing and for whom you’re writing it. It’s important to consider your audience and the information they need to know. Follow an official report template when writing your business document.
Purpose of Official Reports
There may be many reasons to write your findings. Official report writing helps your employees to understand specific business activities. Reports can also enable external stakeholders such as the government, regulatory bodies and customers to learn more about the value of your organization. Here are some scenarios when you may be required to write an official report:
- To summarize the business development activities and results over the last four quarters for investors
- To recap the marketing campaigns and their results over the last year, with recommendations for what to consider next year
- A review of the performance of a specific vendor or partner and how they have added expertise to your organization
- An outline of safety and health hazards in the business and recommendations on how to improve them
- A review of the office expenses and how they can be consolidated to reduce costs for the business
Gather Research and Metrics and Present Your Findings
The first step to official report writing is to gather the facts. Before you begin writing, you’ll need to know your audience. Is your report for employees or external contacts? How much knowledge do they have about your business and your industry? You’ll also need to know the goal of the report. What is the key information you’re trying to convey?
Next, gather the data you need. This can include key performance indicators such as sales numbers or leads for your business. Your data may also be qualitative rather than quantitative. Once you have the information you need, analyze the findings. What do they mean for your business? What have you learned from reviewing this material?
Figure out your recommendations based on the data and your analysis. How can your report help your business improve performance? What do you want to tell your audience with the report? Carefully outline your recommendations so it’s clear what the next steps are for your business.
Official Report Template
The official report format helps businesses to clearly and succinctly present their information to their intended audience. Avoid the use of overly technical language or industry jargon when writing your report. Each section of your report serves a specific purpose and helps your audience to better understand the topic at hand.
- Executive Summary: This brief section sums up the most important points of your report. If your report is short, this section may not be required. However, if your report is more than a couple of pages, a summary is useful for readers to quickly understand the main points. Write this section after you’ve completed the rest of your report.
- Introduction: Cover the basics of the report in this section, including the who, where, what, when, why and how of your topic. Set up the scenario for the reader so that you can expand upon it in the main body of your report.
- Data and Findings: In this main section of the report, cover the information you want to present. What business activities have you analyzed, and how do they affect your business?
- Conclusion: Close the report with your assessment of the business activities you analyzed. Provide the reader with what you learned while researching and writing the report.
- Recommendations: Finally, provide the reader with the next steps. How should your business proceed going forward?
- Appendices: If needed, attach any supporting material to your report. This includes graphs and charts, illustrations, maps and notes.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.