Writing a Business Report Victoria University of

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Introduction 1,1 Planning your business report 2,1 1 What is the purpose of this report 2. 1 2 Who are the readers of this report 2,1 3 What are the report s main messages 3. 1 4 How will the messages be structured 3,2 Structuring your business report 4. 2 1 Covering letter memorandum 4,2 2 Title Page 5,2 3 Executive Summary 5. 2 4 Table of Contents 5,2 5 Introduction 6,2 6 Conclusions recommendations 6.
2 7 Findings and discussion 8,2 8 References 8,2 9 Appendices 8. 3 Writing your business report 10,3 1 Use effective headings and subheadings 10. 3 2 Structure your paragraphs well 11,3 3 Write clear sentences with plain language 12. 3 4 Keep your writing professional 13,3 5 Use white space and well chosen fonts 14. 3 6 Number your pages 15, 3 7 Use footnotes tables figures and appendices appropriately 15.
4 Concluding remarks 17,References 18,Appendix A Checklist of a business report 19. Appendix B Linking ideas within sentences and paragraphs 20. Appendix C Specific report requirements 21,Appendix D An example of a finished report 23. Introduction, Writing an effective business report is a necessary skill for communicating. ideas in the business environment Reports usually address a specific issue or. problem and are often commissioned when a decision needs to be made. They present the author s findings in relation to the issue or problem and then. recommend a course of action for the organisation to take The key to a good. report is in depth analysis Good writers will show their reader how they have. interpreted their findings The reader will understand the basis on which the. conclusions are drawn as well as the rationale for the recommendations. Report writing uses some of the writing skills you have already acquired You. will structure your paragraphs and reference your ideas just as you have been. doing in your essays and other assignments within your Commerce degree. You might want to refer to the Victoria Business School Writing Skills. Workbook you received in the first year Report writing sometimes differs in. structure and style This handbook will help you plan structure and write a. basic report Remember though that reports will vary according to their. purpose and the needs of their reader s Throughout your university career. different courses and or different lecturers may have slightly different. requirements for reports Please always check the requirements for each. assignment,Acknowledgement, We acknowledge Write Limited New Zealand s plain English specialists. Many of their principles for good business writing are reflected in this. handbook A reference to their style guide is found in the reference list on p. 1 Planning your business report, As in all writing planning is vitally important The key questions to ask yourself.
when planning a business report are,what is the purpose of this report. who are the readers of this report,what are the report s main messages. how will the report be structured,1 1 What is the purpose of this report. Keep in mind that the purpose of a business report is generally to assist in. decision making Be sure you are clear on what decision is to be made and. the role the report plays in this decision It might be useful to consider the. purpose in this way As a result of this report my reader s will. For example,As a result of this report my reader s will know. how well our recycling programme is doing,how to increase participation in it.
1 2 Who are the readers of this report, Consider the main reader s but also secondary readers The main reader for. the recycling report alluded to above is the director of the recycling. programme Secondary readers might be the facilities management team on. campus the finance team etc, Try to understand what the readers already know what they need to know. and how they will use this report You will need to give enough information to. satisfy all these potential readers You will need to use headings carefully so. that different readers can use the report in different ways. 1 3 What are the report s main messages, Taking into account the information above think carefully about the. main message s you need to convey and therefore what information is. required Ask yourself What are the required pieces of information I. need to include, What are the additional pieces of information I need to include. 1 4 How will the messages be structured, The modern business approach is direct or deductive to use a more.
sophisticated term This approach presents the conclusions or. recommendations near the beginning of the report and the report provides. justification for these recommendations This approach will be used for the. remainder of this handbook and for report writing in general in the Victoria. Business School Commerce Faculty, It should be noted however that there is sometimes a place for the indirect. inductive approach This approach leads the reader through the discussion. first and reveals the conclusions and recommendations at the end of the. report This approach might be used if the recommendations are likely to be. controversial or unpopular Emerson 1995, The next step is to construct an outline or structure for your report Check. for a logical flow and check your outline against your purpose your reader s. and the report s relevant information requirements. 2 Structuring your business report,A business report may contain. a covering letter or memorandum,a title page,an executive summary. a table of contents,an introduction,conclusions,recommendations.
findings and discussion,a list of references,appendices. 2 1 Covering letter memorandum, Often a letter is attached to a report to officially introduce the report to the. recipient If the recipient is outside the organisation a letter format is. appropriate if the recipient is inside the organisation a memorandum memo. is appropriate,The covering letter or memorandum should. remind the reader of their request for the report,state the purpose of the report. acknowledge any assistance,indicate future actions to be taken.
