Business reports. Business Reports. Bussssssssssiness reports. Business business business business business reports.
Anyone jumping with excitement? Who’s asleep already? How about running away and quaking at the thought of having to compile one of these for themselves?
Writing your first business report can be quite a daunting task, particularly if you have no idea what needs to be included! They’re probably going to be a bit different from anything you’ve written before, and they’re also a little different to some other types of report out there. Let me try to shine a little light on the things you need to include to write a kick-arse business report!
Firstly, as with all assignments, you’re gonna need a cover sheet. This should include:
- the title of the work you’re submitting,
- your name and student number (and your group members, for a group report),
- the course name and number,
- your lecturer/tutors name, and tutorial time,
- and the date submitted.
Next up for our business reports is an executive summary. Although this is pretty much the first thing people will read in your report, it’s going to be the last thing you write. An executive summary should be a brief overview of your entire report. Think of it as similar to the blurb of a mystery book — if the blurb told you exactly who did it, when, where and why! Someone should be able to read your executive summary and know exactly what your report is about: what you researched, what you found, recommendations you made and why you made them. It’s totally fine to dot point information in this section, as you want to try and keep it to one A4 page.
A table of contents is the next section, and should be on a separate page, as should the executive summary. This will make it easier to jump directly to any section, without having to pass ‘go’ to do so. Microsoft Word has a really hand table of contents feature, under the ‘references’ tab, that makes creating tables of content a breeze! The executive summary shouldn’t be included in your table of contents, but everything from the introduction (that’s next!) onwards should be. Everything onwards should also have a numbered heading, so that your table of contents will end up looking something like this:
Now is when the main text of your report, and the part that will take you the most time, comes into play. First you start with an introduction; this will tells readers what’s being studied and why, or gives a brief run-down of the case study if the report is centred on a case study. After the introduction, and on a different page to it, the body of the report will begin. This is where all the information you’ve researched (and referenced!) goes. Check your course description as some lecturers will tell you what headings they want you to include, while others leave it up to you. To finish off the main text, we have recommendations. Similar to a conclusion, this will recap the major findings of your report, and list all the recommendations you have, and why you’re making them.
Second to last we have everyone’s favourite, references! Make sure you’ve used the correct referencing style (for Business Reports, this is almost always APA, but make sure you check your course description for what your lecturer wants).
The last thing you need to include in your business report, is an appendix. This won’t appear in all of your reports, but if you’ve used supporting material that’s too long for the main body, or isn’t appropriate to use in the main body, this is where you’ll put it. For example, if you were completing a report for marketing and have referred to specific print ads, the appendix is where you would put the picture of the advertisement. Each appendix should be given a heading, such as ‘Appendix A’, ‘Appendix B’, etc. so that when you refer to them in the report, people will know exactly which appendix you’re talking about.
So there you have it. A brief rundown of your business report needs to be super awesome! If you want some more information, or need anything clarified (or just want to read more about business reports!) this document is a really handy guide!