What Is an External Report?

Malcolm Tatum

An external report is a term used to refer to any type of organizational report that is prepared with the general public in mind. Typically, the content found in the document will not include information that is considered proprietary, with only data that is considered acceptable for public consumption included in the report. Businesses usually prepare these types of reports as a means of providing disclosure of relevant information to consumers and others who are interested in the general operations of the companies.

A business may use an external report to release financial information to the public.
A business may use an external report to release financial information to the public.

Businesses will usually produce their own external reports in-house, although it is possible to outsource this function. The content of the report may vary, in that the information contained within the document may be an overview of the company operation, including some historical data. At other times, the focus of the external report may contain information about the finances of the business operation. When this is the case, the report may be prepared by auditors for the express purpose of releasing the data to the general public. The financial information that is included in this external audit report will not contain anything confidential, and all data used for the report will be considered appropriate for public release by the owners and operators of the business.

There are several reasons why a company would choose to prepare and release an external report. The information is considered public, making it possible to provide enough detail about the company and its operation to attract the attention of interested people, including potential investors. Reports of this type will usually contain data that industry analysts can use to assess the current status of the company. It is not unusual for detail obtained from an external report to be used as source material for an article or profile created by a business writer.

While there is no one right way to prepare an external report, there are a few basic considerations that can aid in preparing a coherent and informative document. The information should be arranged in a logical manner, allowing the reader to easily follow the flow of the text. Any data that is considered confidential or proprietary should be omitted from the text, unless there is a compelling reason to include that information and that level of disclosure is unlikely to create any problems for the business at a later date. Most reports of this type will be arranged to state the purpose for the document at the beginning of the text, providing readers with an understanding of why the external paper exists and what the writers hope it will accomplish.

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