How to Write a Report to Your Supervisor
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Business reports come in all shapes and sizes from brief one-page duty reports to multichapter analyses. There is no set work report format since each one needs a unique style and structure. They key thing to keep in mind is why your boss needs the report. Focus on giving her the precise information she needs to make a well-considered business decision.
Know Who You Are Writing For
It is crucial that you understand why you are writing the report or you may include incorrect information. Be direct and ask your supervisor what he is going to do with the report. Is it for his eyes only or will he be distributing the report to higher-ups or multiple departments? Will a strategy person be reading it or a numbers person? Remember, you may not be writing just for your boss. Your report should speak to the end audience and be clear enough that readers can quickly grasp what is important.
Gather Your Data
The data are the centerpiece of your report. Your words are only there to help your readers understand the data. So, spend some time collecting and organizing all the statistics, financial data, tables, graphs and metrics you need. Place these on a page. The data will form the body of your report and you will build the words around it. Use the data to decide the key points you are going to be making, then write a few bullet points that highlight these areas. Make sure each point flows logically from the next. Use the bullets to help you flesh out the main part of your report.
Lay Out the Key Sections
Whatever the type of report, it will consist of the following sections:
- Executive summary.
- Introduction – why you are writing the report, the background to it and your method for gathering information.
- Main body – the areas you have bulleted. Use sub-headings here if you have a lot of information.
- Conclusion or recommendation, based on your findings.
These sections are your layout, then start filling in the detail. Most people find it easier to write the main body of the report before filling out the introduction and conclusion.
Finish With the Executive Summary
Although it appears at the beginning of your report, the Executive Summary will be the last thing you write. That's because it's a summary of the major areas listed in your report. What are the key findings? What should happen next? While your supervisor will read the whole report, some high-level decision-makers might only read the Executive Summary, so make sure it lists the salient points. Keep it short. One or two paragraphs is enough, or you can list the information as bullet points.
If your company has a style guide, edit your document to make sure it is compliant. Otherwise, check you are writing in clear English and use industry terminology consistently. Make the report easy to scan by including sub-heads to describe the paragraphs that follow and pull out main facts using bold print. This will help your supervisor to find the information she needs. If there is time, have someone peruse your report and critique it. Is the language clear and simple? Do your main points and recommendations come through clearly? Finally, proofread for spelling and grammar errors. You will lose credibility if you forget to run a basic spell check.
- Instructional Solutions:How to Write a Business Report with Skill and Ease
- Business Writing: Write Better Executive Summaries
Jayne Thompson earned an LLB in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LLM in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “big law” firms before launching a career as a business writer. Her articles have appeared on numerous business sites including Typefinder, Women in Business, Startwire and Indeed.com. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.
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How to Write a Report That Will Impress Your Boss
Nothing causes so much stress for an employee as when it is time to report in to your boss. Perhaps the industry you work in requires you to compile weekly reports. Or, you may only need to write up quarterly or annual reports. No matter the frequency, you’ll want to know how to write a report properly.
It is important to make sure you analyze the available data correctly and that you include all relevant facts and figures in your report in a succinct, logical way. To simplify your professional life, we have put together a step-by-step guide on how to write a report that will impress your boss, solidify your great job performance and boost your company’s productivity.
Tips on Reporting to the Boss
While the subject and formatting of your report will vary based on the company, the industry and your role within the company, learning how to write a report that pleases starts with an excellent summary. No matter your topic or how detailed it might get, you need to start your report with a short, concise opener that goes over the subject you will cover and the main points. It’s your report’s first impression and you want it to leave a good one with the person who signs your checks.
If you are writing a short report, you can just title this section the summary or overview. In much longer reports, such as ones that address annual findings, you would typically label this segment the executive summary.
Stick to the Facts
One of the most imperative aspects of learning how to write a report is to stick to the key facts and not include needless information in an apparent, but failing attempt to bulk up your findings. Include the information that adds value to your report, applies to your reader and educates your audience. Remember that unnecessary details only distract your reader from your main points.
Your report should be highly readable with your main points presented so that they’re easy to scan and comprehend. Make sure every section of your report includes a concise introduction, bullet points of key data and your findings.
