What Are the Main Features of a Formal Business Report?

Updated March 23, 2017

A formal business report focuses on reporting the results or findings of any given project, such as budget changes or customer service feedback surveys. The business report will focus reporting the purpose of the project, the strategies and the findings, so a reader who has no prior knowledge of the project will understand the purpose and results.

Introduction and Conclusion

A formal business report will include a short introduction and a short conclusion. The introduction should be the first thing the reader encounters, while the conclusion should be the last. Both should be written in third person to keep the business report formal, as should the entire report. While the introduction explains the primary purpose of the project in question, the conclusion should focus on the results and if any other changes need to be made.

Purpose / Overview

The overview comes directly after the introduction. The overview is also known as the purpose section, as it explains the reasons why the project is being completed. For example, if the project is about hearing customer feedback, the reason could be that the company has implemented new services or products and want feedback to see if the products are better than the old ones. When writing this section, refer to previous examples of product implementations, if possible.

Methods and Strategies

Another feature of a formal business report is a presentation of the methods or strategies used to get the information or research for the report. To expand on the previous example, the company may have used phone interviews or online questionnaires to get the feedback from the customers. It is important that you mention the methods used to get the information, in case the information does not end up working out. Then the executives can go back and analyse the method to see what needs to change in order to get the research they desire.

Findings and Results

The findings or results part of the report is often the most important aspect of the business report. The findings will reveal the answers to the questions posed in the interviews or questionnaires, for example. Present the overall results in the charts or graph formats. These results will be used to improve customer service programs, improving product developments or make budget cuts to save money. The results are essentially used to solve problems within the business, improve the budgets, improve customer relationships and increase overall sales in order to make more money.

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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.