What is a business report?

The formal documents that assist the company in making an informed decision for future operations are known as business reports. These documents consist of facts and figures of the company’s historical performances, methods, and key findings along with exhortation for future analysis. Business reports are object-driven where the constituent of such are backed by legitimate sources. These reports are mainly used for communication within the organization.

Components of a business report

The structure of the business report is as follows:

  1. The title/heading of the report
  2. Brief overview
  3. Table of contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Objective
  6. Progress report
  7. Recommendations
  8. Conclusion

Types of business report

The business report can be of the following types:

Informational report: This report contains information related to facts and figures and does not delve into the scope of logical reasoning.

Analytical report: This report consists of data that needs to be analyzed to draw a meaningful conclusion by the management of the company.

Research report: This report is a journal that documents the outcome of a project or scientific observations. It requires sufficient evidence to support the hypothesis to draw the conclusion.

Progress report: This report marks the important milestones and updates the progress of the completion of any project which the organization takes on.

Significance of a business report

The business report is an important instrument that plays a pivotal role in assisting management to take suitable actions by providing helpful insights. A business report can be structured to give relevant insights and invoke actions. The report can consist of relevant performance metrics such as the year-on-year (YOY) growth of the company, the cost incurred by the company, total revenue, gross revenue, profits of the company, and so on.

These informational reports can be uniquely prepared to cater to the suitable departments within the organization. The marketing report can be a useful tool for the management to optimize the marketing work, budget, form a new business idea, and formulate key marketing strategies. Similarly, the sales report can assist in maximizing the revenue generation of the company or human resource department to effectively manage the people and time, commonly denoted by man-hour within the company. The supply chains report aids with inventory management. Reports can also be used by the stakeholders such as the business credit reports, which are used by the lenders to judge the business creditworthiness of the company.

Business reports are actively referred to counter any crisis which the business faces. It helps alleviate any panic and eliminates hasty decisions and keeps everyone on the same page by maintaining stability in the workspace thus acting as a sharing tool for crisis management.

These reports are also effective when delegating the work to an individual or a team. The report is stored in records, decisions are taken upon careful analysis, and the overall functioning of the company is better using business reports. Organizational Communication gets a boost with the help of the report.

The report presentation plays a major role in the promotion and management of employee performance. For promotion to the rank and file position, satisfactory job performance is enough to help a person. But for promotion to a high-level position, intellectual ability is highly required.

The well-documented format of the report keeps track of the individual performance of individual employees and gives the productivity output of the employee which aids the management to make the decisions on promotion of high performing employees in the organization meanwhile taking countermeasures for the employees with below expected performance maintaining a smooth flow of operations throughout.

The business report is relevant to delivering:

  • The present status report of the business
  • Planning, organizing, and forecasting
  • Implementation of decision
  • Exercise control in the management

How to present a business report?

The presentation of the report needs to be suited, keeping the respective audience in mind. To make the content engaging with the audience, the presentation of the report must be well structured. The font size should be kept adequately large to aid readability and the font needs to be consistent across the report.

Commonly used business tools such as Google Drive, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel can be used to create stunning presentations with a visually appealing design. The topics of the report are presented within slides where the slides can include visual cues such as video reports, charts, text boxes, and templates to conjointly form beautiful presentations. The presentation app consists of a presenter view and presentation templates to create a visually appealing report.

The communication style, communication theory, and communication strategy are required to be appealing, and the message of the report should be unambiguous. The design of each new slide of the business report in the presentation software is communicated with the aid of a person with firm communication skills, interpersonal communication, and interpersonal skills to walk the audience members through the presentation slides in real-time.

Non-verbal cues such as body language, non-verbal hand gestures, and facial expressions can be a part of nonverbal communication. Non-verbal communication is relevant to presenting the informal reports section. Effective conversation, a proper feedback loop, and stimulating organizational verbal communication messages contribute to good communication messages and leave no ambiguity within the parties involved thus proving to be a recipe for an effective report.

The present era of reporting

During the COVID-19 pandemic era, the verbal communication channel shifted to mainly working online, use of social media channels to connect within the organization has grown multifold. Business owners are radically shifting to match the changing needs. Business reporting style has noticed a radical shift but the principles laid out remain the same even though the mean of business communication has been shifted mostly to remote working.

Context and Applications

This subject is important in professional exams for both undergraduate and graduate levels particularly in:

  • Bachelors in Business Management
  • Bachelors in Sales and Marketing
  • Masters in Business Management

Practice Problems

1. Which of the following is included in a business report?

  1. Recommendations
  2. Business leverage
  3. Bleeding edge technology
  4. Environmental consequence

Answer: Option a

Explanation: The business report aids in assisting the management to take an informed decision, recommendations highlight the key decisions that can be considered by the management.

2. Which of the following information can be used in reports?

  1. Assumed sales report
  2. Speculative market information
  3. Facts backed by legitimate sources
  4. New York City consumption pattern

Answer: Option c

Explanation: The Business reports must only include factual information that is backed by legitimate sources. The source of such information must be clearly stated in the report.

3. Which of the following data are appropriate to include in the report?

  1. Financial data
  2. Operating data
  3. Stakeholders reporting
  4. All of the above

Answer: Option d

Explanation: All of the above-mentioned data types can be a form of business reports. The scope of the business report could also extend beyond the organization to include stakeholders involved too.

4. What is the name of the tool commonly used to create a business report?

  1. Microsoft PowerPoint
  2. TikTok
  3. Adobe Photoshop
  4. Video template presentation maker

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Microsoft PowerPoint slides and PowerPoint presentations are widely used across the industry to aid in creating a beautiful presentation for a business report.

5. Which among the following are the mistakes commonly made while presenting a business report?

  1. Vague message
  2. Planned message
  3. Audience-specific messages
  4. Feedback message

Answer: Option a

Explanation:  The undefined vague message leads to a gap in communication and understanding, failure to communicate, and is among the commonly made mistakes while delivering the presentation.

Common Mistakes

The common mistakes made while forming a report are not knowing the target audience, using jargon or elaborated sentences, using shortcuts and abbreviations, failure to communicate the objective, vague message, improper planning, and many more.

  • Research findings
  • Documentation
  • Statistical data
  • Analytical reports

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