BUSINESS REPORT DEFINITION
A business report may be defined as “an impartial, objective, planned presentation of facts to one or more persons for a specific business purpose”. A report covers a more complex subject than does a typical one-page factual business letter or memorandum. It requires more care, attention to organization, visual aids, and composition for improving readability. It should be factual, accurate, reliable, and rational. Reports move upward to supervisory and managements levels. It moves downward to accomplish guidance, work, and policies. It also travels outward to stockholders, customers, government, and the general public. But it usually is bottom-up communication. A report may be written or oral but important ones are in writing. It contains events, conditions, progress, qualities, results, interpretations, investigations, and other facts. It helps relevant persons understand a particular business condition and situation carry out operational and technical tasks and projects, and formulate policies and procedures.
PREPARATION BEFORE WRITING REPORTS
The following are the steps to be followed in writing reports:
1. Define the problem and purpose of the report.
2. Visualize the type of person who will receive the report.
3. Determine type of data and information to include.
4. Collect needed data.
5. Sort and organize data.
6. Analyze data.
7. Prepare an outline.
Define the problem and purpose of the report
In defining the problem you will have to determine the nature of the problem, purpose, scope, and time and money limits. It will save your time, expense, and shoe leather that you would otherwise stand seeking for unnecessary data. You will exactly know where to go. Hazy and unplanned start will foil your efforts, and cost you much with no gain.
Visualize your reader
You must know the type of person who wants the report. The following questions will help you determine the nature and type of person.
1. What is he? Obtain information his age, temperament and mold, education, qualification, his position and status in the organization, and his attitude toward the problem.
2. Why does he need the report?
3. What questions does he want answered?
4. What is his experience and knowledge about the problem?
5. How many persons are involved in the report? What are their interests and needs? What information do they need?
Determine the type of data needed
You should list the data already’ known to you and the data you want to collect. Some reports require the formulation of hypotheses. You should know the problem, scope, purpose, procedure to follow in collecting data, and deadline for the submission of the report. You must know what is exactly expected of you.
Collect required data
Data may be collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary data are first hand and unpublished facts. They are collected from the following sources.
1. The company records and files
2. Completed questionnaires (by conducting survey)
4. Personal observations
Secondary data are second hand information obtained from printed sources. They include newspapers, libraries, magazines, journals, and government and public statistical offices.
Sort and organize data
Once the data have been collected, select relevant, objective necessary, definite, important, and meaningful information. Then consolidate. The report may be organized either by criteria, order of time, order of importance, or by sources of the data.
Analyze the data
Analyze the data after you have tabulated information. The analysis should be unprejudiced, objective, and accurate. You must not involve your personal beliefs, likes, and dislikes into the report.
Prepare an outline
The importance of the outline cannot be overemphasized. Without an organized outline a report cannot be written. You can have a method of how to report:
“Tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you have told them.”
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FUNCTIONS, USES, OR ADVANTAGES OF A BUSINESS REPORT