Writing Reports

Using the Business Report Format

Keep reports concise by following a standard format.

© iStockphoto/webphotographeer

Imagine this scenario: You're a busy, upper-level manager, and you supervise several junior managers.

Every quarter, each member of your managerial team has to give you a written report on his or her department's progress. This report details profits, costs, productivity, and recommendations for the next quarter.

Reading all of these reports takes days, but what's even more frustrating is that they're all completely different. Some of your managers put the data and statistics right at the beginning, while others use appendices at the end. Some don't include an executive summary, or a section with details about recommendations for the next quarter. This means you have to spend extra time trawling through each report to find the information you really need.

How can you reduce the time you spend looking through all of the reports for important information? And how can you make sure that the reports you submit are read, digested, and understood? Readers would probably find what they need in half the time if everyone simply followed the same format.

This is why a standard format – often called the Business Report Format – has been developed over the years. In this article, we discuss why it's helpful to use this standard format, and then we'll outline what the format is.

Why the Format is Important

One of the most important reasons to follow a standard Business Report Format is that...

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