What is Business Report? In the most general sense, a business report is the conveying of information on some aspect of business by one person to another or by one group of persons to another group of persons. In olden days when business functions were performed on small scales, no reports were needed. But, with an expansion of the world of business, it has become unavoidable for business people to take business decisions on the basis of sound and safe recommendations made by experts. The larger the organization, the greater the need for reports is likely to be. Specially, in technical and complex situations, reports become vital to business as they help the readers in understanding and solving their problems to their satisfaction and to the benefit of their organization.
DEFINITION OF BUSINESS REPORT
Different people define business report in different words. To some, a business report is a statement of facts related to a business matter. Others define it as an objective and planned presentation of facts for the benefit of its readers. The chief end of a business report is to discuss and analyze a problem with a view to finding its solution. Keeping in view this purpose of a business report, it can be defined as: A document in which a given situation or problem is discussed, examined and analyzed for the purpose of reaching findings, drawing conclusions and making recommendations for the benefit of its reader.”
Thus, we can say that a report is an account about some happening, situation, suggestion, proposal or idea. The statement of the report is based on some information which is collected, examined and analyzed for its onward submission, with the conclusions and suggestions of its writer.
CLASSIFICATION OF BUSINESS REPORT
A broad classification of Business Reports categorizes them into:
- Oral Reports
- Written Reports
Oral Reports are verbal reports. The communication process of information through oral reports does not base on a written document. Instead, it is conveyed verbally i.e. by words of mouth, by reporting in person. Oral reports usually deal with day-to-day matters of lesser importance where it is not necessary to keep a record of them. An oral report is usually subjective in its approach to the problem.
Unlike oral reports, written reports are based on written documents. A report is fully objective in its insight into the -problem. The writer studies and analyzes the problem objectively, and then presents the findings with his recommendations and suggestions in a written form. Reports are required to be in matters of greater importance, like those of policy decisions, and when keeping a record of them is necessary. Written reports are classified into different kinds, depending on their function, subject-matter, format, and frequency. A broad division of written reports classifies them into:
• Routine Reports (Informational and Periodical)
• Special Reports (Analytical)
Routine Reports: Routine reports deal with routine matters pertaining to a business. Since the purpose of these reports is to give information to the management on specific routine subjects, they are also called informational reports. These reports contain bare facts and statements of affairs actually prevalent. They do not carry any comments or suggestions from the reporters. Sales Reports, Financial Reports, and Production Reports are the best examples of these types of reports. The information provided in these reports pertains to a fixed period, viz. a day, week, month, quarter, half-year or year, and so they can also be called Periodical Reports.
Special Reports: The subject of these reports is some specific situation or a problem that needs a thorough analysis before a decision is taken on it. On account of this purpose of these reports, they are also called Analytical Reports. The preparation of these reports requires much care and thorough knowledge of the given problem. Here the reporter has to make a convincing and realistic analysis of the business aspect under report, with his definite conclusion and recommendations. Special or Analytical Reports are further classified into:
1. Short Reports or Informal Reports
2. Long Reports or Formal Reports
SHORT REPORTS: A short or informal report uses the Memo Format for its submission, For this reason, it may also be called a Memo Report. Usually, it is used inside the organization but, depending upon a situation, it may be sent outside the firm. It is a short statement of facts, usually presented on a single page, but may range to several pages according to the nature of the subject. The objective of the writer of a short report should be to present the facts in the concise, accurate, unbiased and appropriate manner with drawn-out conclusions. The style of this report is often personal, direct, informal and relaxed. In many cases, short reports are required to be made on printed forms, like confidential reports written by senior officers on the performance of their juniors, market survey reports and other such types of reports. However, the writer of a short report should always try to be simple, direct and to-the-point.
LONG REPORTS OR FORMAL REPORTS: These reports are much more detailed and exhaustive in their form, nature, and treatment of the subject. Long reports are usually prepared for outside the organizations. On account of their special importance and significance, services of such experts are hired as have all the professional and technical know-how about the respective subjects of the reports. Some business projects involve millions and billions of rupees, and no businessman or agency can take the decision of investing that huge amount without being sure of their practicability. In situations like this, special long reports have to be prepared to look at the feasibility aspect of the projects. For this purpose, many copies of the report are printed and presented to concerned individuals/organizations for their perusal and decision.