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What is a report?

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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PDF. The three letters that continue to change the world.

Everything you need to know about the PDF.

What does pdf mean.

PDF is an abbreviation that stands for Portable Document Format. It's a versatile file format created by Adobe that gives people an easy, reliable way to present and exchange documents - regardless of the software, hardware, or operating systems being used by anyone who views the document. 

The PDF format is now an open standard, maintained by the International Organ zation for Standardization (ISO). PDF docs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. They can be signed electronically and can easily be viewed on Windows or MacOS using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software. 

 We invented the PDF

Adobe created the PDF.

In 1991, Adobe co-founder Dr. John Warnock launched the paper-to-digital revolution with an idea he called, The Camelot Project. The goal was to enable anyone to capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print them on any machine. By 1992, Camelot had developed into PDF. Today, it is the file format trusted by businesses around the world.

 Because looks really do matter

PDF document conversion made easy. 

Warnock’s vision is alive, well, and evolving. When you create an Adobe PDF from documents or images, it looks just the way you intended it to. While many PDFs are simply pictures of pages, Adobe PDFs preserve all the data in the original file format — even when text, graphics, spreadsheets, and more are combined in a single file .

PDF files meet high standards.

You can be confident your PDF file meets ISO 32000 standards for electronic document exchange, including special-purpose standards such as PDF/A for archiving, PDF/E for engineering, and PDF/X for printing. You can also create PDFs to meet a range of accessibility standards that make content more usable by people with disabilities.

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How to Write a Report: A Guide

Matt Ellis

A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report. 

Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing. 

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What is a report? 

In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report. 

Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description. 

What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content: 

Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion. 

Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights. 

Types of reports

There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:

Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments. 

There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational. 

>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?

What is the structure of a report?

The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:

If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section. 

What should be included in a report?

There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot: 

As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require. 

How to write a report in 7 steps

Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper. 

1 Choose a topic based on the assignment

Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on. 

If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria: 

Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding. 

2 Conduct research

With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both. 

For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research. 

The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch. 

3 Write a thesis statement

Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report. 

Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement. 

For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments. 

It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next. 

4 Prepare an outline

Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything. 

Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively. 

5 Write a rough draft

Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway. 

6 Revise and edit your report

Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.) 

We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed. 

If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips . 

7 Proofread and check for mistakes

Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems. 

A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level. 

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Daily audits, weekly sales inventory, monthly financial statements, and many more are part of the day’s work. You need to get the data right as much as possible. Also, have it well sorted out to make it presentable. While you are prepping up the content, we have prepared ready-made and professionally designed report templates just for you. We care so much that we are offering easy to use, quick to download, and ready to print report templates . Spare yourself the hassle in starting from scratch and get yourself going with the content! Plus, our files are customizable for your added creative and personal touches. Avail our sample report templates now!

What is a Report

A report is either a written or verbal account on something which is a result of thorough observation and meticulous studying. It varies according to designated purposes, but the primary goal is to relay necessary information. For instance, it could be a student’s report card showing academic performance ratings. Or, it could be a status report about a company’s stock shares. 

How to Create a Report in Adobe PDF

Furnishing your formal document for presentability and credibility needs utmost care. It must mix audience relatability and accuracy of information. Although this may seem an arduous task, it is manageable and doable. Just follow these steps in making that professional report.

1. Know the Purpose

Reports come in various forms for designated purposes. Get a grip with the situation; either you are in a business or the academe. Will it show performance ratings of students or employees? Are you tasked with a quick presentation of the production rate of a commodity, or an audit of accumulated payments? Again, reports are diverse, and you have to grasp the purpose. Without it, there is no direction to follow. 

2. Plot the Details

Once the goal is clear, then it is time to think further of the particular details. The report must contain specific information. If you are presenting a safety report of a specific event, include crucial incidents to show. Or, you are about to give a business trend, then put a comprehensive analysis . Plot the details because they comprise the substance of the document.   

3. Gather All Supporting Documents

Accuracy and truth are two essential goals to achieve. Accomplishing these goals needs factual support and pieces of evidence. You need your report to be a real account. Plus, it is always beneficial to ready all pertinent documents as references. Is it a comprehensive  inventory, detailed log , or published news article that you are going to collate? It will be even convincing to have them as part of the index. Prepare the files! Build authority and authenticity through credibility!

4. Organize for Presentability

Always remember that you have a recipient or an audience. They could be the child’s parents, your boss, or the general public in an assembly. Organizing is not only about helping you construct your report but also assuring that others can understand. Create a much-needed outline to help you sort out the details and have a neat bird’s eye view of the flow. 

