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What You Can Learn From a Car History Report

what is a report means

When you buy a used car, you don?t know what you?re getting. The car?s current driver might be a senior citizen who never takes it over 50 miles per hour but that doesn?t mean the car?s been looked after correctly. Perhaps the sensible driver you think you?re buying from consistently failed to put oil into the motor or water into the radiator. The point is that you don?t know what you?re getting unless you?re an expert on cars but if you get a car history report, at least you?ll buy with confidence.

History Report

To get a car history report you need to know the vehicle?s Vehicle Identification Number or VIN number. That?s normally displayed in the windshield or in on the driver’s side door jamb so you can take a note of it when you check out cars you?re interested in. You can get free reports so there?s no reason not to take this small precaution before buying a car, even if you?re buying it from a used car lot or someone you know.

Accident Damage

Vehicle history reports, which are sometimes referred to as Carfax reports, give details about all of the car?s past owners, its mileage and its title status but the car?s accident history is perhaps the most important information it offers. The report uses information gathered from state motor vehicle departments, repair shops, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies around the country. It shows if the airbags have been deployed and if there?s ever been structural damage to the car.

Title History

The title history can tell you a lot about a car, for example, if it spans several states over a short period of time, it might indicate a problem with the car that the owner?s tried to hide. It might not, but it pays to be careful. The other thing to look out for is a branded title. If a car is involved in an accident and it?s not economically viable to repair, the insurance company will declare it a total loss. It will be branded ?salvage? if it?s fixed up and re-titled. Being aware of that could save you money if you go ahead with the purchase.

Odometer Reading

The overall condition of the car and the price are more important than the miles it?s covered but if the report tells you the car?s covered more miles than the odometer does, you?re looking at a used car you should walk away from. When there?s a change in ownership or during major services, the odometer will be read and that information is fed into the report. Thankfully, rolling back the odometer is harder now than ever before but it?s still possible.

Other Things

The report will also show you if there are any recalls open against it, where the car was inspected and registered, how many owners the car?s had, and when and where it was sold but there are lots of things it doesn?t tell potential owners. You?ll need to use your own experience to gauge the car?s mechanical condition, and the names of previous owners aren?t listed so if the current seller?s telling you he bought it from a grandma who hardly ever used it, you?ll need to judge that for yourself.


what is a report means

Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of report in English

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report verb ( TELL )

  • tell My friend told me you were looking for me.
  • let someone know Let me know if you'd like to come.
  • give Can you give the message to Jo?
  • communicate A 60-second TV commercial isn't always the best way to communicate a complex medical message.
  • inform The relatives of the injured have been informed of the accident.
  • notify The school has to notify parents if their children do not arrive at school.
  • Witnesses reported seeing a huge orange fireball as the oil refinery exploded .
  • Shortly before the crash the pilot had reported a malfunction of the aircraft's navigation system .
  • Her disappearance was reported to the police department's Missing Persons Bureau.
  • Do you have anything to report?
  • Several journalists have been killed or injured by stray bullets while reporting on the civil war .
  • dream sequence
  • narratively
  • omniscient narrator
  • paint a picture (of something) idiom
  • personalize
  • personification
  • world-building

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

report verb ( GO )

  • access code
  • be on the scene idiom
  • infiltration
  • roll up! idiom
  • set foot in somewhere idiom

Phrasal verbs

Report noun [c] ( description ).

  • The report contains numerous demonstrable errors .
  • The prime minister issued a denial of the report that she is about to resign .
  • The content of her report is shrouded in secrecy .
  • We file these reports under country of origin .
  • The newspaper reports of the discussion only roughly approximated to what was actually said.
  • construction
  • impact assessment
  • impact statement
  • interpretation
  • job evaluation
  • prognosticate
  • prognostication
  • re-evaluation
  • value judgment

report noun [C] ( NOISE )

  • bang She slammed the door with a bang.
  • slam The window closed with a slam.
  • clash I can still hear the clash of metal against metal during the car crash.
  • clank My mechanic asked me to describe the clanks that my engine makes.
  • clang The jail door closed with a resounding clang.
  • thump He dropped his suitcase with a loud thump and sprinted up the steps.
  • bang around
  • tintinnabulation
  • white noise

report | American Dictionary

Report verb ( go somewhere ), report noun [c] ( tell ), report | business english, examples of report, collocations with report.

