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KCP

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION
REPORT WRITING

Overview

Report and its Importance Report Writing Classification of Reports Styles of Report Writing Tips For Effective Report Writing Who writes and reads Reports Purpose of Report Writing Steps involved in Report Writing Essentials of a Good Report Parts of Formal Reports Three Levels of Reports Some Principles of Report Writing Presentation of a Report Various Examples of Reports

What is a Report?

Management tool for effective decision making.


Detailed examination of a situation or problem, of action taken, or of the findings of an investigation.

Written in a clear, informative way.


Often drawing conclusions, making recommendations. Orderly and objective communication of factual information that serves a business purpose.

Report Writing

Importance of Report writing: Report writing is central to:


Decision making Progress reporting Root cause analysis Problem solving MIS

Report writing can be done by an individual or by a team.

Writing a Report

Assembling material

Planning the Report

Editing the Report

Drafting the Report

Classification of Formal Reports

REPORTS

Informational Report

Analytical Report

Informational Report

Intended to explain something or educate readers.


Focus on data and facts without analysis or recommendations.

Informational Reports include those for monitoring and controlling operations, progress reports and compliance reports.

E.g. Annual Report prepared by the company secretary for presentation at Annual General Meeting.

Classification of Reports

Analytical Report

Designed

to

convince

audience

that

the

conclusions

and

recommendations developed are valid.

Body of the report presents all the facts and ends by presenting a decision or a solution to a problem.

E.g. Technical Reports

Classification of Reports

Styles of Report Writing


Report Writing styles

Letter style Report

Schematic Report

Letter Style vs Schematic Style Report


Letter Style of Report

Schematic Report

Covering mainly one topic Is used to make requests, pass information.

Deals with a number of related topics.

Is

generally

requested

by

Used for detailed communication.

senior management. Is presented in a particular

format.

Styles of Report Writing

Tips For Effective Report Writing


While writing a Report, some useful tips are as under:

Simple words and Short Paragraphs Avoid adverb and adjectives

Avoid emphatic words like very, highly, extremely


Be specific and precise Never exaggerate Write to inform and not to impress

Who Writes And Reads Reports


Generally subordinate to superior. In specific terms, it depends on purpose of writing it.

Because of constraints, managers delegate this duty to their


subordinates.

E.g. -- a sales manager forecasts sales on the basis of field representative s report.

Purpose of Report Writing


1. Informing

2. Analyzing

3. Recommending

Informing

Facts and events surrounding a particular situation. No attempt is made to analyze or interpret the data or to

draw conclusions or recommend a course of action.

Main interest lies in providing all relevant information, objectively and accurately.

Purpose of Report Writing

Analyzing

Data in itself is meaningless, so should be played with to


serve the purpose.

Interpret data as per the requirement of problem. It involves going into depth of problem, understanding it and coming out with some solutions.

Purpose of Report Writing

Recommending

Endorsing a specific course of action After interpretation , suggesting a plan of attack

Recommendation should be based on problem in question


and data gathered and analyzed.

Purpose of Report Writing

Steps Involved in Report Writing

Planning
Data gathering

Organizing
Analyzing Drafting

Planning
Define the purpose of report ---

Determine why issue is important What use of report will be made?

Decide purpose of report and know constraints.

Define the audience for report--

Whether it is for internal or external reader. Level of interest and knowledge of reader.
Steps Involved in Report Writing

Gathering Information

Determine what data would be required. Know what data is available with you.

Trace the sources from where remaining data can be


obtained.

Collect the data actually.

Steps Involved in Report Writing

Organizing the Data


Compiling data in a systematic and logical form. Organizing data according to problem.

It involves classifying data, tabulating them, using


graphs and other pictorials.

Steps Involved in Report Writing

Analyzing Data

Each bit of data individually and then in conjunction with


other data.

It brings out---

Findings Alternative solutions and sometimes probable solution as well

Conclusion.

Steps Involved in Report Writing

Drafting the Report


Consider needs of reader and nature of problem.


Determine length, formality and format of report. Make sure that report is complete, objective and credible.

Proofread to ensure it reflects highest standards of accuracy, thinking and care.

Steps Involved in Report Writing

Essentials of a Good Report

Meet the needs of the readers and answer the questions in their minds. At the right level for the readers- some readers have an in-depth knowledge of the subject; others may be decision-makers without specialized technical knowledge.

Have a clear, logical structure- with clear signposting to show where the ideas are leading.
Not to make assumptions about the readers understanding. All writers need to apply the so what test and need to explain why something is a good idea. Give a good first impression. Presentation is very important.

Parts of Formal Reports

A Report is divided in three sections:

Preliminary Section

Body of the Report

Supplementary Section

Preliminary Section
A) Title page

Typically contains the title of the report; the writers name, title & department; and the date of submission.

Should indicate the purpose and content of the report.

B) Letter and Memo of Transmittal


It introduces report to the reader. Its like Preface or Foreword. It may include personal comments or suggestions and any item worthy of discussion.

Should be concise and subjective.


Parts of Formal Reports

Preliminary Section (cont.)


C) Table of Contents

Lists all major sections and the page on which each begins. An aid in quickly locating specific information in the report Usually for reports of more than five pages. Sometimes also contains list of illustrations.

Parts of Formal Reports

Body of the Report


A) Introduction

General Information about the problem and main issues involved in it.
Statement of problem which clearly identifies the specific problem that was investigated. Purpose of the study that why the study was conducted. It should convince the reader that the problem was important and need to be studied. Scope of the research which can include resources, time, or geographic boundaries.

Writer can define the terms unfamiliar to the reader. If there are many terms than glossary should be included in the supplementary section.