5. Design Wisely

Your reports must have appeal and creative touches. Color variations for highlighting and evoking mood are necessary. Use the design to your advantage by letting it direct focus, and at the same time, create a soothing atmosphere for your intended audience. 

6. Have a Convincing Tone

Proving the point is one of the goals. Make your report sound spectacular and believable by having the tone of a businessman doing a marketing presentation. Sweep your audience off their feet both in paper and your talk!

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export as a pdf file using crystal report

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Global Insurance Report 2023: Closing the personal P&C protection gap

Despite a slowdown during the height of the pandemic, personal property and casualty (P&C) insurance has seen annual growth of 3 percent since 2019. Personal lines still represent more than half of global P&C gross written premiums (GWP), but a growing protection gap in both developed and developing countries indicates that insurers struggle to design products fit for the evolving and emerging risks that modern personal-lines consumers demand.

About the authors

This report is a collaborative effort by Selma Belghiti, Ana Brito, Kia Javanmardian , José Miguel Novo, Sirus Ramezani , and Ashish Srivastava, representing views from McKinsey’s Insurance Practice.

The protection gap has a number of direct and indirect causes. In developed economies, customers’ personal P&C insurance needs are changing significantly and rapidly—particularly when it comes to motor insurance, given that connected cars and the sharing economy are transforming pricing models and risk profiles. Extreme weather events are wreaking havoc, with increased flooding, tropical storms, wildfires, and droughts challenging traditional risk assessment and underwriting models in property insurance. Cybersecurity risk is on the rise, and many insurers are struggling to properly quantify risk exposure, adjust terms and conditions, and consequently win the conviction of reinsurance capacity. And e-commerce is becoming indispensable, 1 “ Becoming indispensable: Moving past e-commerce to NeXT commerce ,” McKinsey, November 15, 2022. bringing a heightened risk of online fraud and theft.

Developing economies’ populations also remain underinsured, with premiums largely for nonmandatory products such as homeowners’ insurance still representing a small portion of people’s income—mostly driven by limited purchasing power and a lack of awareness about the benefits of personal P&C protection. In Latin America, personal property insurance as a portion of income is just 0.12 percent of GDP, compared with 0.32 percent for Western Europe. 2 McKinsey Global Insurance Pools.

The industry is growing overall, but a more granular assessment shows that locally focused scale largely defines a given personal P&C insurer’s competitive stance. Regional winners are likely to continue to retain market share, benefiting from the capabilities they employed to achieve their current leadership position and from their investment capacity going forward. More globally, personal P&C insurance will join all industries in contending with inflation in the near term, putting additional pressure on margins. Inflation will also have clear implications for traditional operating models—specifically by requiring faster feedback loops between the claims, actuarial, and pricing functions. Insurers must recalibrate their products, distribution, and technical models for a customer base and an employee pool with higher standards than ever.

This is the third and final chapter of McKinsey’s Global Insurance Report 2023. 3 To read the first two chapters on life insurance and P&C commercial insurance, see “ Global Insurance Report 2023: Reimagining life insurance ,” McKinsey, November 16, 2020; and “ Global Insurance Report 2023: Expanding commercial P&C’s market relevance ,” McKinsey, February 16, 2023. Excerpts of the report follow. Download to read the full report .

Personal P&C industry landscape

In 2022, the insurance industry surpassed $6.5 trillion in GWP, with P&C representing almost one-third of total revenues. The premium volumes of both the global insurance industry and P&C have recovered from the pandemic; however, global insurance profits still have yet to surpass prepandemic levels, and 2022 P&C profits lagged 2019 levels by about 10 percent, suffering from acute inflation.

Personal P&C insurance saw an average three-year CAGR of 3 percent from 2019 to 2022, compared with 1 percent during the height of the pandemic—better, but lagging P&C commercial’s growth of 7 percent since 2019, fueled by rate increases. 4 “ Expanding commercial P&C’s market relevance ,” February 16, 2023. Personal lines represent more than half of GWP in global P&C, but current growth and profitability headwinds constitute a clear call to change the course and regain relevance in an increasingly complex near future.

Challenges facing personal P&C insurance

Despite the segment’s historically strong performance and resilience after the pandemic, half of P&C insurers are not earning their cost of equity, raising questions about the long-term economic sustainability of their business models. Unsurprisingly, public markets have taken note, with more than half of listed insurance companies trading below book value over the past year. 5 “ Creating value, finding focus: Global Insurance Report 2022 ,” McKinsey February 15, 2022.

Among others, we see five main forces driving challenges for the personal P&C insurance industry—inflation, new entrants, business model and distribution innovation, mobility disruption, and an explosion of data—which should also be looked at as opportunities.

