Guidelines for Writing Short Business Reports

  • The following guidelines will help you write any short report successfully:
  1. Anticipate how the audience will use your report. Consider how much your audience knows about your project and what types of information they most need.
  2. Do the necessary research. Take careful notes, record all necessary background information, collect relevant factual data, and interview key individuals.
  3. Be objective and ethical. Avoid guesswork, do not substitute impressions or unsupported personal opinions for careful research, avoid biased/skewed/incomplete data, and double check Organize carefully. Include a purpose statement, findings, a conclusion, and recommendations.
  4. Use reader-centered headings, bullets, numbering, and visuals. Help readers locate and focus on key information in your report.
  5. Write clearly and concisely. Use an informative title/subject that gets to the point right away, write in plain English, use international English, adopt a professional yet personal tone, and do not include unnecessary background information.
  6. Use appropriate format and visuals. Make your report look professional, readable, and easy to follow; help readers locate and digest information quickly; be consistent in your design and format; include only the most essential visuals; and design, import, and place visuals appropriately all facts/figures/specifications.

Periodic Reports and Sales Reports

  • Depending on needs, periodic reports may be daily, weekly, bimonthly, monthly, or quarterly. They help a company or agency keep track of the quantity and quality of the services is provides and the amount and types of work done by employees.
  • Sales reports fulfill two functions: financial and managerial. As financial records, they list costs per unit, discounts or special reductions, and subtotals and totals. As managerial tools, they help businesses make both short- and long-range plans.

Progress Reports

  • Progress reports are intended for people who are not working alongside you but need to know your activities. They consist of three parts:
  1. Indicate why you are writing the report, provide any necessary project titles and codes with dates, and help readers recall the job you are doing for them.
  2. Provide significant details about costs, materials, personnel, and times for the major stages of the project.
  3. Give a timetable for the completion of duties or submission of the next progress report.


Trip/Travel Reports

  • Travel/trip reports may be field trip reports, site inspection reports, or home health or social work visits. Writing the travel/trip report will be easier and your report will be better if:
  1. Before you leave, you obtain contact information, do background research, gather necessary documents, bring essential supplies, locate a map/get directions, organize appointments, and if necessary get permissions.

When you return, you write the report promptly, detail where you stayed/how long, exclude irrelevant details, and double check names and figures.

Incident Reports

  • Incident reports must contain identification details, the type of incident, the time and location of the incident, a description of what happened, an indication of what was done after the incident, an explanation of what caused the incident, and
  • Because incident reports may be used as official legal records:
  1. Submit your report promptly and sign or initial
  2. Be accurate, objective, and
  3. Give facts, not
  4. Do not exceed your professional

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