These are words often used in combination with report .

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Translations of report

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what is a report means

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  • report (TELL)
  • be reported to be/do something
  • report (GO)
  • report (DESCRIPTION)
  • report (NOISE)
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Definition of report

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Definition of report  (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

intransitive verb

  • thunderclap

Examples of report in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'report.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from reporter to bring back, report, from Latin reportare , from re- + portare to carry — more at fare

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Phrases Containing report

  • annual report
  • missing person report
  • progress report
  • report back
  • report stage
  • report sick
  • report card
  • self - report
  • report for duty

Articles Related to report


‘Rapport’ vs. ‘Report’

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Dictionary Entries Near report

Cite this entry.

“Report.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of report.

Kids Definition of report  (Entry 2 of 2)

Legal Definition

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More from Merriam-Webster on report

Nglish: Translation of report for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of report for Arabic Speakers

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an account or statement describing in detail an event, situation, or the like, usually as the result of observation, inquiry, etc.: a report on the peace conference; a medical report on the patient.

a statement or announcement.

a widely circulated statement or item of news; rumor; gossip.

an account of a speech, debate, meeting, etc., especially as taken down for publication.

a loud noise, as from an explosion: the report of a distant cannon.

a statement of a student's grades, level of achievement, or academic standing for or during a prescribed period of time.

Computers . output, especially printed, containing organized information.

a statement of a judicial opinion or decision, or of a case argued and determined in a court of justice.

reports, Law . a collection of adjudications.

repute; reputation; fame: a man of bad report.

to carry and repeat, as an answer or message; repeat, as what one has heard.

to relate, as what has been learned by observation or investigation.

to give or render a formal account or statement of: to report a deficit.

to send back (a bill, amendment, etc.) to a legislative body with a formal report outlining findings and recommendations (often followed by out ): The committee reported out the bill.

to make a charge against (a person), as to a superior: I intend to report him to the dean for cheating.

to make known the presence, condition, or whereabouts of: to report a ship missing.

to present (oneself) to a person in authority, as in accordance with requirements.

to take down (a speech, lecture, etc.) in writing.

to write an account of (an event, situation, etc.), as for publication in a newspaper.

to relate or tell.

to prepare, make, or submit a report of something observed, investigated, or the like.

to serve or work as a reporter , as for a newspaper.

to make one's condition or whereabouts known, as to a person in authority: to report sick.

to present oneself duly, as at a place: to report to Room 101.

Idioms about report

on report , Military . (of personnel) under restriction pending disciplinary action.

Origin of report

Other words for report, other words from report.

  • re·port·a·ble, adjective
  • non·re·port·a·ble, adjective
  • non·re·port·ed, adjective
  • o·ver·re·port, verb
  • pre·re·port, noun, verb
  • qua·si-re·port·ed, adjective
  • sub·re·port, noun
  • un·re·port·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·port·ed, adjective
  • well-re·port·ed, adjective

Words Nearby report

  • répondez s'il vous plaît
  • report card
  • reported clause
  • reported speech Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use report in a sentence

Developing and manufacturing vaccines, which are significant challenges in their own right, “won’t end the pandemic quickly unless we also deliver them equitably,” the report notes.

Separately, Yelp released a new local economic impact report this week.

He based his report on information from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

More importantly, notice that more than 70% of my impression volume comes from search terms that are not in the search query performance report .

Of the report ’s 11 recommendations, the first highlighted safety.

Then add in all bored people, as well as people whose job it is to report on celebrities.

