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Kurs: - Business English

Modul: Reports - Izveštaji

Autor: prof. Gordana Matorkić

Naziv jedinice: Writing Reports




Business reports are used mainly in organisations, and it is valuable for any executive to develop an effective report writing style. Business reports come in many forms, from lengthy formal reports to the shorter variations used within departments. Therefore, the writing style should reflect the nature of the report content.

Structure of Formal Reports

In general, long formal reports follow a recognised structure, made up of a title page, table of contents, executive summary, introduction section, the main body of the report, conclusions section, recommendations and appendices.

The title page, as its name suggests, identifies the report, so that it can be distributed to those individuals who are authorised to receive it. This page should be attractively laid out, as it is the first page that the reader sees, and first impressions are important!

Table of Contents lists the main sections or chapters that appear in the report and the page number for each.

The executive summary plays an important role in the business report. Its function is to provide busy individuals with an overview of the report contents. Therefore, the summary should be interesting enough to encourage the executive to return to the report when he/she is less busy! It should contain the objective(s) of the report, main findings, conclusions or recommendations.

The introduction should set out the aims and objectives of the report and provide background information about the matter being investigated or discussed.

Main body of report presents the main findings concerning the report’s subject matter. These findings should be laid out in a clear and logical fashion, so that it is easy for the reader to follow the author(s) train of thought. It is usual to put the most important findings at the beginning of the section.

In the conclusions section, the main findings are emphasized and they should be fair and unbiased. It describes the purpose of the report, your conclusions and how you reached them.

Recommendations for further action should be presented in order of importance and be written in a very precise manner, so that the readers are clear about the author’s intentions.

There are times when large amounts of data or statistics can not be easily inserted into the main findings. Therefore, this information can be placed in an appendix at the end of the report. The appendix is for material which readers only need to know if they are studying the report in depth. Relevant charts and tables should go in the discussion where readers can use them. Only put them in an appendix if they would disrupt the flow of the report. Clear references should be made to the appendix in the main body of the report. This approach is very valuable where several long tables of data must be contained in the report.

There are various types of business reports like Progress Reports, Feasibility reports or Empirical Research reports. Progress report tells us if the work is progressing as planned. It also tells of the results thus far and explains what needs to be done and what progress is to be expected.

Feasibility reports explain how reasonable and appropriate the decision-making criteria are. They explain the methods used to collect the information or material and allows the reader to determine that the facts are reliable.

Empirical research reports explain why the research project is important, give any necessary background information and describe what you are trying to discover or find out.


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