Writing a Professional Report for Business

Under the umbrella of ‘business documents’ comes everything from a quick email to financial papers and extensive legal documents. Each of these documents serves its own purpose and is tailored to a specific segment of stakeholders. It is key to consider the audience you are writing for with each specific document, and to understand their level of knowledge around the products and services you offer.

In this guide, we will take a look into the more complex business documents. Creating business cases and annual reports takes a lot of careful consideration and preparation.

Different Types of Business Reports

Business reports are a more formal communication and usually longer in form than other documents you may come across. There are a variety of topics which reports can cover, from sales figures to financial data and marketing plans.

Depending on the context of the report, it may be suited to investors, or to higher level decision makers if it presents a business case.

Reports are used to convey information, and the best visual way to do this often includes graphs, charts and case studies. If research has been undertaken as part of the project, then the results of this can also be presented using visual aids, making it clear and quick for the reader to digest.

If the report you are writing is one which is due to be updated and published often, for example each month or quarter, you can use the basis of your original report as a template for the following ones.

Things to Remember

When planning your business report, consider the following:

  • Define the purpose of the report
  • Use engaging language throughout
  • Organise for clarity and coherence
  • Edit and proofread – give yourself time to do so!

Constructing a Business Report

To make sure that your business report is up to standard, make sure you include these following sections. A well-constructed report will give the reader confidence in your capabilities, whether it is from a personal or business point of view.

Title and Contents

After your title page, include your table of contents and list of figures. The table of contents should be in as much detail as possible, including page numbers of each subheading where possible. Your list of figures will contain a list of where to find specific charts and pictures throughout the report.

Abstract and Summary

It is crucial to include an abstract at this point in your report. This will be the section that the reader looks at first, in order to decide whether to carry on reading the report, or not. It must be concise and clear, bringing to light key points within the business case or report, to draw in the reader and entice them to read on.


After your abstract, start your report. Bring key issues or news to the reader’s attention. Give background to the context of the report and scope of what the report entails.

Provide any other information around the topic which will set the scene for the reader, including any methodology used if including research. If you are using any special terms, define them.

Discussion of Results or Main Body of Text

Whatever the main information you are presenting in your report, it goes here.

Present it using headings and subheadings to make it clear and easy to read. Remember to use graphs, charts and visuals to explain and back up your points.

Recommendations and Conclusions

Whether you are reviewing the outcome of research or suggesting recommendations as part of a business case, they go here.  Link back to the main body of the text to reinforce your points.

After your recommendations, provide a definite conclusion. Bring your report to a close with punchy points that round it up and provide a clear end to the document.

References and Glossary

Be sure to include a comprehensive list of references showing any extra research from books, journals, previous reports.

Use a glossary to explain any jargon used.

If you have excluded any information from the main body but feel it may be useful to include for the reader to find out more, you can include it in the appendices. Make sure you refer to it in the text where relevant.

Close off with a signature or anything specific to your business or branding guidelines which is required with company documents.

How to Write an Annual Report

If you are tasked with writing an annual report, remember the audience. The focus is the shareholders, so they are most likely to be interested in the numbers. Here are some key points to consider when writing an annual report:

  • Focus on what you have done and why – what did you achieve from these actions?
  • Shout about successes relating to the company’s mission and values
  • If you have raised funds, what did they go into supporting?
  • Choose some case studies and give personal profiles of some key performers
  • Give an overview of the financials which isn’t too mind-boggling but also not too high-level
  • Include photos of the great things you’ve done in the community and events you’ve been to
  • Throughout the planning, keep asking yourself if it is relevant to the reader

In the design of the report, use snappy stand-out text to draw attention.

Know your reader. Do they prefer a hard copy or digital? Bear in mind if people will be reading it on mobile; is it optimised?

Fine-Tuning Your Report

Regardless of the type of business document you are creating, you will want to make sure that every point you make reads perfectly and that there are no dreaded typos. Remember, a computer cannot detect a numerical typo, so especially when checking financial information, look very carefully!

If you would like a second, or even third opinion once your colleagues have checked it, get in touch for an instant quote we are able to provide a personalised, comprehensive report proofreading service. Our professional proofreaders can check spelling, grammar, syntax and sentence structure, making sure that every element of your report is to the most professional and perfect standard it can be.