Despite the strong language, however, the neither the JPO nor Lockheed could dispute a single fact in either Daily Beast report .

Did he go to the authorities to file a report against the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel?

The Amazon biography for an author named Papa Faal mentions both Gambia and lists a military record that matches the FBI report .

Similarly, a recent NPR report covered the challenges many police departments are having recruiting officers of color.

Most of my observations are in keeping with Skutch's detailed report of the species in Central America.

Aguinaldo withheld his decision until Paterno could report to him the definite opinions of his generals.

William has thus been happily able to report to the society the approaching conversion of M'Bongo and his imminent civilization.

At last the report of several rifles from the island of trees gave us a clue to the mystery.

Mrs. Charmington hastened to spread the report that his Royal Highness was seriously smitten.

British Dictionary definitions for report

/ ( rɪˈpɔːt ) /

an account prepared for the benefit of others, esp one that provides information obtained through investigation and published in a newspaper or broadcast

a statement made widely known; rumour : according to report, he is not dead

an account of the deliberations of a committee, body, etc : a report of parliamentary proceedings

British a statement on the progress, academic achievement, etc, of each child in a school, written by teachers and sent to the parents or guardian annually or each term

a written account of a case decided at law, giving the main points of the argument on each side, the court's findings, and the decision reached

comment on a person's character or actions; reputation : he is of good report here

a sharp loud noise, esp one made by a gun

to give an account (of); describe

to give an account of the results of an investigation (into) : to report on housing conditions

(of a committee, legislative body, etc) to make a formal report on (a bill)

(tr) to complain about (a person), esp to a superior : I'll report you to the teacher

(tr) to reveal information about (a fugitive, escaped prisoner, etc) esp concerning his whereabouts

(intr) to present oneself or be present at an appointed place or for a specific purpose : report to the manager's office

(intr) to say or show that one is (in a certain state) : to report fit

( intr foll by to ) to be responsible to and under the authority of : the plant manager reports to the production controller

(intr) to act as a reporter for a newspaper or for radio or television

law to take down in writing details of (the proceedings of a court of law) as a record or for publication

Derived forms of report

  • reportable , adjective

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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Definition of 'report'

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Report in american english, report in accounting, examples of 'report' in a sentence report, cobuild collocations report, trends of report.

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Lettering reporting in front of interconnected lines.

What is reporting?

By definition, reporting is primarily the means and measures to collect, process, store and present information within a company. Reporting is also about reducing the complex to the essential. Thus making data accessible in a simplified way for specific target groups and stakeholders. This can be both internal and external. To this end, information relating to the company and its environment is prepared in the form of reports, hence the term “reporting”. The type of reports can be varied, but tables and diagrams are often used for presentation. It is important that the data is made available to the users in a comprehensible and clear manner.

When it comes to reporting, we often refer to the terms controlling and monitoring. Most of the time, however, the distinction is not clear. This is because all three terms are frequently used synonymously. However, there are elementary differences here: Monitoring primarily involves the supervision of various processes and can, for example, trigger an alarm as a result. Reporting aims to provide information. Monitoring and reporting run parallel to each other and describe two different processes. Controlling , on the other hand, describes the management in the company and is based on the available data. Thus, reporting is the basis for controlling and is also assigned to this area.

Why is reporting important?

For controlling, and thus also for corporate management, it is essential that corporate data is well-prepared. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, reporting represents a transfer of knowledge within the company. Through efficient reporting, employees in other departments or in management positions, as well as top management, can quickly develop an understanding of business processes with which they are less familiar, since the data has been collected professionally beforehand and prepared in reports. Thus, reports reduce information loss in an organisation.

On the other hand, reporting is generally a good means of analysis in the company. It is the starting point for effective and efficient evaluations, on which the control and development of strategies are based. In this way, reports also directly support operational and strategic corporate management and decisions do not have to be made “on instinct”. For instance, a report can provide information on whether the marketing mix with concrete measures such as social media plans, website activities or the latest campaigns contributes to the achievement of goals and to what extent.

