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The Planning Processes for Informational and Analytical Reports

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  • 0:03 Business Reporting
  • 0:54 Informational Reports
  • 3:24 Analytical Reports
  • 6:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Informational and analytical reports each have a specific planning process to allow the writer to demonstrate an understanding of a business problem. This lesson explains the differences between the two reports.

Business Reporting

Business reporting is an essential part of any planning process in the workplace as it consists of providing data and information to specific audiences. Examples of business reports include financial plans, customer service reviews and marketing research results. In this lesson, you will learn how to differentiate between the planning processes that are needed to create informational and analytical reports. Both types of reports can vary in length due to the purpose of the writing. Reports can range from just a page to hundreds of pages.

Fred Factoid's job at Crazi Toys is to provide managerial reports to the executives regarding different toy products. Let's take a look at Fred's workday to understand the two different types of reports.

Informational Reports

Informational reports provide data, facts, feedback and other types of information without analysis or recommendations. Fred provides numerous informational reports to upper management on a weekly basis. As an example, we are going to look at one specific report and follow the plan Fred used to create an effective message. His latest job assignment is to provide a report on how much the total cost would be for a Personal Robot Toy. This is the planning process that he follows:

The first step is to analyze the situation by examining why you are creating the report and what you plan on delivering for the audience. It is important to identify the problem and purpose of your report. Fred has analyzed the robot toy line idea and has identified the problem: How much money will the company need to launch the new toy line? The purpose of the report is usually worded as 'to inform,' 'to persuade,' 'to investigate,' etc. Fred's report purpose is to inform the executive board how much the new robot toy line will cost the company from development to launch.

Gathering information is the second step to informational report planning. Fred collects specific information that is necessary to complete the report and satisfy his audience. In this instance, he has retrieved a vast amount of financial data on the robot product line.

After collecting the appropriate information, the next step is to analyze the information to look for trends and relationships in data. Trends are repetitive patterns, such as growth or decline data over time. Fred needs to analyze financial data to determine the total cost of the product. He spent time importing data into spreadsheets and adding totals to determine the final cost.

Fred's next step is to draw conclusions about the information analysis. In this instance, Fred needs to imply or infer findings based on the analysis of the data. Fred believes that based on the financial data crunching, the robot product line will be too costly to produce for the company to make a significant profit. Since this is an informational report, Fred will not include a recommendations section. He will submit the report with the final financial results and let the executives determine the plan of action.

Analytical Reports

There is another type of business reporting that is used to make decisions. Analytical reports offer both information and analysis, but they also include recommendations. Offering recommendations is the biggest difference between informational and analytical reporting. Fred's next task is to provide an analytical report on the marketing research results for the robot toy line.

The first step in planning an analytical report is also to analyze the situation by identifying the problem and purpose of the paper. Analytical reports have a more detailed purpose statement since the result of the paper should lead to extensive recommendations. Fred's problem is to understand the customer's view of the new product idea. The purpose of the report is to analyze the marketing research survey results and determine customer perceptions, suggestions and acceptance of the new robot product line, while offering specific recommendations to modify the product before launch.

The second step in analytical reporting is also gathering of information to be able to provide an analysis of the problem. The end result is making excellent recommendations, so it is vital that the correct kind and amount of information is selected. In some instances, the information may not be readily available, which will lead to an entirely separate research project to acquire it. In Fred's analytical report, the marketing research survey results have already been collected. He is easily able to gather the information needed for his assessment.

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