22 Types of Reports

22 Types of Reports

There are different types of business reports used in the business world. These have evolved due to convenience and effectiveness. Different situations call for various types of information in different forms to serve different purposes in various managerial decision-making situations.

In the intricate business world, reports play a pivotal role in conveying information, insights, and implications. These documents, varying in form and function, are the bedrock of informed decision-making. This article will delve into the multifaceted nature of business reports, exploring their categorization based on different criteria such as formality, length, function, form, subject, and the people involved.

Types of Reports on The Basis of Formality

Formality in reporting refers to the level of professionalism and adherence to established structures and conventions. It dictates the tone, structure, and purpose of the report, distinguishing between formal and informal communication within and outside an organization.

Formal Report

Formal reports are comprehensive documents that adhere to established conventions and structures. They are typically used to convey in-depth information and are characterized by a meticulous approach to detail, often including an executive summary, introduction, methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Formal reports are instrumental in scenarios requiring thorough analysis and are often used for audits, research studies, and evaluations.

A formal report is one prepared according to an established procedure for a prescribed authority. It contains all the essential parts of a long or analytical report. Sometimes it may have a limited number of parts depending on the situation.

When presented as a statutory requirement, it is called a statutory report. Formal reports not required by law but prepared to help the management in framing policies or making other important decisions are called non-statutory reports.

Informal Report

In contrast, informal reports are more concise and flexible in structure. They are used for routine communication and updates within an organization. Memos, emails, and short updates exemplify informal reports, which are characterized by their brevity and simplicity, making them suitable for internal communications and quick information dissemination.

Types of Reports on The Basis of Length

The length of a report is a crucial determinant of its structure, detail, and purpose. It distinguishes between concise documents meant for quick information dissemination and comprehensive reports designed for in-depth analysis and exploration.

Short Report

Short reports are succinct documents designed to convey information efficiently. They are often used for routine updates, brief analyses, and progress summaries. The concise nature of short reports makes them easily digestible, catering to the fast-paced environment of the business world.

A short report consists of only a few pages and the report text. It includes an introduction, body (discussion or text), and a concluding section (summary, conclusions, recommendations).

The short report may be organized in either the direct or indirect order, although the direct order is by far the more common plan. The mechanics of constructing a short report are the same as those for a long report. The report uses the same form of a title page and the same layout requirements.

Long Report

Long reports, on the other hand, provide an extensive exploration of a subject. They are comprehensive and detailed, often incorporating various sections such as literature review, methodology, analysis, and recommendations. Long reports are typically employed for in-depth research, project evaluations, and detailed analyses.

Types of Reports on The Basis of Function

Function refers to the primary purpose and utility of the report. It categorizes reports based on whether they are meant to inform, interpret, analyze, or recommend, thereby serving as a guide to the reader’s expectations and the author’s approach.

Informative Report

Informative reports aim to present facts and data without delving into analysis or interpretation. They serve as a repository of information, providing the reader with a clear and objective overview of the subject matter. Examples include statistical reports, inventory lists, and progress updates.

An informal report is prepared informally to inform management about any organizational matters that may arise during day-to-day operations.

Usually, it takes the form of face-to-face communication. An informal report is submitted in the form of a letter or memorandum. It may range from a short, almost fragmentary statement of facts to a single page, to a more developed presentation of facts spanning several pages.

An informative report is a concise report with the central purpose of providing information and summarizing it.

Thus, it is called an informational report. This report varies widely in content, depending on the type of business, purpose, topics discussed, and readers’ needs. It is generally prepared in letter or memo form. To prepare an effective informational report, consider the following guidelines:

  • Be aware of the purpose: Offer recommendations only when they are wanted.
  • Know how to conclude: Summarize and conclude as needed.
  • Use neutral, unbiased language: Be non-judgmental in your language, employing persuasive words and sentences when necessary.

Interpretative Report

Interpretative reports go further by analyzing the presented information and drawing conclusions. They are designed to provide insights, interpretations, and recommendations, aiding decision-making processes. Examples of interpretative reports are feasibility studies, evaluation reports, and analysis documents.

Interpretative reports are short reports, also called analytical or investigative reports. They contain information and analysis of the causes of deviations, defects, problems, or unwanted situations. They may take the form of a memorandum or letter.

Types of Reports on The Basis of Form

The form of a report pertains to its format, structure, and mode of presentation. It determines how information is organized, presented, and communicated, thereby influencing the report’s accessibility, readability, and impact.

Letter Report

Letter reports are formatted as formal letters and are typically used for external communication. They are concise, focused, and are often employed to convey findings, recommendations, or updates to clients, stakeholders, or other organizations.

Memorandum Report

Memorandum reports, or memo reports, are informal documents used for internal communication within an organization. They are brief and direct and are often employed to convey updates, instructions, or announcements to employees.

Form Report

Form reports follow a standardized template, ensuring consistency and uniformity. They are often used for routine documentation such as incident reports, inspection reports, and progress reports.

Field Report

Field reports document observations, findings, and insights gathered from fieldwork. They are essential in research studies, surveys, and investigations, providing a detailed account of real-world experiences and observations.

Fact Finding Report

Fact-finding reports are investigative documents that uncover the truth about a specific issue or subject. They are thorough and objective and are often used in audits, investigations, and research.

Laboratory Report

Laboratory reports document experiments, tests, and analyses conducted in a lab setting. They are characterized by a structured format detailing the experiment’s purpose, methodology, findings, and conclusions.

Library Report

Library reports provide an overview of library activities, usage, and resources. Library libraries use them to document acquisitions, circulation, and patron engagement, aiding in library management and development.

Types of Reports on The Basis of Subject

Subject-based categorization revolves around the primary topic or field of study that the report addresses. It helps in identifying the domain of knowledge, expertise, and interest that the report pertains to, thereby guiding its content, audience, and application.

Engineering Report

Engineering reports detail the findings and recommendations of engineering projects and studies. They cover various engineering disciplines, providing insights into design, development, testing, and evaluation.

Economic Report

Economic reports analyze economic conditions, trends, and developments. They are essential for policymakers, economists, and businesses, providing insights into market dynamics, economic indicators, and fiscal policies.

Sales Report

Sales reports provide a comprehensive overview of sales performance, detailing sales figures, targets, and trends. They are instrumental for sales teams and management, aiding in strategy development and performance evaluation.

Survey Report

Survey reports present the findings of surveys and questionnaires. They detail the methodology, participant demographics, responses, and conclusions, providing insights into public opinion, market trends, and consumer behavior.

Project Report

Project reports document the progress, performance, and outcomes of a project. They are essential for project management, providing stakeholders with insights into project development, challenges, and achievements.

Performance Report

Performance reports evaluate the performance of individuals, teams, or organizations. They detail achievements, challenges, and areas for improvement, aiding in performance management and development.

Technical Report

Technical reports provide detailed information on technical subjects, processes, or developments. Their depth of detail characterizes them and are often used in scientific, technological, and industrial fields.

Types of Reports on The Basis of People Involved

The people involved in the creation of a report play a significant role in determining its perspective, depth, and collaborative nature. This categorization distinguishes between individual reports and those produced by committees or groups.

Committee Report

Committee reports are collaborative documents produced by a group or committee. They detail the committee’s findings, discussions, and recommendations, providing a collective perspective.

Individual Report

As the name suggests, individual reports are authored by a single individual. They provide a personalized perspective and are often used for self-assessment, reflection, and individual research.


In their myriad forms and functions, business reports are indispensable tools in the corporate world. They facilitate communication, inform decision-making, and document progress and performance. Understanding the diverse types of reports and their respective purposes is essential for effective business communication and operations.