Lesikar, Flatley, and Rentz (2008) define a business report as “an orderly and objective communication of factual information that serves a business purpose” (p. 292). There are three kinds of reports: informational, analytical, and proposals. Each type of report is different, but they have many things in common.
The informational report is designed to deliver information to its audience. This kind of report is often short and informal, but it must remain clear and concise (Lesikar, et al., 2008). An example of an informational report is the sales results for a catalog (Intelligent design, 2007). A sales results report does not try to do anything other than inform the reader. If some sort of conclusion is required, then an analytical report is necessary.
The analytical report can be seen as an extension of the informational report. It utilizes the same information gathering techniques as the informational report, but also analyzes the data to answer a question not obvious in the information alone. Since the analytical report must still include the data from the informational report, it is often longer. If action is required beyond analysis, a proposal is appropriate (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
The culmination of the information gathering and analysis of the previous types of report is the proposal. The proposal must present the information and analysis related to the problem, and then go on to persuade the reader. The assumption is that the reader will have a different opinion than the writer, therefore the proposal is designed to change the reader’s mind. In this type of report, format and formality varies depending on the audience (Lesikar, et al., 2008). It has been suggested that internal proposals take on a more informal tone; inviting the reader to identify with the writer (Richardson, 1997). On the other hand, a grant proposal to secure funding for a charitable organization should remain formal (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
All of these reports have a few things in common. They all must gather and present information. In terms of content delivery, they all use a direct plan. All of these reports must be written in a clear and concise manner. The main difference between these reports is that the proposal goes beyond presenting facts and tries to persuade the reader. This is mainly a difference of tone, but it is an important difference (Lesikar, et al., 2008).
Intelligent design. (2007, May). Multichannel Merchant, 24(5), 19. Retrieved June 19, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1262709181).
Lesikar, R., Flatley, M., & Rentz, K. (2008). Business communication: Making connections in a digital world [Electrionic Version]. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Richardson, P. (1997, November). A winning proposition. Successful Meetings, 46(12), 106. Retrieved June 19, 2008, from Business Source Elite database.