Include Your Analysis
Part of learning how to write a report that will exceed expectations is by composing a complete analysis of all your relevant findings and research. Keep it to the point and avoid writing an overly long analysis that will degrade the impact of your report. Include only important details and a brief review of the items previously covered. Make any recommendations, if appropriate.
If you are wondering how to write a report that is brief and to the point without overlooking key details, then you might consider including attachments in your final product. Depending on the subject you are working with, these attachments could be required to expand on your report and provide your boss with further data. For instance, attachments with additional facts and figures or an outline of your recommendations may offer a more complete look or better insight into the data you are touching on in your report.
Of course , this tip depends on the industry you work in and the job you perform, but one of the best ways to learn how to write a report that pleases your employer is to compile reports frequently. If you are only required to submit a single report quarterly or annually, compile your information way ahead of time, building your analysis and findings as you go along. This will save you considerable time and effort, but also ensures you are noting relevant data that could come in handy later.
Alternatively, if you are in an industry like social media where reports are required more often, make it a habit to report frequently. This type of industry is ever-changing, so reporting on a platform’s performance and associated data should be a consistent occurrence. Recurrent reporting also allows you to alter your strategies if need be, fine-tune your reporting approach and set and stay in touch with progress on your goals.
Determine Relevant Data
Stay on topic.
Learning how to write a report requires you to determine what information is relevant to your boss and what is not. One of the easiest ways you make sure you provide the most relevant information is to stay on topic. Don’t go down rabbit trails or include non-essential facts and figures. Make your report simple to read, short and direct.
Make Your Report User-Friendly
Design your report in such a way as to make it more readable and pleasing to the eye. In determining how to write a report that will satisfy your boss, stay away from highly complex visualizations unless required. Simple graphs that drive home the facts will do.
Lay out all your key points in such a way that your reader could scan them, if need be, and still comprehend your main conclusions.
Set Clear Goals
Want to know how to write a report that hits its mark? Set clear goals to check your progress and keep track of what changes need to be made. Depending on your subject matter, you may need to juxtapose the outcomes of the prior production period with those of your competitors. This will enable you and your boss to set clear goals relevant to your industry and your company’s competition.
How to Write a Report That Will Impress
One of the first things you need to address when learning how to write a report that will impress your boss, is the reason you are compiling it in the first place. If you do not identify why you are composing the report, then your wording and data will not flow in a succinct way.
Before you write, make sure you understand the reason for the report and the points you need to make to your boss. If you are not clear on the reason for the report, your writing could end up being geared in the wrong direction, miss important components and miss the mark with your supervisor.
When you need clarification, do not be afraid to ask questions — whether it be from a supervisor or a colleague. To write a report that stands out, you need to be clear on the subject so you can compile the data in a thorough, but easily understandable way.
Choose Your Data
When you think about how to write a report, choose the data you will include and any relevant charts or graphs. If possible, speak with individuals in your department or others whose thoughts and opinions carry some weight on your subject.
Take those findings and information, and hone them down into the essential data and facts you’ll need to provide in the report. You can lay out this data in paragraph form, identifying key points throughout, or use a bulleted list instead.
Format Your Presentation
Part of learning how to write a report that will impress is by formatting your presentation in a logical, captivating way. Start with a strong title, then describe your report and why you are writing it, touching on how you gathered your relevant data.
Make your presentation orderly, breaking sections up by theme and subject. You need to include sufficient data to show your boss you’ve done your research, without overloading the reader with unnecessary statistics.
At the close of your report, include a succinct, solid recommendation stemming from the discoveries made over the course of your research.
Another formatting element to consider is whether your company has a specific style guide you must follow when composing your report. If so, make sure you adhere to it exactly. If there is no style guide in play, then aim to provide the most readable format that can be understood at a glance.
Use headings to break up your sections and identify primary facts by enlarging the typeface or using bold to emphasize those areas. If you have additional documentation, financial data, or other similar materials, include those as attachments or as an appendix following your findings.
Remember the Executive Summary
Once you have finished your report, go back to make sure your initial summary is clear, strong and sticks to the point. If you prefer to wait until you have written the rest of your report to compose this section, then that is acceptable. Be sure, though, that you take the time to write one or two solid paragraphs or a series of bullet points that cover your main findings.
Frequently called an executive summary, this top section of your report needs to be highly readable and identify all key information detailed in the main body.
