20 Types of Reports and When to Use Them (Plus Templates)

Updated on November 21, 2023 · Published on
types of reports featured image

If the many types of business reports make you want to scream, you’re not alone.

It can get overwhelming – from internal reports about sales activities to reports you must submit for external collaborators. 

However, the reality of modern business is that they require several business report types to achieve success. 

Unito report revealed that over 75% of respondents said reports provide valuable insights almost every time.

The chances are high that you’ve had to write certain types of reports, whether you realize it or not. Irrespective of your role, you’ll likely need to write reports, whether occasionally or once in a while.

And to ensure you’re writing the appropriate report for specific situations, you need to recognize the different types of reports and how to write them.

Below, you’ll discover an exhaustive list of business report types, what they do, and when you need them, plus examples and templates. 

Let’s get into it. 

Table of contents

Make beautiful, engaging reports with Piktochart. Try it for free.

What is report writing? 

Do you remember those report cards you received at the end of every school session? The details of how well you perform academic and extracurricular activities during the year.

This is what reports do. 

Reports are documents detailing the results or findings from a process, project, or investigation. They can also refer to a well-detailed analysis of specific data sets or situations.

In business communications, report writing is the process of preparing formal documents that elaborate on a specific topic. Report writing often uses facts, tables, graphs, charts, diagrams, etc., to explain its findings for easy comprehension.

Since any report aims to educate and inform through scientific research, preparing the perfect report focusing on the target audience is crucial. Some reports also present available options and recommendations based on their findings.

20 types of reports, examples, and templates 

While businesses use numerous types of reports, these are the most common ones we’ve seen used almost daily.

1. Formal report

Formal reports often carry objective information that is in-depth and straight to the point without personal references. These reports require careful structuring based on the organization’s style and purpose.

Formal report classification includes accounting reports, functional reports, and other lengthy reports.

employee compensation formal report template cover
This template has ten report pages that you can edit and customize

2. Informal report 

Informal reports are the opposite of a formal reports. It lacks strict structuring, contains short messages, and uses casual language.

Businesses intending to pass quick critical information often use informal reports. Informal reports pay more attention to fast and effective communication than formal structuring.

Again, other types of informal reports fall into this category, including digital postings, emails, memo reports, and some forms of internal reports.

informal report fashion internal report template cover for informational reports
This template has 13 report pages that you can edit and customize

3. Audit report

An audit report is a formal report created by an auditor about the financial status of an organization. Audit reports are written using generally accepted auditing standards.

However, these formats may vary slightly depending on the audit’s circumstances. An example is an end-of-the-year audit report for an organization.

internal audit report template cover example of informational reports
This template has seven report pages that you can edit and customize

4. Marketing report

Marketing reports give detailed information about marketing campaigns, from on-ground to social media campaigning. They are used for monitoring marketing activities and informing about marketing strategies that work or require improvements.

social media report template cover
This template has 11 report pages that you can edit and customize

5. Progress or periodic report

Progress reports, or periodic reports, are generated at specific intervals. Depending on the needs for the performance reports, they could be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reports or they may even use regularly scheduled dates. 

Progress reports are used to supply progress or performance information. Other business report types could also qualify as periodic reports if they are made available at intervals. 

Examples of progress reports include analytical reports, Google analytics reports, and inventory reports.

progress report template cover for formal reports, informal reports, marketing reports and external reports
This template has four report pages that you can edit and customize

6. Trend report

Sometimes called trend analysis reports, trend reports analyze everyday business operations and compare them to forecasts.

This report helps businesses discover recent industry trends and how they can benefit organizations. They also reveal important details about marketing campaigns and tell you the reach of your messages and their influences on marketing.

Examples include Google Analytics reports, surveys, and statistical reports.

annual trends report template cover for formal reports and external reports
This template has 11 report pages that you can edit and customize

7. Analytical report

Analytical reports have gained prominence in recent years due to the growing importance of business data analysis. 

The last few years have seen data analysis ingrained as part of standard business practices, and the industry expects to reach $68 billion in annual revenue by 2025.

Organizations leverage data-driven insights that make analytical reports one of the most common reports used. Analytical reports can suggest recommendations to improve businesses by leveraging data insights to evaluate performance.

financial analysis report template cover for formal reports and external reports

8. Evaluation report

When an organization rolls out products, services, campaigns, or processes, it must evaluate the success periodically or after the program.

An evaluation report documents a product’s effectiveness if a service meets expectations or if a campaign is successful.

Evaluation reports also highlight findings and make recommendations based on the performance. It is a formal, in-depth report, sometimes including background information, definitions, results, forecasts, and recommendations.

This report can assist with the decision-making process and show transparency to stakeholders.

evaluation report template cover for performance reviews on same organization level or other evaluation
This template has 10 report pages that you can edit and customize

9. Client report

Since businesses deal with clients, they need a client report detailing their relationship with each client and their work activities. Client reports clarify projects’ progress and help the business make management decisions.

Client reports are created and delivered according to the agreed time frame. For example, it could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. This makes the report a periodic report.

Meetings and discussions with clients could also accompany it to explain the content. As a result, client reporting helps a business build trust.

client report template cover for justification reports starting with an executive summary
This template has 10 report pages that you can edit and customize

10. Sales report

The sales department reports a business’ sales performance to executives and the board through the sales reports. Members of the sales team could also make a sales report for other group members or the team manager.

