Discuss about the Business Report Structure.
The business report is an important form of formal communication. Executives, managers and employees to present their findings to seniors use the business report. The business report is a formal document. Therefore, it is important that it should have to the point information. There are various theories around the structure of business report. Some authors believe that the business report should be structured with bullet points while some authors believe that the business report should be structured in a paragraph format (Collis & Hussey, 2013). A lot of researches are done in this area and the objective of this paper is to discuss and analyze the literature review on the topic of business report structure. The initial research suggests that the business report should have a logical structure where every section follows the previous section and the section set the context for the next section.
Bock & Opsahl (2012) argued that any business report must start with an ‘Executive Summary’. The authors highlighted that executive summary is the most important section of any business report. The executive summary section is important because the senior leaders may not have enough time to report the entire report. Therefore, it is important that the writers should have an effective executive summary at the start of the business report. Svensson (2013) highlighted that the executive summary section should not be more than two pages. The idea of the executive summary is to summarize the report in a crisp manner. The executive summary may not be able to serve its purpose if it is more than two pages. However, in certain reports, there could be an exception. For example, if the length of the business report is more than 100 or 150 pages then the executive summary could be more than two pages as it is practically not possible to summarize 100-150 pages in two pages. However, as a thumb rule, the executive summary should not exceed 10% of the total word limit of report.
Karabag & Berggren (2014) argued that the business report should be divided into number of headings and sub-headings. It is important that the business report should start with an introduction paragraph. The introductory paragraph should set the base of entire business report. The background of the report, the scope of the report and the objective of the report should be clearly highlighted in the introductory paragraph. As a thumb rule, the introduction section should not exceed 10% of the total word limit of report. Authors argued that the business report should have eight to ten sections and it is important that all the section should follow the previous section. It is also important that the section should have sub-sections. The idea of putting sub-sections is to put a new concept in each sub section. It is important that multiple concepts should not be mixed in a simple sub section as it can add to the confusion.
Cardon (2015) argued that any business report must have a table of contents that lists down all the sections and sub sections. If the business report also have various figures and diagrams that the business report should also have a table of figure. The section of table of contents should follow executive summary section. Authors also mentioned that the business report must have a formal font. It is important that the writers should use Times New Roman, Aerial or any other formal font. The new and modern fonts like Helvetica, etc. should not be used. It is important that the report should be written in a font size of 10 to 12. The font of size less than 10 and the font of size more than 12 may looks unprofessional (Feldman & Netzer, 2012). It is also important that the font size of heading should be different than the font size of text. If the font size of body is 12, then the size of headings should be 14 and the font size of sub headings should be 13. The formal structure of business report also suggests that the headings of the report should be center aligned and the sub headings of the report should be left aligned. The best practices of developing business report also suggests that the business report should be written in a black ink only and writers should avoid any other ink. The professionalism of the business report could be maintained with the line spacing also. The best practice suggests that the line spacing should not be more than two (Nathan, 2013). A Conclusion section should follow the body or the content of the business report. It is important that the conclusion should be crisp in nature. The conclusion section should not contain any new information. In the conclusion section, writer should only summarize the report and make the concluding remarks. The conclusion section is generally the last section of any business report and Reference and Appendices follow this section.
The above paper discusses the literature review on the structure of business report. With the above discussion it can be said that the business report should start with an Executive Summary section and should end with a Conclusion section. There are certain small things that add to the professional nature of the business report. For example, the business report should have a clear font, the line spacing should be less than two, the text should be left aligned, and the headings should be center aligned and the sub headings should be left aligned. It is important that the authors should write the business report in a third person. The first person writing can make the report unprofessional. The guidelines suggest that the Executive Summary section should be written at last, after all the sections and sub sections are written.
Bock, A.J., Opsahl, T., George, G. and Gann, D.M., 2012. The effects of culture and structure on strategic flexibility during business model innovation.Journal of Management Studies, 49(2), pp.279-305.
Cardon, P., 2015. Business communication: Developing leaders for a networked world. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Collis, J. and Hussey, R., 2013. Business research: A practical guide for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Palgrave macmillan.
Karabag, S.F. and Berggren, C., 2014. Antecedents of firm performance in emerging economies: Business groups, strategy, industry structure, and state support. Journal of Business Research, 67(10), pp.2212-2223.
Nathan, P., 2013. Academic writing in the business school: The genre of the business case report. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 12(1), pp.57-68.
Netzer, O., Feldman, R., Goldenberg, J. and Fresko, M., 2012. Mine your own business: Market-structure surveillance through text mining. Marketing Science, 31(3), pp.521-543.
Svensson, G., 2013. Processes of substantiations and contributions through theory building towards theory in business research. European Business Review, 25(5), pp.466-480.
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