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How to write a persuasive business report

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❶Here you must specify what needs to be done, by whom, how, when, and where. Organize and write the report.

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In this section you should also analyse and interpret the results by drawing on the research you have collected and explaining its significance. You should also suggest explanations for your findings and any outline any issues that may have influenced the results. You should ensure that any responses from individuals are anonymised, unless you have the express written permission of the individual to refer to their response by name. This section draws together the main issues identified in the report and should refer back to the aims and objectives — has the report achieved what it set out to do?

This section should not include any new material. The recommendations should be actionable and feasible in the organisational context. You should show what needs to be done and why. It is advisable that you prioritise the recommendations that are likely to achieve the greatest effect. The implementation plan should give some indication of timescales and cost implications.

If you do this ensure that the costs and benefits of each approach are explained, so that the reader can make an informed decision about which approach to choose. You might also make a recommendation that further research is carried out.

If you do this, explain what the benefits of the additional research would be. At the end of your report you should list of all the publications and other material that you have quoted or made reference to in the report.

This enables the reader to follow up on issues of particular interest but is also essential to avoid plagiarism. We recommend the Harvard style of citation and referencing though others are available and may be specifically requested by examiners. The guidance in Cite them Right! This is required for the CIPD Advanced qualification rather than for business reports generally, and provides the opportunity to apply crucial reflective skills to your own performance.

However, it is a good discipline to reflect on any report, whatever the reason for writing it, and to consider what you have learnt from it even if you do not write a formal reflective statement. These should include additional material that is related to the study but not essential to read.

If used, they should be signposted in the main report and should be clearly numbered. Only include material in appendices if it really adds value to the report. The standard of presentation needs to be professional if it is to persuade key decision-makers to accept the recommendations. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Our guide to helping you compile bibliographies based on the Harvard system. Our guide on what it means to think critically when assessing a piece of writing for a student assignment or a workplace project.

Our guide on helping you with the report writing process including key steps to improve the quality of business reports. Our guide on how to prepare for exams from planning revision to addressing issues on exam day. Home Knowledge hub Student resources hub Study guides How to write a persuasive business report. On this page On this page Planning the report Collecting relevant information Understanding the report structure Presenting the report References and books View our other study guides.

Log in to view more. Planning the report The key to a successful report is effective planning, so before you start writing the report consider the following points. Identify your target audience Identifying who you are writing for will help to shape the content of the report. Who will read the report and what are they looking for? What will you want them to do as a result of reading the report? Scope, size and deadline Clear aims and objectives specify the purpose of the report and show your reader what you are aiming to do.

Collecting relevant information The range of topics on which an HR practitioner might write a report is very wide. Understanding the report structure A report is a structured form of writing, designed to be read quickly and accurately. CIPD recommend the following structure: Title The title should indicate clearly the focus of the report. Executive summary This is a brief summary of the report, no longer than one page, which is designed to help the reader decide whether they wish to read the full report.

Although it is the first thing to be read, it should be written last and should include: Table of contents This shows how the report is structured and indicates the page numbers of the main elements.

Introduction The purpose of the introduction is to set the scene and show how the chosen topic seeks to address an issue of strategic relevance to the organisation. Research methods This section must explain what you did to gather the information that you are presenting.

Findings, analysis and discussion Your results should be presented as clearly as possible so that they are easily understood and accessible to the reader. Conclusions and recommendations This section draws together the main issues identified in the report and should refer back to the aims and objectives — has the report achieved what it set out to do? References At the end of your report you should list of all the publications and other material that you have quoted or made reference to in the report.

Reflective statement This is required for the CIPD Advanced qualification rather than for business reports generally, and provides the opportunity to apply crucial reflective skills to your own performance. The statement should outline: Appendices These should include additional material that is related to the study but not essential to read.

Presenting the report The standard of presentation needs to be professional if it is to persuade key decision-makers to accept the recommendations. Use wide margins and clear line spacing. Clearly number all pages.

Ensure headings are clear and follow a logical structure. Paragraphs should be short and concise. Keep language simple and avoid unnecessary jargon. Your report should focus on the current advertising budget and how you might effectively use a larger budget. Consider the knowledge or familiarity the audience already has with the intended topic.

Also, think about how the audience will use the information in the report. For instance, say you want to implement a job-share program for your division. Consider how much they likely know about job-share programs already. The answer will set the tone for the report. If your company has never considered a job-share program, then the report will be both informational and strategic. If the company has considered a job-share program, then the report will be less informational and more persuasive.

Identify what you need to learn. The hardest part of writing a business report isn't in the writing. This involves a variety of skills, including data collection and market analysis. What do you — and, in the end, management — need to know to make an informed decision about the topic? Collect the appropriate data for your report. It is important that your data is well-researched; otherwise, you risk losing credibility. Data gathering itself is going to depend on the type of report that you write.

