Home Business Magazine Online
Business reporting is necessary for every company. This activity presents important information about the company’s financial stats and overall performance. From the information, the insights gathered enables management to make sound decisions about future operations and strategy.
However, there are challenges that you might face when it comes to preparing and presenting the business report. The topmost concern, of course, is data accuracy. Analyzing and turning huge numbers and information into digestible content are other things to accomplish.
To produce an accurate business report, take note of the three best practices below:
Identify the Type of Report You’re Making
There are various types of business reports that depend on the data presented. Each also has its purpose and method. Below are the four main types of business reports:
- Ad Hoc: Most companies often use this report to communicate essential information to shareholders, investors, and stakeholders. Jedox explained that ad hoc reporting includes a quarterly report on sales, trends, and customer development, among others.
- Strategic: Organizations often use this method to monitor internal performance against budgeted targets or as an early warning system for potential problems. This report provides senior management with information about the organization’s performance over time and across different areas. In addition, these reports are often prepared annually or quarterly, but they can also be produced more frequently if necessary.
- Financial: The accountant prepares this report for external parties like shareholders and creditors. These documents also include information required by legal authorities. A financial report typically includes balance sheets, income, cash flow statements, and detailed analyses like cash flow projections.
- Operational: Managers often use this type of report to make decisions and plan future activities within their areas of responsibility. This type of report provides information on the current activities within an organization or department, such as sales figures or production costs.
Know Your Audience
As you write a business report, you must make sure that the information is accurate, understandable, and relevant to the intended audience. Therefore, it is also important to think about who your potential readers are.
This strategy enables you to write in a way that keeps your readers engaged as you use their language and address their concerns through analytics. As a result, you will find it easier to segregate, analyze, and present information since you only need to include data that truly concerns your audience.
For example, if your audience consists of investors interested in quarterly results and earnings per share (EPS) growth rates, highlight these numbers prominently in your report. If there is another metric that is more important for them, such as gross margin or return on investment (ROI), then include that as well.
In financial reports, follow the legal requirements and regulations that apply to your business. You might be required to be as thorough as possible, especially if your business occasionally deals with government contracts.
On the other hand, if you are preparing strategic reports to improve marketing and promotions, then it is important to highlight past performance to compare any changes that have been brought about by new advertising techniques that were implemented.
Leverage Bullet Points
Bullets make complex ideas easier to digest, because they help break up long paragraphs into shorter chunks of information. When you use bullet points, your readers can follow along the report with ease. Aside from that, it helps them remember the main points of the report. This allows your audience to fully utilize the purpose of the information later on.
Here are three tips on how to use bullet points when writing a business report:
- Use Short Sentences and Paragraphs: Bullets should be short and concise, not containing more than two sentences. In addition, they should be written in a single paragraph.
- Put Together a Comparison: If you have two different types of data in your text, make sure that these numbers appear together in a chart for easy comparison. Doing so prevents confusion for readers who might miss the significant changes for failing to look at specific sections.
- Keep Language Simple: You must write bullet points in straightforward language that everyone can understand. Avoid jargon or industry terms unless they are common among your target audience.
Key Takeaway on Business Reporting
Accuracy in business reports is crucial in ensuring you deliver the right information to your staff, investors, and stakeholders. Following the best practices in business reporting helps you prepare an easily digestible report that will be relevant and useful for your audience.
Identifying the type of report to make, knowing your audience, and listing important information in concise bullet points are the top three best practices that can help you in effective business reporting.