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How to write a business report

Writing effective business reports is critical to the success of any ambitious business. The key however is to capture your audience and ensure it is easy to follow. This will keep the readers attention throughout the report.

A business report is a written document that provides information and analysis to assist a particular business project or strategy. The main purpose of a business report is to support the management of a business with a decision making process. The report needs to make this data easy for the reader to understand. The best way to do that is to have clearly defined sections with labels and headings.

We have set out below the key aspects of a successful business report:

Title Page

Given the nature of the report you are writing you must start with an eye catching title page which details exactly what the report is about and who is the author. This immediately grabs the readers attention and gives them a clear overview of what is expected in the report.

Executive Summary

This page is often considered one of the most important pages in the document. The executive summary is designed to give the readers of the report a snapshot overview of the key points from the report. The executive summary will also detail the key findings in the report and any recommendations or conclusions the report has discovered. In certain reports this is the main source of information for the reader who may be short of time or prefer to read an overview/summary rather than the whole report. It therefore must be clear, precise but also provide all the relevant information from the report itself.

Introduction

A successful business report will also have a strong and informative introduction of the basis that has been provided for the writing of this report. The reader will be looking to understand the fundamental points raised prior to writing the report and what the report aims to set out.

Methodology and Findings

The main body of the report will contain two main sections. The first of these being the methodology and subsequent findings from the report. This section will set out the basis of the research and why the particular research method was chosen.

Once this has been set out, the report can highlight the key findings which have arisen from the report. A key tip here though is not to provide too much written data which is hard to follow. Try using graphs and tables to grab the reader's attention!

Conclusions and Recommendations

Once you have set out the methodology and the findings you will then need to detail the conclusions and recommendations you have determined from the report and the basis for these recommendations. The reader will want a short but precise explanation here.

References/Appendix

The final section of a successful business report will include details of all your reference points which support your findings in your report and credit the original creator of that information. You may also wish to include appendixes which can include financial tables and charts to illustrate your findings or conclusions.

Joe David, Founder & CEO, Nephos Accountants

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About the author

At Nephos we believe that there’s a better way to grow your business. It’s time to bring your accounting into the digital realm, giving you greater control and clarity. The word ‘nephos’ is Greek for cloud, and nephologists study clouds to understand weather patterns. Like nephologists, we focus on the data held within the cloud, looking for patterns and movements that allow us to make the right financial forecasts and predictions. Nephos was built on the principle that technology can, and should, work harder for your business. Compliance is just one side of the coin – we don’t just help our clients to make sure they’re following the rules, we use our knowledge and insights to ensure they’re building for the future.