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Video:Learn ESL: Tips for Writing a Business Report

with V. Victoria Shroff

Writing business reports is a core skill required in many offices. It's something you may be asked to do on a regular basis. This video from About.com will offer advice on writing a business report.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn ESL: Tips for Writing a Business Report

Hello, I'm V. Victoria Shroff with Shroffcommunications@yahoo.ca in Vancouver, BC for About.com. In this video you'll receive tips for how to write a business report.

This topic is for fairly advanced students who have achieved at least moderate proficiency in business English.

Questions to Answer About Business Reports

Before sitting down to write a business report, you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. What is the intended purpose of the business report?
  2. Who is the intended audience?

Writing the Business Report

Once you have the above two preliminary questions answered, you can begin composing the business report.

It is important to keep in mind that a business report is not written in an essay format. Rather, it needs to be written in short, succinct sentences so that the points you need to make are made quickly and clearly. Keep in mind at all times, the K.I.S.S. principle, which stands for keep it simple and short.

You will likely prepare several drafts of your report. It is a good idea to have someone else in the company read your report for flow, grammar and general overall appearance before you present the final report.   

Components of a Business Report

Generally there are 8 basic components that should be in every business report. 

  1. Title Page - this includes the title of the report, company name, name of the author and the date.
  2. Table of Contents - even if your report is brief, this helps orient a reader if they want to skip to a certain section.
  3. Executive Summary - this is the brief summary of the main issue in the report and lists the key information points and concludes with recommendations that you have. Some readers may have time to only read this one section of your report, so make sure that it is precise and clearly written. Point form is acceptable. Do ensure that it is less than one page. 
  4. Methodology - this section is where you advise of the methods used in your research to arrive at your conclusions. Include the names and sources of information, and how and why you used these sources so that if necessary, your sources can be reviewed.
  5. Introduction - this is the overview of what your report will cover.
  6. Main Section - this is the core of your report and should begin by listing your key findings.
  7. Conclusion - this is a lot like your Executive Summary. It is where you conclude your main facts. Again, point form is acceptable.
  8. Recommendations - This is the section where you give your opinion on what the company should best do in the circumstances.

A bibliography should also be included at the end of your report.  It should list all sources you have cited in the text of your business report.

Final Notes

Once you have completed writing the above sections, ask yourself if you have fully answered the preliminary questions clearly. Who was the report intended for and was the purpose met. 

Make good use of formatting by underlining headings, using italics and bold lettering where necessary. Using italics for the Executive Summary for example, makes the section look distinctive. Your report may be professionally printed and bound and may also be laminated, depending on the budget. Even if your report is not professionally printed, make sure it looks professional and neat.

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