Reports help businesses plan for the future; they analyse and provide easy-to-read tables and graphs showing statistics. They reveal weak and strong areas, and provide businesses with the necessary information, so plans can be decided on and put into action. Studying reports can help businesses to stay on budget, decide on tactics, and improve procedures. Reports are a valuable tool, as they highlight problems, possible risks and provide recommendations.

Reports are based on individual requirements; however, here is the basic format for effective reports:
  • An appropriate title on the cover page to identify the report.
  • A well-designed table of contents for easy perusal.
  • An introduction that briefly indicates what is covered in the report.
  • The purpose of the report.
  • Arguments for and against changes, trends, situations or events.
  • Findings and backed up with factual data.
  • Recommendations for the most appropriate actions or changes.
  • A summary of the facts and overall conclusion.
  • Include references and appendixes.

Reports need to be concise and clear for easy understanding while providing the appropriate diagrams, tables, flowcharts and facts. Correct formatting adds to the professional report.

Information is obtained or collected and used to produce a draft report, which can be discussed, and then finished to a polished document.

Facts and Figures

Whatever the reason for the report, its purpose is to display previously gathered information. Ensure this information is correct. Reports should be evidence of the research. Personal opinion is completely out – report the facts only.

Displaying Information

Bullet and numbering lists display information in a concise and easy to follow format. Ensure conclusions and introductions are included.

Tables, graphs and illustrations are a vital key to relaying information. Facts and figures are quickly ordered into a visual comparison when implemented into a table or chart.

Citations and Referencing

Correct and relevant citations and referencing are included to provide resourced information locations.