This is achieved since reports allow conclusions to be drawn about the published content and the associated user behaviour, as well as the general activities of the company over a longer period of time. This makes measures that are sometimes difficult to record quantifiable and qualifiable. Put simply, the questions “Does what I am doing make sense at all?” and “How successful am I?” can be answered in a substantiated way.

What needs to be included in a report?

Reporting can look different in each company, depending on what it is used for. Standard reports include types such as marketing reporting, financial reporting, sales reporting, management reporting, personnel reporting, purchasing reporting or IT reporting. Usually, these reports include areas such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements and other important key figures, e.g. from social media marketing. This creates a wealth of different ways for presentation. In order for a report to have a high informative value and to be useful to other stakeholders, it must fulfil certain criteria.

The reporting…

  • … should be tailored to the target group that works with it. All information must be correct in terms of content and understood by all persons. In addition, the reporting must be written from an objective point of view.
  • … must be consistent. To this end, the same terminology should always be used and the structure must not change.
  • … should be designed with one or more goals in mind. Clear steering information for the recipient can only be created against the background of the target formulation.
  • … must be quick and easy to create. Once the basic structure is in place, not much time should be spent on daily, weekly or monthly evaluations.
  • … may only contain the key performance indicators (KPIs) required for the goals. It is important to limit oneself to the essentials and not to depict all existing key figures.

Best practice: Reporting & analysis in the field of social media

In order to demonstrate this, an exemplary report of a fictitious, already existing user account now follows, with the Instagram platform serving as the basis. The abbreviation “KW” stands for the individual calendar week in the year. In this example, a report is created for the first time in week 1, which is why no metrics exist yet regarding the increase/decrease compared to the previous week (see “Increase in the last 7 days”).

The aim is to illustrate how a table-based report can look. However, the report is only a very simplified, reduced form of reporting and deals with the key performance indicators (KPIs) typical for social media: impressions , accounts reached , profile views , followers and engagement . As an additional evaluation and aid for later analysis, the percentage changes of the KPIs compared to the previous week are already calculated. This allows initial qualified statements to be made:

A tabular report on Instagram KPIs.

This table shows how the key figures have changed over a period of four calendar weeks. Almost all areas have risen continuously. This offers a first hint that the marketing measures used are effective. However, success ultimately depends on several factors and KPIs and is measured by the degree of target achievement . If the target in this example was an increase in reach (impressions + accounts reached) over the total duration of the four weeks, then this objective has been achieved.

Identifying events quickly

It is also noticeable that the number of followers dropped significantly in week 3 compared to the previous week, although the impressions, the accounts reached, the profile views and especially the engagement rate increased. Here it is worth taking a look at the published content. Maybe users didn’t like a post or there even was a shitstorm. In any case, such events affect the key figures and show up in the reporting at the latest.

The data table and the colour-coded fields clearly indicate that extremes, both positive and negative, often only show up with a certain time delay. For example, the effects from week 3 are only clearly visible in the table in week 4. Ideally, however, serious events such as a shitstorm should not first become apparent in the reporting.

Interpreting key figures correctly

Dips in key figures can also have causes other than your own content, both on social media and in other areas. For KPIs from Google, for example, website performance is usually the decisive factor. If Google launches a new update and changes its algorithm, it can happen that your own homepage is suddenly no longer indexed. This can also be reflected in poor figures in the reporting tool or system used:

Diagram showing the number of clicks on a website.

Google launched a core update in mid-November. In this example, the click numbers on the website have plummeted as a result.

Reporting with SharePoint and Microsoft 365

It’s beyond question that reporting is an important part of a company. However, the manual creation of reports can not only be tedious, but also time-consuming. Especially in large companies with a correspondingly high volume of data (keyword “Big Data”), it makes sense to manage this data in systems.