Ensure that the data parameters you choose are concise and relevant to the point of the report. Data may come internally, which means you'll be able to collect it quite quickly. Sales figures, for example, should be available from the sales department with a phone call, meaning you can receive your data and plug it into your report quickly. External data may also be available internally. If a department already performs customer analysis data collection, borrow that department's.

You don't need to conduct the research on your own. This will be different for every type of business, but the writer of a business report often doesn't need to conduct firsthand research. Organize and write the report. How you organize your report depends on your objective. For instance, you would organize a compliance report differently than a feasibility report. Once you have an idea of how you want to organize your report, you can write your content.

Break up relevant data into separate sections. A business report can't be a big flood of figures and information. Organizing the data into separate sections is key to the success of a well-written business report. For example, keep sales data separate from customer analysis data, each with its own header. Organize the report into appropriate section headers, which may be read through quickly as standalone research, but also supporting the basic objective of the report together.

Since some of the sections may depend upon analysis or input from others, you can often work on sections separately while waiting for the analysis to be completed. Draw conclusions with specific recommendations. Draw clear conclusions that follow logically from the data examined in the report. Clearly recommend the best course of action based on those conclusion, if appropriate. Write out any changes in job descriptions, schedules or expenses necessary to implement the new plan.

Write the executive summary. The executive summary should be the very first page of the report, but it should be the last thing that you write. The executive summary should present your findings and conclusions and give a very brief overview of what someone would read, should they choose to continue reading the entire report. It's like a trailer for a movie, or an abstract in an academic paper. The executive summary gets its name because it's likely the only thing a busy executive would read.

Tell your boss everything important here, in no more than words. The rest of the report can be perused if the boss is more curious.

Use infographics for applicable data, if necessary. In some cases, you may find it helpful to include graphs or charts displaying quantitative data. Whenever possible, use bullet points, numbers or boxed data to help with readability. This sets your data apart from the rest of your report and helps to indicate its significance. Generally speaking, visual figures are a great idea for business reports because the writing and the data itself can be a little dry.

All infographics should be relevant and necessary. Use boxes on pages with a lot of text and no tables or figures. A page full of text can be tiresome for a reader. Boxed information can also effectively summarize important points on the page.

Cite your sources, if necessary. Depending on what kind of research you've done, you might need to explain where you obtained your information. The purpose of the bibliography or sources page in a business report is to provide a resource for others should they wish to follow up on the data and look into it. Use the appropriate formatting for the citations in your report, based on your industry. Proofread your report twice. These errors can even call into question the credibility of your findings.

Also, make sure that you present your information in a clear, concise way. If your report and audience are both closely tied to a specific industry, it's appropriate to use jargon or technical terms. But you have to take care to not overuse jargon and technical terms.

Generally, business writing is written in the passive voice , and this is one of the few instances where passive writing is usually better than active active writing. You can often miss errors while proofreading your own work due to the familiarity from writing it.

Consider asking someone else in your department who wants the report to succeed to read over it as well. Be open to the feedback. It's better to hear about mistakes from a co-worker than from a boss. Review each comment from the peer review and rewrite the report, taking comments into consideration. Create a table of contents. Format the business report as formally as possible, creating a table of contents to make it easy to reference and flip through your report.

Include all relevant sections, especially the executive summary and conclusions. Package your business report. The best complement to a thorough, well-researched report is polished packaging. This may include nice folders, binders or paper. The bottom line is that your business report needs to look sharp to intrigue your audience enough to read it. This applies to any graphs or charts included in the report as well.

Signatures typically appear on a cover letter transmitting the report, rather than the report itself. However, the names of those who collected and analyzed data or made recommendations and their titles and qualifications, if not known should be included on the Title Page between the Report Title and the Date of the Report.

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Writing a business report is no reason to panic. A business report is just a written document that provides information, and sometimes analysis, to help businesses make informed decisions. Remember that your goal is to provide the facts in an accessible and understandable way.

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1 WRITING BUSINESS REPORTS WHAT IS A BUSINESS REPORT AND HOW DO I WRITE ONE? Business reports can take different forms. Generally, they are concise documents that first inform.

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Examples and discussion of how to write a business report for English language learners including an example business plan to use as a template. Learn how to write a well-constructed business report. In this course, author and senior Kelley School of Business lecturer Judy Steiner-Williams outlines the different types of business reports and then provides guidance on how to write your own from cover letter to concluding sentence.

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Writing an effective business report is a necessary skill for communicating ideas in the business environment. Reports usually address a specific issue or problem, and are often commissioned when a decision needs to be made. They present the author’s findings in relation to . Watch video · As we examine how to write business reports, you will be faced with a variety of report writing decisions. Each decision will be based partially on your report's problem and purpose, your reader's needs and expectations, and your company's guidelines.