We’ve all had the experience of reading reports and unfortunately perhaps, too few that epitomise effective report writing. Most are flawed as the result of being poorly conceived, structured, written or presented.
Generally reports are intended to inform, and prompt a decision or action. They typically present findings from the analysis of data relating to operations, performance, processes, or research and use that analysis to make informed recommendations that should assist with a decision or action.
Some reports like quarterly or annual reports may be required by law or be part of an organization’s internal policy for measuring and managing their performance. Other reports may be designed to shed light on a specific issue. For example topics might be: the restructuring of an organization or an individual department within it; or the case for a review of policy or business strategy; or a new marketing strategy and its’ impacts; or cost-benefit-risk analysis of outsourcing IT support; or the impacts of new supplier contracts on operational costs; or a proposal for a research and development project.
Reports may be for internal or external consumption. They can be as short as three or four pages or hundreds of pages long. Writing an effective report is achievable with a clear understanding of the report’s purpose and its’ audience, the use of an appropriate format or template, a focussed and unambiguous writing style, and meticulous attention to editing. The following link at Wikihow takes you to an e-manual that covers basic report writing principles. You will begin to look more critically at, and therefore learn from, any reports you have access to in the future. If you plan to make report writing the accomplishment that takes your career forward, this could be the beginning of your journey.