How to format a business report

Updated February 21, 2017

Writing a business is an unpleasant task for those who do not enjoy organizing and writing information. However, once you learn a specific format and use it in several business reports, your dislike transforms to delight in personal achievement.

Organize your information even before you begin writing the business report. Figure out what detailed information belongs in which section as a group. For example, a media spending report groups types of advertising in one section and types of PR in another.

Begin the business report with a title section that includes a title page and table of contents complete with the section page numbers. An informative and useful title page includes the report title, the company name and address, the date and the client or report recipient's name. Format the title and company names using bold and/or italics font formatting so these title page elements stand out.

Write an executive summary for the next section of the business report. This section is usually all a top executive or high-level manager reads. Make this section concise and easy to read. The main points, conclusions and recommendations are the primary components of the executive summary. Write this section last after you have had time to fully evaluate the report information in its entirety.

Include an introduction section after the executive summary. The introduction section includes the report background and any methodology used to address the issue the report discusses. For example, the introduction of a business report about whether television ads are effective could include a methodology explaining the number of telephone interviews conducted with households to answer this concern.

Put the main body of the report next. The main body is the details behind how you addressed the business issue at hand. Separate the main section into logical subsections. Discuss higher priority issues like brand or ad awareness first.

Finish the business report with a conclusion and recommendations section. In this section, wrap up all the points presented and discuss the implications of what you discovered. Finish the report by recommending what the business should do with the presented information.

Add an appendix for non-essential information like maps, charts and graphs that support your points but are not necessary to explain it. The appendix is very detailed information that an expert uses when reading the report, so technical terms are acceptable.


Review clients' past reports to gain insight into what the expectations are for yours.

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