Meaning of Report
The word report stems from the Latin word ‘reportare’ meaning to carry back (re=back + portare= to carry). In this sense report is an account of something (heard, seen, done, and studied). Accordingly letters, memorandums and news items are also reports. Reports viewed in this way do not serve our purpose. To be helpful in the study of business communication, we must narrow and specify the definition. We are interested to get the report in a specific sense in which engineers, scientists, business executives and administrators have to write reports as part of their duty.
Thus a report may be defined as an organized statement of facts relating to a particular subject prepared after an investigation and presented to the interested persons with or without recommendations. Many scholars have attempted to define reports. Let us consider a few such definitions:
A report is an orderly and objective presentation of information that assists in decision making and problem solving.
A formal report presents in an organized from the information that has been requested by an authorized person.
A report is a communication from someone who has some information to someone who wants to use that information.
A technical report is a written statements of the facts of a situation, project, process or test, how these facts were ascertained; their significance, the conclusions that have been drawn from them; the recommendations that are being made.
Characteristics of Business Reports:
- Factual Information
- Specific Need
- Orderly Presentation
- Specific Audience
- Upward Direction
- Collaborative Effort
- Conventional Form
- Conclusion and Recommendation
A report is a statement of factual information. The basic ingredients of this factual information are events, records and the various forms of data. In no way its content is fictional. Personal opinion has no place in the report content except.
A report is written to meet a specific need. It is not an outburst of strong feelings nor it is written because of irresistible urge of the writer to unburden his/her heart.
Reports seek truth. Because reports contribute to decision making and problem solving, it must be as objective as possible.
Reports are logically organized so that the reader can locate the needed information quickly. An orderly presentation needs some care in the preparation of reports.
Reports are generally written form limited audience. This feature is particularly true for the reports, which travel within an organization.
A report typically moves upward in the organization structure. Its direction is upward because it is written after being requested by the higher authority. The report is submitted to the higher authority.
In the smart organization today report writers often work together. Report writing is hardly a solitary activity.
A report mentions the procedure of collecting data, sources and the significance of such data.
A report is presented in a more or less conventional form. This means that you have no option to write a report in any way you like.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
A report contains conclusions drawn from the findings and often recommendations.
Purpose of Reports:
A business report generally aims at informing, analyzing or recommending.
One of the basic purposes of report is to present information facts and events surrounding a particular situation. Information needed to conduct business properly is conveyed through a report.
Analyzing: Analyzing data is another purpose of a report. The collected data by themselves may not be useful unless they are put into interpretation. This job of interpreting data is achieved in a report. Thus when a report is prepared through interpreting the data, it becomes meaningful to the readers.
Business report not only do the task of informing and analyzing but do the task of recommending a specific course of action also to solve a problem. A specified course of action is determined through interpreting the collected data.
Importance of Reports:
- Decision Making Tools
- Planning and Evaluating
- Critical Evaluation
- Quick Location
- Development of Skill
- Career Development
- Professional Advancement
Decision Making Tools:
Today’s complex business organizations feed on information. Reports are covey the needed information. A large number of important decisions in business or any other area are taken on the basis of information presented or recommendations made in the reports. Decision making suffers in the absence of accurate and timely reports.
Whenever a complex problem develops in the organization, and invites investigation and needs interpretation of the situation; a committee or a study group is engaged to enquire into the problems and to present its findings with or without recommendations in the form of a report.
Planning and Evaluating:
A report is also important in the sense that the skill of report writing is as essential as good equipment and quality raw material.
Today’ large scale organizations are engaged in multifarious activities employing thousands of employees, many of whom are specialists in particular fields of operations. It is not possible for a single top executive to keep personal watch on what others are doing. So the executive has to depend on reports from the various departments.
There is no denying the fact that executives need information in order to make decision, and the vital source of this information is reports.
Development of Skill:
Report writing skill develops in you the power of differentiation, organization, judgment and communication.
The most convincing evidence of the importance of report writing comes from researchers. Several research studies were conducted to determine what business subjects are most significant in training for careers in business.
Reports also play a vital role in professional advancement. For promotion to the rank and file position, your satisfactory job performance is enough to help you.