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Preparing Business Reports. CoB Center for Professional Communication. Business Report: Components. Appendix( es ). References. Conclusion. Body. Introduction. Table of contents. Executive Summary. Transmittal Document. Title Page. Report Components: Front Matter. Title page

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preparing business reports

Preparing Business Reports

CoB Center for Professional Communication

business report components
Business Report: Components

Appendix(es)

References

Conclusion

Body

Introduction

Table of contents

Executive Summary

Transmittal Document

Title Page

report components front matter
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Title page
    • Balance the following parts on the title page:
      • Name of report in all caps
      • Receiver’s name, title, and organization
      • Author’s name, title, and organization
      • Date submitted
report components front matter1
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Transmittal document
    • Announce the topic and explain who authorized it.
    • Briefly describe the project and preview the conclusions – if the reader is supportive.
report components front matter2
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Transmittal document
    • Close by expressing appreciation for the assignment, suggesting follow-up actions, acknowledging the help of others, and offering to answer questions.
report components front matter3
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Executive summary
    • Summarize the report purpose, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    • Include strategic words and sentences.
    • Prepare an outline with headings.
    • Fill in your outline.
report components front matter4
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Executive summary
    • Begin with the purpose.
    • Follow the report sequence.
    • Eliminate nonessential details.
    • Restrict the length to no more than 10 percent of the original document.
report components front matter5
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Table of contents
    • Show the beginning page number where each report heading appears in the report.
  • List of figures
    • Include a list of tables, illustrations, or figures showing the title of each and its page number.
    • Place the list of figures on the same page with the table of contents if possible.
report components front matter6
Report Components: Front Matter
  • Introduction
    • Discuss purpose and significance of report.
    • Preview main points and order of development.
report components body
Report Components: Body
  • Body
    • Discuss, analyze, and interpret the research findings or proposed solution to the problem.
    • Arrange the findings in logical segments that follow your outline.
    • Use clear, descriptive headings.
report components back matter
Report Components: Back Matter
  • Conclusion
    • Recap the purpose and review the main points.
    • Tie the main topics together, and, when appropriate, ask for action and/or goodwill.
report components back matter1
Report Components: Back Matter
  • References
    • List all references cited in the paper.
    • References should be arranged alphabetically.
  • Appendix(es)
    • Include items of interest to readers, such as data-gathering tools like questionnaires (these are originally created items).
    • Each appendix item should be in its own appendix
business reports format
Business Reports: Format

Selecting the best method for delivering your message is key.

selecting a report format
Selecting a Report Format

Formal Reports

Informal Reports

business reports are graphical
Business Reports Are Graphical

Talking heading

White background

Detailed, explanatory text

Mix of text and graphics

Bullets or text in graphics

Main points reinforced

(optional)

Page numbers

style
Style
  • Focus on providing narrative with strong graphical elements:
    • Tables
    • Charts
    • Images
    • Strong graphical design
    • Do not ignore text altogether
  • Every page should contain 25-75% text
  • Narrative text font size 11 or 12 pt.
style1
Style
  • Remember: The report is intended to be read, not listened to
  • You will not be present to explain what a graph or table means
  • Thus, the report must be more explicit than slides accompanying an oral presentation
style rule of thumb
Style Rule of Thumb

Each page should have:

25% white space (margins)

25 to 75% text

25 to 50% graphics

format layout
Create a design template

4 rules for design

Organization Elements

Navigation

Headings

Portrait versus landscape?

Format & Layout
create the design template
Create the Design Template
  • Use the 4 Rules of Design
    • Contrast
    • Repetition
    • Alignment
    • Proximity
  • Make a few basic decisions and stick to them
  • You may use company colors and logo
portrait or landscape
Portrait or Landscape

Portrait

Landscape

  • More familiar reading style
  • Easier to present textual blocks
  • Better for double duty (stand-up presentations)
  • Can be better for graphical elements (complex graphics are often horizontal)
final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Think through your design
  • Think through your structure
  • Be consistent
  • Be professional
  • Business Reports are meant to be read: explain the take away from your graphical elements
  • EDIT, EDIT, EDIT!