Business Writing Tip#105—Some Common Types of Reports and Common Elements

We use the word report to refer to many different kinds of documents. I’m sure there are many more than I’ve included in this list but just some of the most common business reports are:Report writing 101

  • Sales reports (sales figures for different products in different regions over specified time periods)
  • Market research analyses (analyses a company’s competitive position in the industry, identifying such things as potential new markets and product areas)
  • Financial reports (might discuss budgets, or be the text that accompanies company accounts)
  • Progress reports (about progress on an ongoing project)
  • Appraisal reports (about an employee’s performance, training needs and goals)
  • Feasibility studies (investigations into the viability of a system, project or product line)
  • Business plans (describe an organisation’s medium to long-term strategy)
  • Inquiry reports (report on an investigation into an ongoing issue, identifying causes and recommending action)
  • Case studies (analysis of a particular project or situation that communicates the lessons learned during the implementation)
  • Quality reports (monitor standards, identifies failings, suggests actions)

Now while there are many kinds of reports, there are some commonalities. Some of these are in style, some in layout and some in the structure of reports.

Style

When it comes to style we usually want reports to be:

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Factual
  • Careful
  • Balanced
  • Measured
  • Written with a high level of grammatical accuracy

Layout

When you’re working out the layout think about your audience and how you want to make it easy for the reader to find the information they need. Consider using:

  • Systematic numbering of sections and subsections
  • Bullet points and lists
  • Visuals such as charts, tables and diagrams
  • Areas of blank space at the margins for readers to make notes

In the next post we will look at the structural elements of reports.

One thought on “Business Writing Tip#105—Some Common Types of Reports and Common Elements

  1. Also include a Table of Contents (TOC) after your Cover page so readers can quickly go to a pertinent section.

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