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Business Reports

Academic Affairs Department
Student Affairs Department
Printed form
proposal, business plan
informational, analytical
accident report, cash report
memo, letter
progress report, final report
informal or formal
short or long
What’s the Purpose of Business Reports?
at least 2 purposes
Provide information (informational)
— Situation reports, compliance reports
Analyze collected data and supply conclusion (analytical)
— Project feasibility reports
all business writing should look ….
neat, be accurate, and base your claims or conclusions on facts
Different formats
Different firms require employees to write reports in different ways
Use headings and maybe subheadings — Divide the report into easy to read and understandable sections
Use topic sentences — The first sentence of the paragraph should clearly display what the paragraph is about
Transitions — Moreover, in addition, besides, Therefore, because, consequently,
Different Letter Formats
These are forms that you fill out, not really letters

Usually for external readers (people who aren’t employees)

Internal readers

Very long and detailed formal reports, can be several pages long or several hundred pages long

Prior to Writing Business Reports
Defining the problem, the purpose of the report

Conducting research for the report

Analyze data collected for the report

Draw conclusions and make recommendations based on what you’ve found

Defining Problems & Purposes
What caused you to write the report?

For example, you are tasked with writing a report that will show how to reduce expenses

Conducting Research
Primary sources
— Information that you’ve collected yourself specifically for your report
Secondary sources
— Information that you’ve collected from previous reports for other reports
Ways to collect information
Examining documents, making observations, conducting surveys, carrying out experiments
Analyze Data
*Analyze your data to interpret your findings
*View your data from different angles
*Goal is to understand the problem
*Start thinking about ways to deal with the problem
Making Recommendations
First make a conclusion
— Your conclusion should answer your original problem stated in the introduction
— Must be logical and fact-based
— An interpretation of what the facts mean
Based on your conclusion, make recommendations
— Suggest ways to solve the problem
What makes Formal Report different from informal?
Use of formal language
Special components
Special components include?
Prefatory?? Parts
Supplementary Parts
Prefatory Part
Composed of:
Cover page
Title fly and title page
Letter of authorization
Letter of acceptance
Letter of transmittal
Executive summary
Table of contents
List of illustrations
Attractive cover with the company’s information
Title fly and title page
Title fly just has the title of the report
Title page should have:
1 The title of the report
2 The details of the person/organization that it’s being prepared for
3 The details of the person/organization that prepared it
4 Date that the report is submitted
Executive summary
Summarizes the highlights of the report
May contain headings for reading ease
Allows managers to make a quick decision without reading the entire report
Basically a 1-page summary of the entire report
Example on Page 90
Table of contents
Self explanatory, see example on Page 91
List of illustrations
Only used if you have a lot of tables and figures to show in your report
If you don’t have a substantial amount of tables, diagrams, etc., don’t use this
Text contains 3 major parts, they are?
Introduction, body, conclusion with recommendation
(with more details)
Text: Introduction
Problem & purpose: why you’re writing the report
Scope: what the report will cover
Background: what caused you to write the report
Sources & materials: where you got your sources from, research methods
Limitations: are there any for your report?
Report organization: how your report is organized
Text: Body
Present your findings

Analyze your findings

Steer your arguments in a direction that will support your conclusion and recommendation

Text: Conclusion & Recommendation
==Discuss what your findings mean
==You should answer the question(s) or the reason(s) that caused you to write the report
==Give suggestions on how to prevent future problems or improve current events
Text: Supplementary Parts
==An appendix (if very long)
==An index (if very long)
Should always list this
Shows your sources: books, magazines, people, websites
What are the functions of business reports?
How do we write effective business reports?
What are the common business report formats?
What are the components of a formal report?
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