Parts of Formal Reports

Body of the Report (cont.)


B) Procedures or Methodology

It includes the steps taken in conducting the study. It allows readers to determine whether all aspects of the problem were investigated adequately. They are results discovered during the research. Presented in a factual and objective manner without personal opinion or interpretations. Present all findings- Positive and Negative. It is the writers interpretation of the qualitative and quantitative assessments of the findings. Analysis assists reader in determining which relationships are important.

C) Findings

D) Analysis

Parts of Formal Reports

Body of the Report (cont.)


E) Conclusions

These are drawn from the findings of the study. Summary of the content of the Analysis Section. No new data should be presented in this section. A study may have one or more conclusions. It is the writers suggestion to the reader as to the actions that should be taken to solve the problem.

F) Recommendations

These should develop logically from the findings, analysis and conclusions
of the study.

Parts of Formal Reports

Supplementary Section
A) Glossary

Alphabetic list of terms used in the report with brief definition of each. Used only when numerous unfamiliar terms are included in the text.

B) Appendix

Related information excluded from the body to improve its readability. All appendixes should be referred to in the body of the report. Some examples are: questionnaires, computer printouts, follow-up letters, working papers, intricate tables and supporting material.

Parts of Formal Reports

Levels of Reports
There are three levels of reports that means a Report can provide:

Information Only: Sales report and Quarterly reports

Information plus Analysis:


Annual Reports, Audit Reports and Make-good or pay-back reports

Information plus Analysis plus a Recommendation: Feasibility reports, Justification reports and Problem-solving reports.

Principles of Drafting a Report


1.

Principle of Purpose: Must have a specific and sound


purpose.

2.

Principle of Organization: Should be properly planned and well-organized.

3.

Principle of Clarity: Written in Simple Language.

Principles of Drafting a Report (cont.)


4. 5.

Principle of Brevity: Should be brief enough. Principle of Scheduling: Without undue

burden on staff and with sufficient time for


their preparation.
6.

Principle of Cost: Cost should be less than the benefits.

Presentation of a Report

After the collection of data for the report

comes the stage of presentation of the data in


the report. This stage is one of the most important stage in report writing and presentation thereof as however good the data may be if it is not presented correctly and the hardwork put in collecting the data may go in vain.

Factors to be considered in Presenting a Report


Errors in interpreting the data Not being too elaborative Congestion of data must be avoided The report must look good

Presentation of Reports

Errors in Interpreting the Data


Adding colors to the facts Drawing unnecessary conclusions Interpreting the lack of evidence as a proof of the contrary Comparing the non-comparable data Drawing illogical cause-effect conclusion Relying on unreliable and unrepresentative sources

Oversimplification of the problem

Presentation of Reports

Remedial Steps

Maintain a judicious attitude (Without bias or prejudice) Consult others Test your interpretations. For this, the two tests are: i. The experience test ii. The negative test

Presentation of Reports

Not being too elaborative


Focus on the subject matter Attention span of the audience must be kept in mind Not too lengthy Unnecessary details and explanations must be avoided

Presentation of Reports

Congestion must be avoided

Data to be arranged in paragraphs, paragraphs to be evenly placed. Paragraphs must be duly identified. Consecutive lines/paragraphs must be properly spaced. Font size of the words must be adequate for the readers to read.

Presentation of Reports

Looking Good

Use pleasant colored background Different color font for titles, headings and body text. Font size for titles, headings and body text must be different. Appropriate diagrams must be used at proper place

Presentation of Reports

Various Examples of Reports


Annual Reports
Audit Reports Feasibility Reports Sales Reports Progress Reports

Directors Reports
Case Studies

Annual Report

An annual report lists the achievements and failures of an organization. It is a progress report in which every department is accounted for.

Various Examples of Reports

Audit Report

There are two types of auditor: the external auditor and the internal auditor. External auditors are independent of the companies on which they report. They are required to report to the shareholders at

general meetings on whether the final statements of a company


give a 'true and fair view' of the state of the company's affairs.

Internal auditors are concerned with the segregation of duties

and the internal control of the business for which they are
employed.

Various Examples of Reports

Feasibility Reports

These discuss the practicality, and possibly the suitability


and compatibility of a given project, both in physical and economic terms.

They also discuss the desirability of the proposed project from the viewpoint of those who would be affected by it. Report writers must come to a conclusion, and must recommend that some action is taken or is not taken and/or that some choice is adopted or is rejected.

Various Examples of Reports

Sales Report

It is a salesperson's detailed record of sales calls and results for


a given period; typically, a sales report will include information such as the sales volume per product or product line, the number of existing and new accounts called upon, and the expenses incurred in making the calls.

Various Examples of Reports

Progress Report

You write a progress report to inform a supervisor, associate, or customer about progress you've made on a project over a certain period of time.

The project can be the design, construction, or repair of something, the study or research of a problem or question, or the gathering of information on a technical subject.

You write progress reports when it takes well over three or

four months to complete a project.

Various Examples of Reports

Directors Report

Financial Report prepared for company directors.


The report is typically prepared on a quarterly and annual basis.

It includes detailed items such as the accountant's


financial analyses and management recommendations. The report is usually unaudited.

Various Examples of Reports

Case Studies

Case study refers to the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular participant or small group, frequently including the accounts of subjects themselves.

A form of qualitative descriptive research, the case study looks intensely

at an individual or small participant pool, drawing conclusions only


about that participant or group and only in that specific context.

Researchers do not focus on the discovery of a universal, generalizable truth, nor do they typically look for cause-effect relationships; instead, emphasis is placed on exploration and description.

Various Examples of Reports