Discuss the subject of your report, key findings, any proposals you have and suggestions on next steps that should be taken. For a guiding point of reference, you should be able to read your completed executive summary within a couple of minutes.
Check Your Work
Those who know how to write a report of stellar quality know to check their work. Once all is said and done, errant typos or an illogical flow of thought can sabotage all your endeavors in just a few sentences.
After you have finished writing your entire report, go back and carefully read each sentence and bullet point. Make sure you have not missed any imperative information, determine that the flow is logical and succinct, and that your research and findings are explained clearly.
Learning how to write a report that will impress your boss takes time, forethought and effort. You need to understand the reason you are writing your report, conduct any necessary interviews, harness relevant data and compile it in a manner that is clear and understandable.
Using headings and short paragraphs or bullet points to enhance readability is key. Be sure to finish with a few strong notes regarding your recommendations and goals for the future.
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How to Write a Work Report
Last Updated: March 7, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Madison Boehm and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Madison Boehm is a Business Advisor and the Co-Founder of Jaxson Maximus, a men’s salon and custom clothiers based in southern Florida. She specializes in business development, operations, and finance. Additionally, she has experience in the salon, clothing, and retail sectors. Madison holds a BBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from The University of Houston. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 163,063 times.
Writing a work report might feel overwhelming, but it might be easier than you think. Work reports are typically used to explain your progress on a work project or provide your conclusions and recommendations regarding a workplace issue. To easily write an effective work report, start by considering your purpose, audience, research, and message. Then, draft your report using a typical format for business reports. Finally, you can revise the report to make it effective.
Planning a Work Report
- For example, your purpose may be to analyze a business issue, explain the results of a project you worked on, or provide your supervisor with an overview of your work progress.  X Research source
- Who all will read your report? Include anyone who might reasonably use the report in your audience.
- If you’re writing for different types of readers, include all necessary information for your least informed reader to understand. However, use headings for each section so that informed readers can skip information that is redundant for them.  X Research source You might also include sections for each audience to address their concerns.
- Financial information
- Statistical information
- Interviews with experts, coworkers, clients, etc.
- Has the project scope changed?
- What tasks have you done since the last progress report?
- What tasks are you going to do next?
- Are you on track to complete the project on time? If not, why?
- What obstacles have you encountered, and how will you overcome them?
- Did you learn any lessons this month?
- In most cases, you’ll start your report by explaining your results, conclusions, or recommendations. Then, explain how you got to this point and your reasoning, if applicable.
- If you are about to make a controversial conclusion or recommendation, explain your process and reasoning first so your audience will be able to understand why you arrived at this idea.
Drafting a Work Report
- In some cases, you might also include a cover letter to explain why you wrote the report, what it includes, and what you think needs to be done next. This is more common for reports that have taken a long time to prepare or require an additional explanation before the reader looks at the report itself.
- For a progress report, list your name, project name, date, and reporting period on a title page. Put each item on a separate line. You can label each line with “name,” “project name,” “date,” and “reporting period,” or you can just list the information.  X Research source
- Ask your boss if there are specific recommendations for formatting your work report. They’re your best resource for preparing your report.
- You don’t need to summarize the entire report. Just focus on the most important ideas in the report, such as the key recommendations or conclusions you’re presenting.
- If you’re writing a progress report, you can skip this section.
- Use titles and headers for each section so your report is easy to read.
- If you’re writing a progress report, you usually don’t need to include a table of contents, unless your boss prefers that you do. However, include titles and headers for each section to make it easier to navigate your report.
- Your introduction doesn’t need to be long. Be direct and specific so that your reader will understand the context and purpose without a lengthy explanation.
- Write 2-4 paragraphs for your introduction.
- For a progress report, your introduction should only be 1-2 paragraphs long. It should summarize your project and what you hope to accomplish. You might also preview the work you’ve completed and what you plan to do next.
- In most cases, this section will include an introductory paragraph and a list of the conclusions you reached.
- Here’s what a conclusion might look like: “1. Our population is aging, leading to more health risks among our clientele.”
