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Report Writing Guide

General Business Writing | Report Writing | Business Books


How To Write a Report
Executive Summary

Resouces On This Website

How To Write a Report

Reports consist of the following elements:

Order in Report

Order Written

Executive reads

  1. Executive Summary



  1. Contents



  1. Introduction

1 (Unless academic Report)


  1. Findings (Main Body)


If interested in research

  1. Conclusions


If surprised…

  1. Recommendations


Nearly always

  1. Bibliography / sources

2 Write as you research

If report shows area that needs further investigation

  1. Appendices

Anytime you find extra info.


1 Executive Summary

The executive summary should include a summary of all of the key points, the idea is that an executive can read the summary and if it appears logical and inline with expectations the recommendations can be followed without the need to read further.  This is in fact the most important part of the report and should be written last. The executive summary should include a summary of all parts of the report including recommendations. 

Writing Order: Written after the rest of the report (But before the contents page)

Email Tip:  If you are sending the report via email, include the executive summary in the main part of your Email, so that a busy executive doesn’t have to read an attachment to read the main points.

2 Contents

The Contents of the report should be consistently laid out throughout the report and you should include both page numbers and title numbers.  In this example we look at the transport requirements for sales people:

3 Introduction / Terms of Reference

The introduction should say why the report is being written.  Reports are nearly always written to solve a business problem. Reports maybe commissioned because there is a crisis or they maybe routine.   Nearly all reports in some way answer the age-old business problem, how can we increase profits?

Writing Order: Often written first, but maybe refined at anytime. (In Business studies courses this could be done later, because the exact business problem may not be given by the lecturer.)

4 Findings / Main Body

Sometimes reports don’t say Findings, but it is normally assumed that the main part of your report will be the information you have found.  

This information is not always read by executives, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important, because without thorough research and analysis the author will not be able to come to effective conclusions and create recommendations.  Also if anything in the executive summary surprises the executive, then they will turn directly to the relevant part of the recommendations. 

Writing Order: This is normally written after the 1st draft of the introduction.

5 Conclusions

The conclusions should summarize the Findings section, do not include diagrams or graphs in this area. This area should be short, clearly follow the order of the findings and lead naturally into the recommendations. 

You should never include new information in the conclusions!

Writing Order: Written after the Findings

6 Recommendations

All reports should include recommendations or at least suggestions. It is important to make sure that there is at least an indicator of what the Return on Investment would be.  It is always best if this can be directly linked, but may not always be possible.

Make sure that your recommendations clearly follow what is said in the conclusions

Tip: if you don’t have any ideas suggest a brainstorming meeting and invite the relevant people.

Writing Order: After the Conclusions

Resources on this Website

reportsebookGuide To Report Writing

Guide To Report Writing (323KB PDF)
Our 12 page guide includes: Comprehensive guide to reports, Reading comprehension exercises, A sample report, Guided writing exercises, Matching exercises, Return On Investment Definition, Answers and Teacher's notes. The questions can also be used for the Cambridge University BEC Vantage examination.


Report Writing Skills

  • Mindmaps
    How to use mindmaps effectively for planning (Any level)

  • Referencing system
    Reference your sources properly for reports (Pre-intermediate+)

  • Business Location Exercise (129KB PDF)
    An exercise on location that encourages students to use the Internet to find out about options for locating in China. Includes vocabulary exercises and briefing sheet.

  • Simple Example Report (81KB PDF)
    Simple informal report with introduction, findings, conclusion and recommendations. Ideal for students studying UK ASDAN awards. (Intermediate+)

  • Presenting Graphical information (52KB PDF)
    Exercise in reading and then summarising the information and using graphs where appropriate. Useful to combine with Excel skills. Level: Intermediate+

  • Graph-writing guide (136KB PDF)
    This based on IELTs, but it useful for all people who need to describe graphs and figures and includes sample question, key-vocab, guided wriitng exercise, sample answer and teaching ideas. All designed with black and white printers in mind

  • Graphs Advanced Vocab (79KB PDF)
    An exercise to build vocabulary for IELTs task 1 when describing graphs.

  • Summarising text (36KB PDF)
    You have been given the task of summarising. Also combines well with a lesson in planning. Level: Intermediate+

  • Report Writing Exercise (53KB PDF)
    Choosing a suitable printer Level: Intermediate+

  • Writing Proposals (103KB PDF)
    This guide is designed for students taking the Cambridge Advanced Examination, but is equally applicable to real-life business.






Plain English Campaign
Excellent report writing guide.

Technical Report Writing
A simple clean site that gives you the basics of technical reports.

I'd recommend Bowden's book on Report Writing