These so-called “reporting systems” are often embedded in document management systems (DMS) or enterprise resource planning systems (ERP systems) . Thus, these systems contain the data basis from which the reporting system can draw its information.

Visualising data with reporting systems

Reporting systems have the task of presenting the data collected in the organisation fully automatically and visually. This can be tables, as in our social media example, or diagrams and dashboards. These visualised data help to achieve more transparency, free up human resources and create a good, fact-based overview of the current business processes in the respective business areas. In addition, the problem of data silos is avoided, and all important information is taken into account.

Microsoft 365 offers a possibility to run automated reporting with its Power Platform . The business intelligence software (BI software) “Power BI” , which is available in Microsoft 365, is excellently suited for collecting data from different systems, such as ERP and DMS systems, preparing it and creating meaningful reports. These can then be made available to all users directly in SharePoint Online. Thus, it is possible, among other things, to display incoming orders, customer acquisitions, the planning of the business year and much more in SharePoint Online.

Creating reports easily in Shareflex

It’s easy to utilise data within the Shareflex solutions by Portal Systems with the help of Power-BI and process it in reports. All solutions within the Shareflex ECM Online product suite, ranging from contract and document management to incoming invoice processing , are based on SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365. If you’d like to know more about our solutions and reporting with Power-BI in Microsoft 365, please do not hesitate to contact us . We will help you find the right solutions to digitally support and advance your business.

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Hamburg, February 24, 2022

Author: Sara Glöckner

Category: Business Wiki

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  • What Is Reporting? A Definition, Common Tools, and More

If your whole organization fits in a single conference room, it’s pretty easy to get visibility on everyone’s projects. Just find the right person, tap them on the shoulder, and ask for an update. Doesn’t really work that way for everyone else. In most organizations, when a stakeholder wants actionable insights, they get them from a report.

Let’s dive into the discipline of reporting, common project management reports, the tools people use, and more.

What is reporting?

Here’s a quick definition of reporting: reporting covers the workflows you rely on to keep people in the loop. Exact workflows can and will vary depending on your teams, the size of your organization, and even your industry. In a tech company, a reporting workflow might focus on the conversion of free users to paid plans, while a construction company might use reporting to keep massive projects on budget and on time.

Think of “reporting” as an umbrella term. Within it are the actual tasks that go into creating and disseminating your reports, the tools you use, the workflows you contribute to, and the reports themselves.

What is a report?

A report is a document created to communicate essential information. That information can be a written account of a specific situation — like a project status report . It can also be a spreadsheet or dashboard that focuses on quantitative information — like sales numbers or budget reports.

Most reports are built and consumed in a disposable way, often to provide regular updates on key performance indicators. A project manager might be asked to create a project status report every week, bi-weekly, or monthly. They draft up the report, send it off to stakeholders, and then it’s never used again. Thankfully, many industries use digital formats for reporting.

Now that you know what a report is, let’s go over the six most common types of reports.

Why is reporting important?

Reporting workflows can be time-intensive, difficult to optimize, and clunky. So why does anyone bother?

It helps you make better business decisions

At its core, reporting is about getting essential information from one party to a specific audience. Usually, that knowledge can’t just be shared in a Slack message or a Word doc. Whether it needs to be interpreted by an expert before it reaches its destination or it’s highly dependent on specific formatting, a report can communicate some information better than any other document. And that information is often key to some of the most important decisions people in your organization will make.

Reporting creates more transparency

When organizations get to a certain size, it can be a lot tougher to keep everyone in the loop. A one-person marketing team can share updates with other teams much more easily than a whole department. That’s why reports are often an essential part of making work more transparent for everyone at the company.

It helps solve problems

Whether it’s a team that’s struggling to meet its goals or the whole organization having problems, a report is often exactly what you need to know the way forward. By going through the data, processing it until you get valuable insights, and sharing it with the right people, you’re taking the first step to fixing these issues.