A sales report details the performance of a business for a specified period. They can also reveal happenings on the field to inform decisions.

This type of report highlights sales volume, revenue from the sales, leads, etc. They may be used to set key performance indicators or formulate an entire business target.

Examples of sales reports include periodic reports that track sales performance for the specified period. For instance, a weekly or monthly sales report will detail sales, revenue, leads, and other metrics for the specified time periods.

sales report template for expense reports, weekly reports and more
This template has nine report pages that you can edit and customize

11. Proposal report

Businesses go into partnerships and other forms of business relationships. But before this happens, they establish the specifics of the relationship through a proposal report.

Proposal reports are official documents highlighting how a business intends to help another.

Proposal reports are sent in response to a Request for Proposal or RFP. They contain specific steps the business will undertake to assist the recipient business.

Since a company usually receives business proposals from many businesses, aim for thorough and precise proposal reports.

digital marketing proposal template cover
This template has ten report pages that you can edit and customize

12. Survey report 

Survey reports are documents that help a business highlight the findings from a survey. It does its best to summarize the responses of a survey and objectively present the information while using visuals like tables, graphs, charts, and infographics to make reports easy to read.

survey report template cover for problem solving reports via survey results
This template has 6 report pages that you can edit and customize

13. Research report

Research reports are documents created to communicate the findings from the research – whether business or scientific – related to the company. Experts in the field usually do it. Sometimes, a research report can uncover information requiring urgent attention.

The content in a research report includes the research process, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and limitations.

It will inform a business about essential market needs they need to attend to and how their products or service affects the public. For example, some social media platforms are looking into how they influence young people.

SDG report template cover for long reports and feasibility reports
This template has ten report pages that you can edit and customize

14. Financial report

Financial reports and budget reports are often used interchangeably, but they are not necessarily the same.

Production and finance departments are typically in charge of these reports. Financial reports are formal documents that explain a business’s financial status and performance. Examples of budget reports include weekly or monthly financial reports that detail the economic activities for the period specified.

On the other hand, budget reports are concerned with the pre-set budget conditions and how they compare with the company’s financial situation. They help businesses make proper financial decisions and can be used to compare milestones over a specific period.

corporate financial review template for long reports and feasibility reports
This template has 11 report pages that you can edit and customize

15. Incident report

Although businesses put measures to prevent accidents and other undesirable incidents, they can still happen in the workplace. And when these incidents occur, additional steps may be required to avoid a reoccurrence. An incident report is an informational report that details the facts of an incident.

Incident reports may also reveal unusual occurrences, safety and health issues, security breaches, near misses, damage, etc.

It highlights the cause, exact occurrence, and ways to prevent incidents in the future. Specific industries like insurance companies and security agencies may also require them.

incident report template cover for business reports
This template has 3 report pages that you can edit and customize

16. Project report

Also known as a project health report, project reports help the organization give information about specific projects.

Businesses generally embark on projects, and making reports about each allows them to track progress and assess performance effectively.

Project reports contain the objectives, which can help ensure compliance from everyone overseeing the project. Such reports also make it easy for stakeholders to give feedback, edit, assess financial requirements, and implement necessary actions.

marketing project template cover for marketing report can also bw used for business reports
This template has four report pages that you can edit and customize

17. Annual report

Annual reports are comprehensive longer reports that give in-depth details about a business in the preceding year. It details the financial statements and achievements for the specific year. 

They could qualify as external reports since many organizations release their annual reports to the public. In some instances, releasing annual reports may be a mandate for some businesses.

However, companies mainly design annual reports to review the company’s business during the year. They help stakeholders become aware of the performance and inform shareholders and others about the financial performance.

annual report template cover, less than ten pages annual budget reports and more
This template has eight report pages that you can edit and customize

18. Lateral report

Vertical and lateral reports are terms used when referring to the direction of a report. Compared to other reports, lateral reports describe those that move between members at the same organizational level.

Examples of these types of reports are informational reports exchanged between team managers, short reports between members of a team, or comprehensive reports between departments.

talent management and recruitment template cover wih ten pages
This template has ten report pages that you can edit and customize

19. Vertical report 

Vertical reports comprise a document prepared in a report form shared between different organizational hierarchies. It could be from a higher level to a lower level or vice versa.

Examples include business reports from employees members of an executive team or managers to their team members.

vertical reports team progress report template cover, single report for management control
This template has 7 report pages that you can edit and customize

20. Event report

Businesses organize many events, and event reports analyze each event’s success.

Event managers prepare these short reports and work by comparing event results to the set goals. It determines an event’s success and serves as a blueprint for future events.

event report template cover for formal reports, types of reports example
This template has 9 report pages that you can edit and customize

Make beautiful, engaging, and different types of reports with Piktochart 

Understanding the different types of reports is crucial to using them for the growth and organization of your business. 

Not only report vital, but they can also help a business identify pain points and forecast future occurrences when appropriately used.

However, this isn’t always the case because many business report types often confuse employees and owners.

The way out is to use report-writing tools like Piktochart. Piktochart is an all-in-one business communication tool that helps businesses create reports, presentations, infographics, and various other business designs.

Pick a template, input your data, and watch your report come alive. Writing reports will be a breeze once you work from professional templates. Create a free Piktochart account to get started now!

Jessica La