- If you’re writing a progress report, you won’t have any results or conclusions to present. Instead, list your accomplishments or completed tasks in the section after your introduction. You might also provide a short 2-4 sentence paragraph in this section. However, a list is usually sufficient. You might list “Raised $200 to pay for festival tent,” “Contracted with Your Party Plan to manage festival planning,” and “Surveyed 1500 residents to gather public input.”  X Research source
- For example, you might write, “1. Train all employees to perform CPR.”
- If you’re writing a progress report, you’ll instead list the next tasks or goals that you plan to accomplish in your upcoming work period. For example, you might list “Find vendors for the festival,” “Approve festival designs,” and “Order promotional posters.”  X Research source
- This includes a lengthier discussion of your research and evaluations.
- This section should be the longest in your report.
- If you’re writing a progress report, you can skip this section. In its place, include a section on the obstacles you faced while working on the project, as well as how you overcame them.  X Research source You might write, “Many residents didn’t return the survey because it didn’t include prepaid postage. Moving forward, we’ll include postage on our surveys or give residents the option of doing their survey digitally.”
- Unless otherwise instructed, use APA formatting for business reports.
- You can skip this section if you’re preparing a progress report.
- For example, you might have “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” and “Appendix C.”
- If you’re writing a progress report, you don’t need to include this section.
- You might write, “The arts festival planning project is on track for completion on schedule. We’ve completed 90% of our pre-planning activities and are now shifting attention to purchasing materials. The project has no outstanding obstacles, but we will address any that arise in the future.”
Making Your Report Effective
- Your headings might include: Introduction, Completed Tasks, Goals for Next Quarter, Obstacles and Solutions, and Conclusion.
- Tailor your headings to fit the information in your report.
- For a progress report, your audience will likely be your supervisor, team, or clients.  X Research source
- You would write, "Revenues are up 50% for the fourth quarter," rather than, "Revenues sky-rocketed by 50% to generate stellar fourth quarter earnings."
- Keep in mind that some work reports may be long, as they may cover a lot of information. However, your writing should still be concise.
- It's okay to write, "Sales increased over the last quarter after the sales staff implemented cold calling," rather than, "We saw an exponential increase in revenues over the past selling quarter as our talented, dedicated sales people began cold calling potential clients to ask them to purchase more products."
- First, give an overall summary of the business. It should not be long. You have to grab the reader's attention right away. Or else no one will read a 100-page document.  X Research source
- Then give an overall snapshot of where you are at financially, where you are in terms of the business and the team.  X Research source
- After that, go into your past report and show that you have been making revenue in the current year. Then mention that you will try to take the business in a particular direction based on the trends.
- Rather than writing, "Disengaged staff members are low in morale, making the office feel like a soulless machine," you could write, "Staff members whose productivity numbers rated lower than others reported feeling disengaged."
- Keep your language professional throughout your report.
- If you can, have someone else proofread your report for you, as it's difficult to spot all of your own mistakes.
- If time allows, set aside your report for at least 24 hours before you proofread it.
Outline for a Work Report
- After you write your first work report, you can use it as a template for future reports. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Your workplace may have a template for work reports. Talk to your supervisor to see if you can use a template for your report. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you can, base your report format on an existing work report from your business or organization. Check the files at your office or ask your coworker or supervisor for a copy of an existing report. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you’re using an existing report as an example, don’t copy the wording in that report. This is plagiarism and will likely result in you facing professional consequences. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.unr.edu/writing-speaking-center/student-resources/writing-speaking-resources/how-to-write-a-business-report
- ↑ https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/students/study-guides/business-report-writing
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-a-report/
- ↑ https://people.montefiore.uliege.be/mfonder/INFO0064/report_writing_instructions.pdf
- ↑ https://www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents/c6_p10.html
- ↑ https://www.victoria.ac.nz/vbs/teaching/resources/VBS-Report-Writing-Guide-2017.pdf
- ↑ https://bizfluent.com/how-7883364-write-report-boss.html
- ↑ https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/engineering/current-students/undergraduate/practical-work/practical-work-reports.html
- ↑ https://hrnews.co.uk/what-is-a-work-report-and-how-to-write-it/
- ↑ https://wac.colostate.edu/docs/tipsheets/writing_business_reports.pdf
About This Article
To write a work report, use a cover or title page to provide the name of your report, the date, and the names of the authors. Next, provide a brief executive summary detailing the key information, such as the mission statement, objective, company information, and growth highlights. After your summary, include a table of contents listing what’s in your report. Then, at the beginning of your actual report, include an introduction that gives an overview of the report. After your introduction, give an overview of your research or evaluations and how your findings relate back to the topic of your report. Following the overview, give your recommendations for moving forward and conclude your report. To learn how to add an appendix to your report, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write a Report: A Guide
A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.
Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing.
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What is a report?
In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report .
Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description.
What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content:
- Details of an event or situation
- The consequences or ongoing effect of an event or situation
- Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
- Interpretations from the information in the report
- Predictions or recommendations based on the information in the report
- How the information relates to other events or reports
Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion.
Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights.
Types of reports
There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:
- Academic report: Tests a student’s comprehension of the subject matter, such as book reports, reports on historical events, and biographies
- Business reports: Identifies information useful in business strategy, such as marketing reports, internal memos, SWOT analysis, and feasibility reports
- Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals
Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments.
There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational.
>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?
What is the structure of a report?
The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:
- Executive summary: Just like an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section that summarizes the findings in your report so readers know what to expect. These are mostly for official reports and less so for school reports.
- Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you’re about to discuss, with your thesis statement and any need-to-know background information before you get into your own findings.
- Body: The body of the report explains all your major discoveries, broken up into headings and subheadings. The body makes up the majority of the entire report; whereas the introduction and conclusion are just a few paragraphs each, the body can go on for pages.
- Conclusion: The conclusion is where you bring together all the information in your report and come to a definitive interpretation or judgment. This is usually where the author inputs their own personal opinions or inferences.
If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section.
What should be included in a report?
There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot:
- Title page: Official reports often use a title page to keep things organized; if a person has to read multiple reports, title pages make them easier to keep track of.
- Table of contents: Just like in books, the table of contents helps readers go directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing for faster browsing.
- Page numbering: A common courtesy if you’re writing a longer report, page numbering makes sure the pages are in order in the case of mix-ups or misprints.
- Headings and subheadings: Reports are typically broken up into sections, divided by headings and subheadings, to facilitate browsing and scanning.
- Citations: If you’re citing information from another source, the citations guidelines tell you the recommended format.
- Works cited page: A bibliography at the end of the report lists credits and the legal information for the other sources you got information from.
As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require.
How to write a report in 7 steps
Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper.
1 Choose a topic based on the assignment
Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on.
If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria:
- There’s adequate information: Choose a topic that’s not too general but not too specific, with enough information to fill your report without padding, but not too much that you can’t cover everything.
- It’s something you’re interested in: Although this isn’t a strict requirement, it does help the quality of a report if you’re engaged by the subject matter.
Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding.
2 Conduct research
With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both.
For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research.
The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch.
3 Write a thesis statement
Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report.
Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement.
For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments.
It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next.
4 Prepare an outline
Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything.
Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively.
5 Write a rough draft
Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway.
6 Revise and edit your report
Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.)
We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed.
If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips .
7 Proofread and check for mistakes
Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems.
A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level.
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Reports are a necessary part of a lot of jobs, as well as an integral part of business communication and record keeping. Knowing how to write an effective report can help with your career advancement, keeping track of information, and making sure that the right information ends up in the right place.
If you’ve been asked to write a report, read a report, or just want to know what a report is and how it works, this article will explain how to write one and why they’re important. Business writing is inherently regimented, which makes it easier for people to fill in for each other, and also helps with being able to pull out the relevant information quickly.
A work report is a document that presents information relevant to a part of your job.
Three of the most important elements of writing a work report are knowing your reader , determining your purpose, and making an outline.
All work reports should have a title page , summary/abstract, table of contents, statement of purpose, body, and conclusion.
What is a work report?
How to write a work report, work report format, work report example, types of work reports, final thoughts, report format faq.
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The concept of a work report is simple – you’re presenting a document that shares information relevant to or part of your job. You’re most likely the expert or best authority on the topic you’re asked to discuss – that’s why you were tasked with the report.
Reports can take any number of forms, as long as they start as a written document. You can choose how you present your information or ideas, but you need to make sure whatever you write presents everything clearly.
Common reports people are asked to write for their jobs include memos, daily reports, sales analyses, meeting minutes, progress reports, annual reports, and compliance reports.
