How to write an informal business report

Business reports are often needed to provide information or feedback on a particular subject or project. They present findings, report on progress, provide a summary of a longer report and make recommendations rather than critique or pass judgment. Informal reports are typically for internal use within a company, and can be formatted as a memorandum. These reports usually consist of four main sections (introduction, findings, conclusion and recommendations), and may contain subheadings within those sections.

Create a title page. This page goes on the very front and should include the title of the report along with the author’s name and the date.

Make a contents page. This page is similar to a table of contents, and will list all the sections within the report with their corresponding page numbers.

Write the introduction. The introduction of an informal business report states the main idea of the report and what will be covered within it.

Include the terms of reference. These are the “who”, "what" and "when” of the report. Who is the report written for? What is the report about? When is the report being presented?

Write about the procedure. The procedure tells the reader how the information being presented was gathered and the source of the information. This section would also include information about methodology or formulas used, if necessary.

State the findings. This is what was found out as a result of the procedure. Include facts, figures, graphs, tables and charts. Label or describe any graphics appropriately. For example: “As a result, we found there as a decrease in the number of green pens purchased (see Table A).”

Write a conclusion. The conclusion offers a summary of the main findings and the ultimate result. For example: "Based on the evidence presented and the data collected, we have come to find that consumers prefer to purchase black ink over all the other colours our company sells. Therefore, we have found the company has been losing revenue with the production of green pens." This clearly state and show how you arrived at the conclusion, which should only be based on the findings.

Introduce recommendations. The recommendations will let a business know how to solve its problems, if necessary. These ideas can be based on both long and short-term goals. However, recommendations need to be well thought out because of the impact they can have.

Include an appendix. This is the area where you will include extra information and evidence, or report full findings in detail.

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About the Author

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.