Include the following:
The length should be in the range of about 1000 words +/- 10%. Longer is not necessarily better, but the report should not be fewer than 900 words. Make sure that your report contains all of the following headings, shown below in Components of a business report.
Components of a business report
A business report contains a collection of objective data that the reader should consider. The report can contain suggestions and recommendations, but its primary purpose should be to present facts and information. Please note this important distinction. A report is not a proposal. A proposal is a sales pitch with the single objective of promoting an idea. A business proposal spends most of its time promoting suggestions and recommendations. A business report spends most of its time presenting objective facts. Proposals propose. Reports report.
Please include all of the following headings and sections in your report:
Business reports generally follow a formal structure, unless they are very short email reports. Most moderate to long reports begin with a title page. The title page shows the full title of the report, the name of the author and the names of audience members or groups.
Abstract or Executive Summary
The report should also include an “abstract” or “executive summary.” This brief summary presents the purpose, methods, scope, findings, conclusions and recommendations of the report. A high-level business executive might choose not to read the entire report, but instead to read only the executive summary. Write the summary with enough detail to provide a busy executive with the most important elements of the report.
Table of Contents
The table of contents page usually comes immediately after the title page and before the executive summary. It should show each section of the report by name and page number.
List of Figures, Tables, Abbreviations or Symbols (optional)
A good rule of thumb is that if your report includes more than five figures, illustrations or tables, you should list them by page number, immediately after the table of contents page. If the report contains abbreviations or symbols that might not be familiar to all readers, include those abbreviations and symbols, plus their definitions and explanations in this section. Not all reports need to contain this section.
Start the body of the report with an introductory paragraph, with the heading “Introduction.” The introduction should present the purpose and scope of the report, and present background information that might be necessary for readers to know so that they can understand the rest of the report.
The next heading should read “Body,” and this begins the heart of the report. You can include subheadings to introduce the various information categories that make up the body. Consider including tables of data or financial information, charts, graphs and illustrations.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The body of the report ends with “Conclusions and Recommendations.” In this section, you summarize the objective data and findings, and propose recommendations, if necessary and appropriate.
If your report presents data that you gathered from published sources, show those sources in a bibliography that should include traditional publications, Internet sources and people who you might have interviewed.
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