6 types of project management reports

A project management report can take many forms, each used to communicate important updates about a specific project. These are usually sent out to team leads, departments heads, and other stakeholders. Project managers might collect multiple updates into one large report or send out smaller, bite-sized reports focusing on a specific aspect of their project. Here are the six most common project management reports.

  • Project status (or progress) reports: A quick rundown of a project’s progress towards its goal. A status report might outline high-priority tasks and communicate potential problems.
  • Project health reports: This report communicates whether a project is on track, at risk, or off track, and why that is.
  • Team availability reports: With this report, a project manager communicates each collaborator’s workload. A stakeholder might request this report if they’re thinking of assigning more work to someone contributing to that project.
  • Risk reports: Every endeavor comes with potential risks. How likely are they to affect your project? What impact might they have? That’s what this report is about.
  • Variance reports: Before a project starts, there’ll usually be a some sort of plan. A variance report compares a project’s progress to that plan. If a project starts straying off-course, it’s usually communicated in variance reports.
  • Time tracking reports: This tells everyone else what project members are spending their time on. Stakeholders can use these reports to make sure resources are spent adequately.

Next, let’s dive into how these reports are generated.

4 examples of reporting tools

A lot of time and effort goes into building reports, and there are usually more than a few tools involved. Here are just a few of the tools that might be involved in your reporting workflow.

Work management tools

A work management tool helps teams track, complete, and collaborate on their work asynchronously. Some, like Trello , work a bit like a big whiteboard covered in Post-It notes. Others, like Wrike or Jira , use more advanced project management methodologies to break down work.

Many of these tools have features that make reporting much simpler, like time tracking and built-in project health reports.

Database and spreadsheet tools

These reporting tools have been around for so long they’ve become ingrained in office culture. The classic spreadsheet tool, Microsoft Excel, is a powerhouse for building databases and collecting data, but many alternatives exist .

Spreadsheets are the go-to method for reporting on and displaying quantitative data. Whether you’re building a budget report, communicating sales figures, or tracking conversion rates, a spreadsheet tool should be part of your stack.

Business intelligence tools

Business intelligence tools pull data from multiple sources and give you the ability to transform and analyze it. For example, a tool like Looker might surface metrics from your payment platform, your website, and your marketing channels to help you report on the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

A business intelligence tool can serve as a one-stop-shop for many of your reports. They might not always give you the best visibility on specific projects, but they can give you a better sense of the big picture.

A CRM , or customer relationship management platform, is a piece of software that allows organizations to build relationships with their prospects, customers, and other contacts. A sales team will use a CRM to track their work as they close deals and find new potential customers. Support agents might use their CRM to review a customer’s history as they work on support tickets.

Many CRMs, like  HubSpot  and  Salesforce , have features you’d find in a dedicated reporting tool. These can be used to generate sales reports, growth numbers, and more.

Unito’s Report on Reporting

Because reporting is such an important workflow, we wanted to get the lay of the land before building dedicated integrations for it. What are some of the biggest headaches that come with reporting? What tools do people use? How can these problems be solved?

That’s why we surveyed 150 knowledge workers from a variety of industries, asking them about their reporting workflows and their tool stack.

We poured through the data and broke it down in  Unito’s Report on Reporting . Click the link below to get your free copy.

Need to get a handle on reporting?

Get Unito's Report on Reporting for free

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Why reporting workflows need integrations

One of the big takeaways from our ebook on reporting was just how many tools people were using to get the job done. There isn’t usually a single go-to reporting tool for these tasks. More often than not, people use a combination of work management tools, business intelligence platforms, CRMs, and other seemingly unrelated tools.

That means anyone building a report has to go through all these tools, over and over again, to collect data manually. And that’s not to mention all the work that goes into building the actual reports.

But when you have the right integration, you can make that work disappear. You can turn manually-created, throwaway reports into dynamic dashboards that are automatically updated as work progresses in other tools.