A work report can be any number of different documents on any number of subjects. However, business writing has dos and don’ts that you still need to follow. Maintaining professionalism is paramount, and a lot of that is prioritizing brevity. However, there are other aspects to consider as you draft your report.
Know your reader. The most important but often overlooked part of writing a report is making it relevant to your readers. Before you write anything down, think about who could be reading your report so you can present the information in the best way.
If you know it’s only your manager who wants to read a report on your progress of a project they’re deeply involved in, you’ll write differently than if you need to share your latest sales insights with the whole sales team and executive board .
Determine your purpose. Every report has some kind of goal to achieve. Maybe you just need to update your supervisor on your work for the week, or you need to present your ideas on how to restructure the HR department .
No matter your end goal, you need to make sure it’s clear before you set out to write your report. This will help you determine what information is important and relevant to the report, so you don’t overstuff it and overload your reader with too much extra background.
Do your research. Depending on the nature of the report, this is either paramount or less important. Either way, you want to make sure that you’re up to date on the information you’re including in the report, and that you’re familiar with it. Generally speaking, if you’re the person writing the report you’re the subject matter expert , so make sure you’re prepared.
If it’s a research report or a status report, then including statistics, charts, or other visual aids is a must. And that means that you need to understand what you’re talking about — which means research.
Make an outline. Keeping all of the different pieces of your business report clear can be hard, so help yourself out and create an outline. You should always have a few key elements, like a title page, a summary , a table of contents, a statement of purpose, the body of the report, and a conclusion.
Keep it short. Your coworkers will thank you if your report is concise but thorough. There’s no need to get fancy and make your report longer than it needs to be.
The odds are that your colleagues have other things to attend to, and reading your report isn’t at the top of their list, so keep it as short as you can without losing the necessary detail or background information.
Read through again. Once you have your report written, make sure you proofread it. Strong writers always take the time to edit their work, and going back again will allow you to check for grammar mistakes and make sure your writing is clear. You should take this chance to cut out any information that doesn’t need to be included or add clarification where your reader might have questions.
While there are many types of work reports, they should follow the same general format. The proper way to create an official report is to have a title page, summary, table of contents, a statement of purpose, a body, and a conclusion. Other sections can be added, and in informal correspondence, like memos, you may not need all of them.
Title page. Your report’s first page should be a title page that includes the project name, your name, your position, the date, and the company name. This can help give context to your work and give you credit for preparing the report.
Summary/abstract. Giving your readers a quick summary gives them the context of your report and can help them refresh their memories after they’ve read it. You can just include a few sentences to share the big picture of your report in this section.
Table of contents. If you have a particularly long report for work, you should include a table of contents, so your readers don’t get lost. You can just outline the different sections of the body of your report so they can easily find the information they need when they go back to review it.
Statement of purpose. You need to give your report an intro that states why you’re writing this report, why it’s important, and any other introductory information that’s important. It can be a brief introduction, but you should give some context and information, so your reader knows what to expect.
Body. This will be the longest section of your report. You need to provide all of the information you wish to communicate in this part of the report and properly explain everything. Depending on what you need to share, this section can be a paragraph or pages long. Feel free to break up your body into more sections so that your reader can follow along better.
Conclusion. The conclusion should include any wrap-up information you want to include, like suggestions for the future, big takeaways, or summarizing your learnings. The conclusion shouldn’t just summarize what your body said, but talk about future steps or why your report is important.
Here’s an example of a shorter report meant to update the recipient on the progress of the candidate search for an open position:
HR Update December 20, 2022 Prepared by: Jane Smith, Hiring Director XYZ Company This report provides an update on the progress of filling the Communications Coordinator position here at XYZ Company in the Communications Department. We began the hiring process in September, posted our job description in mid-October, and began looking at candidates in early November. Please refer to the previous November report for more detail on the initial candidate screenings. As it stands, we currently have six candidates in the second round of our interview process. Each of them passed their first-round interviews with Christine Johnson or me and impressed the hiring committee. We will wrap up second-round interviews with candidates before the end of the year. We have been discussing benefits and pay to be allocated to the new employee within the HR department and the Accounting department. Since this is a part-time position, we are nailing down the finer details of which benefits packages we can offer the candidate. Accounting is helping us finalize a number based on the amount of work the Communications department expects this position to take on. In order to complete this hiring process, we will need to cut one or two candidates after the second round interview, give the remaining ones an exercise to complete, and then narrow down to the top three candidates. Once we have ranked the top three candidates, we will offer the first-choice candidate the position. If they don’t accept, we’ll move to candidate two. We will also need to finalize the benefits package and pay with Accounting before we can offer any candidate the job. We expect to finalize this in the next few days, ahead of the completion of our second round of interviews. I expect that we will be able to offer our top choice candidate the position by the end of the first week in January. The holiday time off will slightly delay the process, but we’ll be ready to have someone join the team by the middle of January. This is slightly behind our initial schedule of a January 4th start date, but the Communications department has no issue with the delay.