Road map for personal P&C in 2023 and beyond

Going forward, insurance carriers can reignite growth by reclaiming their crucial role in society, covering risk where they are most needed, and enlarging the addressable market. The path to doing so will vary: in developing economies, protection gaps tend to be driven by consumers’ limited purchasing power and a lack of awareness about the benefits of traditional personal P&C products (particularly nonmotor ones); in developed economies, current risk frameworks are lagging the proliferation of new and evolving risks, from cyber to natural catastrophes (NatCats) to shifting mobility habits.

As demand for personal P&C insurance grows, insurers are even shying away from addressing the most critical protection needs. Indeed, insurance carriers are crucial to the communities and businesses in regions experiencing more severe climate events, but they are becoming increasingly uninsurable and, in some instances, have required government intervention—for example, in California due to wildfires and storms and in Florida and Texas due to hurricanes. Insurers are already pulling back from the NatCat segment in certain geographies: personal property direct premiums written (DPW) in Florida decreased by 2.0 percentage points from 2007 to 2021 and by 0.5 percentage points in California over the same period. 6 Based on data from S&P Capital IQ Pro.

To regain relevance and fuel growth, personal P&C carriers need to focus on capturing market tailwinds—namely new or new-product innovations—as well as on addressing four key success factors of distinctive capabilities: perfecting capabilities within specific distribution channels; enabling cross-functional collaboration and faster feedback loops between claims, actuarial and pricing; modernizing claims through advanced analytics and automation; and innovating to address an evolving risk landscape and to fully monetize customer relationships.

Getting started

As personal P&C carriers further develop and refine their approaches to address current industry trends and define their market position, several key considerations form central decisions they must make.

Decide where to play—geographically, by distribution channel, and by business line. Considering the clear importance of local scale to personal P&C market share and growth, many insurers will want to be mindful about investment decisions so that they create meaningful scale in their distribution or product strength. This might entail consolidating their largest domestic market positions in a core channel or even reassessing their readiness to exit the markets and segments without a path for scale. They’ll also need to determine what distinctive business areas they can use as leverage in each market to deepen their competitive advantage.

Increase speed and accuracy of insights by reimagining underwriting, pricing, and claims. Rapid change and the need for integrated solutions—from embedded distribution to usage-based insurance pricing and claims integration—will require a new level of collaboration. An effective feedback loop is critical to reacting faster than the competition, as is a plan for overcoming the traditional and well-known roadblocks to boosting organizational collaboration: siloed operating models, lack of data availability, sluggish technology systems, and so forth.

Focus on fully serving customers and society. Evolving customer needs and a more complex environment will require reinventing personal P&C value propositions to tackle the next frontier of risks and the new challenges our world is facing (for instance, NatCats, cybersecurity, and digital crime). Too many insurance carriers are doing the exact opposite, allowing their wariness of risk to widen the protection gap. Also, in developing economies, nonmotor-lines penetration in GDP is still lagging that of motor, pushing insurers in those regions to prioritize the diversification of personal lines. Going forward, the leaders in personal P&C will be those that embrace the industry’s role in society and ensure coverage is provided where it’s needed most, both in traditional core personal lines, such as motor and property, and in adjacencies, such as electronic warranties.

Determine your ecosystem role. As the global economy increasingly concentrates services and products into ecosystems, traditional distribution channels are being displaced by one-stop-shop solutions built around the customer and their convenience and preferences. Insurers can’t afford to sit on the sidelines of these ecosystems—but they also don’t necessarily need to construct an ecosystem or expanded capabilities from scratch. Insurers will need to start by considering what options are available, given existing customer relationships, and by defining the role they want to play: Are they aiming to become the preferred insurance provider of those better positioned to own such customer relationships? What capabilities do they need in any given scenario?

All told, personal-lines P&C carriers will continue to face numerous strategic market challenges and considerations in the 2020s—and establishing market relevance remains the most effective means of securing stability and growth. There is no right or wrong strategy. In fact, success may be defined more by how adeptly personal P&C carriers can envision their desired end state and adapt along the journey to reach it.

Download the full report, Global Insurance Report 2023: Closing the personal P&C protection gap on which this article is based.

Selma Belghiti is a consultant in McKinsey’s New York office; Ana Brito is a consultant in the Lisbon office; Kia Javanmardian is a senior partner in the Chicago office, where Ashish Srivastava is an associate partner; José Miguel Novo is a partner in the Madrid office; and Sirus Ramezani is a senior partner in the Zurich office.

The authors wish to thank Erica Andreassi, Rebecca Beckert, João Bueno, Varun John Jacob, Priti Joseph, Bernhard Kotanko, Elixabete Larrea, Celine Toh Hsin Li, Cristina Martos, Jörg Mußhoff, Fritz Nauck, and Eda Salim for their contributions to this report.

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