Here are just a few examples of how that’s done with Unito:

  • Automating project health updates with Airtable and Unito
  • Reporting on development work in Jira with Notion
  • Streamlining sales reporting with Google Sheets and Unito
  • Building dynamic progress reports in Google Sheets
  • Creating automated resource management reports in Airtable

Want to know more about automating your reports? Check out our full guide here .

Featured image displaying the logos of Google Sheets and Wrike in Unito's guide to setting up a simple Two-Way Sync.

How to Automatically Export and Sync Wrike Tasks to Microsoft Excel with 2-Way Updates

Here’s how to automatically export Wrike tasks to a report in Google Sheets with Unito’s two-way sync for professionals.

what is a report means

How to Sync Asana Milestones to Google Calendar Events

Sync Asana Milestones to Google Calendar along with dates, times and more with Unito’s automated 2-way integration.

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A report is a specific form of writing that is organised around concisely identifying and examining issues, events, or findings that have happened in a physical sense, such as events that have occurred within an organisation, or findings from a research investigation.

These events can also pertain to events or issues identified within a body of literature. A report informs the reader simply and objectively about all relevant issues. There are three features that characterise report writing at a very basic level: a pre-defined structure, independent sections, and reaching unbiased conclusions.

Pre-defined structure

Report structures vary widely. So, check your guidelines to ensure that you are following the structure that has been specified.

At a very basic level, a report can be distinguished from an essay by headings which are used to organise information.

Headings typically indicate sections within a report, such as an introduction, discussion, and conclusion.

Within the discussion section, which usually makes up the main body of a report, you can often add sub-sections according to the literature you have sourced, your development of ideas, and the assigned task. The difference between main sections and sub-sections may be indicated through numbering and/or heading font style. You will need to check the assignment instructions to see whether this is appropriate.

1. Introduction 2. Discussion 2.1 Technological benefits 2.1.1 Efficiency 2.1.2 Access to monitoring 2.2 Technological weaknesses 2.2.1 Disconnections 2.2.2 Lack of face-to-face support 3. Conclusion 4. References

You may find that you do not need linking sentences as the headings provide a link between sections, although including a linking sentence from time-to-time may assist the reader's understanding.

Overall, a report is a highly structured piece of work and typically, the course co-ordinator or lecturer identifies the main sections required or indicates that you should follow a standard structure (such as a business report structure ). You are often given more guidance on how to write the assignment, with respect to its structure and section, compared to an essay where you decide the order of information in the essay body.

While you may have more freedom in structuring an essay, it may be more difficult to decide how to order information within your essay. In contrast, a report provides you with that structure before you begin to answer the question, while still allowing you some flexibility and freedom in deciding on the organisation of sub-sections.

Unbiased conclusions

Another element of report writing (in fact, all academic writing ) is that it is an unbiased and objective form of writing.

However, while essays put forward a particular position or argument at the very beginning, summarised in the thesis statement and then backed up in the body, a report's focus is slightly different.

A report sways more towards the process of identifying and reviewing the range of issues in the body of the report, and then reaching an objective conclusion or position at the end, sometimes with recommendations based on the discussion and conclusions.

Of course, you can always have in mind a particular point of view when you begin your report, but try to give the impression that you have come to your conclusion via an objective and methodical review of the issues involved.

Sometimes you will need to briefly summarise the report's findings in your introduction. Alternatively, sometimes you might need to provide an overview of your report in an executive summary or abstract . Report structures vary so this is something you need to check with your assignment instructions or course coordinator. Nevertheless, try to ensure that the conclusion is where you give emphasis to your findings and the recommendations or decisions you have arrived at after a careful analysis of all the issues. It should be clear to the reader that your conclusion is reasoned logically from the discussion of the issues and the evidence you have presented in the body of the report.

Page authorised by Director - Centre for Learner Success Last updated on 11 June, 2019

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