Definition of Business Reports

by Mary Jane; Updated September 26, 2017
Financial accounting

Business reports are documents that present data and information to specific readers. Examples include data from customer service reviews, presentations of new marketing and promotion approaches, or a financial plan for the annual budget. There are numerous types of business report formats, but credible and effective reports often have similar sections that present the material in standardized ways.

How to Approach a Business Report

Before you start writing the business report, determine what it needs to be about and who it is for. Identifying your target audience and core content will help you focus your writing and write in a tone that is properly suited to the readers of the report. According to the website Writinghelp-Central, identifying and confirming what information the reader is looking for is an important step in the business report procedure. For example, you may use less industry jargon if you are writing to your customers than if you are writing to the executives of the business.


Since a business report is a collection and presentation of information and data, it is not based on your opinion of the content as a writer. According to Writinghelp-Central, research must be conducted prior to writing the report. Additional research not only helps expand on the topic in question, but can also help establish an overall picture of the project or topic. Examples of research include getting customer feedback, reading supplemental documents or conducting interviews with employees within the business.


A common business report will have general sections that can be customized to suit the topic in question. These sections include an executive summary that discusses the major points in the report; an introduction to the topic that discusses the report’s purpose; and a methods section that outlines whether interviews, questionnaires or other techniques were used to gather data. A section describing the findings of the research will often follow the method section and the report will finish with a conclusion and a bibliography, if applicable.


Depending on the topic of the business report, additional information or features can be added to help the interpretation of the data. For example, if much of the information is presented in the form of numbers or discusses growing or decreasing trends, graphs can be used as features to present the information. Additional features can include an index page if the report contains much information or an appendix with transcripts of interviews or samples of the customer reviews referred to in the report.

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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