Work report is a generic term that can apply to any number of documents. Depending on where you work and what you position is, you’ll likely have certain types of reports you’re expected to produce. Here are some of the most common varieties.
No matter what role, industry, or field you’re in, you’ll have to write a report at some point. Maybe you spearheaded a groundbreaking project, and you want to share your amazing success and learnings with your team, or perhaps you did some important research that would benefit your company to hear.
There are all kinds of situations where writing a report for work is needed, and all kinds of ways you can present your information.
Business reports are crucial to ensuring your valuable knowledge, information, and insights get shared with the right people. It’s not always possible to bring everyone into a room and have you present, but having a written report makes it easier to share your knowledge with everyone.
But just writing a report doesn’t always get your point across. Writing a thorough, clear, and engaging report is key to showing off your success. We’re here to help you write any kind of report you need.
Why should you follow standard report writing format?
The reason that you should follow standard report writing format is because then everyone knows how to read and interpret the report. Reports have a standard format to make it easier to read them quickly and get the information you’re looking for.
It’s also professional to follow the proper format for a report. Exactly how you deliver the report itself can vary — it can be a presentation, or a meeting, or just the paper itself. But whatever the case, you always need a written version for business records.
How do you write an effective business report?
If you want to write a good report for work, you need to focus on the tenets of business writing: brevity, clarity, and professionalism. Business reports should clearly convey the information needed in the least amount of time possible.
Following the standard business report format will help you with this as it steers you towards efficacy. Putting the report in a standard format also makes it easier of your readers to navigate, so that they can pull out the information they need more quickly.
Harvard Business Review — the Science of Strong Business Writing
University of Nevada, Reno — How to Write a Business Report
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Amanda is a writer with experience in various industries, including travel, real estate, and career advice. After taking on internships and entry-level jobs, she is familiar with the job search process and landing that crucial first job. Included in her experience is work at an employer/intern matching startup where she marketed an intern database to employers and supported college interns looking for work experience.
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How to Write a Work Report
Report writing is important in all areas of work and the language and layout of a report is important to ensure that the information is accurate and easily understood. The text below gives information on writing a clear and precise report.
- A report is often information about an event and it can also be a work report, about a job which has been done. It gives factual information.
- A report is written in formal language and is impersonal. In the conclusion you can give your personal evaluation based on the contents of the report.
Both a report of an event and a work report will have the following layout
Reporting an Event
Heading To: From: Date: Subject: Introduction Describe the event/happening and the background to it and why you are writing the report. Main part Describe the event step by step. You can use sub-headings here if you have a lot of information. Conclusion Your opinion/evaluation of the event and any suggestions you might have, but no new information should be introduced.
Heading To: From: Date: Subject: Introduction Describe the task and the background for it Main Part
- equipment and materials used
- a step by step description of the job (you can use sub-headings here if you have a lot of information).
- results (pictures, diagrams, etc. which illustrate the text)
Conclusion Your evaluation of the job (what went well, what could have been better), suggestions for improvement and your supervisor’s evaluation of the job. No new information should be introduced.
Make a list of all the sources you have used to write the report, for example, books, magazines, manuals, the internet. For a book or magazine article, include:
- author's name/ last name first in alphabetical order
- title of book/article
- where published
- when published (most recent date)
For an internet source include:
- the page address
- date when you found the information
Perhaps you have other material which is related to the report, such as information about the workplace, safety rules, etc. This material can be added to the report as an appendix. The appendixes should be numbered.
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