How to Format a Professional Report to the Board of Directors

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The board of directors uses reports to make decisions.
The board of directors uses reports to make decisions. (Image: Noel Hendrickson/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Preparing a report for your organization's board of directors can be intimidating. A well-formatted report for executive management consists of three major sections: the executive summary, research and analysis of alternatives, and recommendations. Before you begin to write, review the organization's existing reports to research the topic. Annual reports are useful for summarizing general information. Financial statements and strategic plans will help you evaluate the risks and benefits of a proposed change on the organization.

Write the first paragraph of the report as an executive summary by updating management on the goals achieved since the last report and summarize any upcoming challenges for the organization. Explain how the information in the report can be used to address current issues with sales, customers and members of the public.

Present alternatives and discuss the benefits and risks of each option. If available, include the cost of each alternative and how long each will take to implement. Cite where the data or research came from, but do not include lengthy details. Write a separate paragraph for each alternative.

Write the closing paragraph of the report by making one or more recommendations to the board. Provide the name of a staff member contact if the board has follow up questions or needs additional information.

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