When was the last time you were asked to write a report? Perhaps at the time of your annual appraisal, when you had to prepare a performance report. But that’s not the only type of report that you have to deal with at your workplace.
There are periodic proposals, lateral reports, and so on. If you don’t want to be caught off-guard in case your manager asks you to prepare a report, it is better to familiarize yourself with the various types of reports that are used at the workplace.
An easy way to do so is to go through the unique SCQR—Situation, Complication, Question, and Resolution—Framework of report writing that is part of Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course.
We explain the different types of reports to give you an idea before you do the course.
Remember creating project reports during school and college days? You were given or had to choose a topic, had to research it, and present your claims and findings in detail in a creative manner.
But do you think college project reports, appraisal reports, and sales reports that your manager asks you to create can have similar structures? No, they will, in fact, have drastically different structures and each type of report will have to be dealt with differently.
Every report has unique characteristics that define its type. But then why is it important to classify them into different types? One reason is the fact that every report has a unique purpose, and knowing which type of report to use will help you serve that purpose as well as solve a particular business case.
Here are the various types of reports that are generally used:
Long and short reports:
As the names suggest, these reports are characterized based on their lengths. A two-page report or memorandum is a short report, while a 30-page report is certainly long. The longer reports are among the types of report writing that have a formal style.
Formal and informal reports:
Formal reports are meticulously designed documents that focus on the objectives of the organization. Think of annual audit reports. Formal reports are detailed and you won’t find any personal pronouns in these reports. On the other hand, informal reports, such as internal memorandums, are usually short and written in casual language.
Vertical and lateral reports:
These reports are characterized based on the hierarchy within organizations. For example, a report for the management or mentees is a vertical report, meant for the entire section or department across the hierarchies.
Lateral reports focus on the coordination between different departments and units in the organization. For example, the reports that are meant for, say, both the finance and administration departments are lateral.
As the name suggests, periodic reports are regularly sent out on pre-scheduled dates. In most cases, periodic reports focus on upward hierarchy, so you can also identify them as vertical reports.
These reports often serve the management to keep the business processes and activities in control. Some annual reports mandated by the government, though not vertical, are considered periodic reports.
Some other examples of periodic reports are quarterly, half-yearly, or annual reports. As these are created at a predetermined frequency, you will find a pre-set structure for these reports. So, the next time you are asked to create a periodic report, ask your manager for the pre-set structure. You would only need to fill the current data every time.
Have you ever heard of analytical or problem-solving reports? Proposal reports are usually an extension of these kinds of reports. While there are all kinds of reports, there are some that are solution-oriented. Such kinds of reports can be identified as proposal reports. These reports usually describe how the organization can provide a solution to specific problems.
Functional reports might be easier for you to recognize. These types of reporting include financial and accounting reports, marketing reports, and other reports that focus on specific business functions.
Once you know the basics of report writing and its types, the next step is to learn how to write a report. Harappa Education’s Writing Proficiently course lets you develop and improve different writing skills, which can lead you to better job opportunities and create a successful career.
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