2 2 Title Page, The title page should be brief but descriptive of the project It should also. include the date of completion submission of the report the author s and their. association organisation,2 3 Executive Summary, The executive summary follows the title page and should make sense on its. own The executive summary helps the reader quickly grasp the report s. purpose conclusions and key recommendations You may think of this as. something the busy executive might read to get a feel for your report and its. final conclusions The executive summary should be no longer than one page. The executive summary differs from an abstract in that it provides the key. recommendations and conclusions rather than a summary of the document. 2 4 Table of Contents, The table of contents follows the executive summary on a new page It states. the pages for various sections The reader receives a clear orientation to the. report as the table of contents lists all the headings and sub headings in the. report These headings and sub headings should be descriptive of the content. they relate to see section 3 of this handbook,2 5 Introduction. The introduction sets the stage for the reader It gives the context for the. report and generates the reader s interest It orients the reader to the purpose. of the report and gives them a clear indication of what they can expect. The introduction should,briefly describe the context.
identify the general subject matter,describe the issue or problem to be reported on. state the specific questions the report answers, outline the scope of the report extent of investigation. preview the report structure,comment on the limitations of the report and any. assumptions made,Adapted from Emerson 1995 p 35,2 6 Conclusions recommendations. A business report usually needs both conclusions and recommendations The. difference between conclusions and recommendations in a report lies in the. orientation to time Conclusions typically relate to the present or past. When writing conclusions, interpret and summarise the findings say what they mean.
relate the conclusions to the report issue problem. limit the conclusions to the data presented do not introduce. new material, number the conclusions and present them in parallel form. be objective avoid exaggerating or manipulating the data. Guffey Rhodes Rogin 2001 p 391, Recommendations are oriented to the future what changes are. recommended or what actions are recommended for the future They are. specific action oriented suggestions to solve the report problem. When writing recommendations, make specific suggestions for actions to solve the report problem. avoid conditional words such as maybe and perhaps, present each suggestion separately and begin with a verb. number the recommendations, describe how the recommendations may be implemented if you were.
requested to do this, arrange the recommendations in an announced order such as most. important to least important,Guffey et al 2001 p 392. Although the conclusions and recommendations are presented before the. discussion they need to logically flow from the discussion Taking a deductive. approach allows the reader insight into your conclusions recommendations. early on When your reader reads the discussion afterwards they will follow it. more easily Here are some examples of conclusions and recommendations. Conclusions Recommendations, Home and family responsibilities directly Provide managers with training in working. affect job attendance and performance with personal and family matters. Time is the crucial issue to balancing Institute a flexitime policy that allows. work and family income employees to adapt their work schedule. to home responsibilities, A manager supportive of family and Publish a quarterly employee newsletter. personal concerns is central to a good devoted to family and child care issues. work environment,Adapted from Guffey et al 2001 p 391 392.
2 7 Findings and discussion, The discussion is the main part of your report and should present and discuss. your findings It should give enough information analysis and evidence to. support your conclusions and it should provide justification for your. recommendations Its organisation will depend on your purpose scope and. requirements but it should follow a logical and systematic organisation The. discussion should be subdivided into logical sections each with informative. descriptive headings and a number, Where your report s purpose is to recommend the best solution to a problem. you should show clear analysis of all options You should explain any. analytical framework you used such as SWOT or cost benefit analysis This. analysis of options can often be presented effectively in tables. 2 8 References, Whenever you use information from other sources references must be. provided in text and in a list of references The style of referencing may be. dictated by your faculty or organisation The Faculty of Commerce at Victoria. uses APA See the Victoria Business School Writing Skills Workbook that you. were given in first year in the FCOM 111 course for information on APA. referencing or see the APA manual APA 2010 You can download a copy of. the Writing Skills Workbook from the VBS website,2 9 Appendices. If material is important to your discussion and is directly referred to then it. should be included in your discussion proper However you might want to use. appendices to include supplementary material that enhances understanding. for the reader You might use appendices to provide details on the process or. analysis you underwent or which was required by your supervisor or lecturer. When you choose to include information in appendices you should refer to it. clearly in your text refer Appendix A A single appendix should be titled. APPENDIX Multiple appendices are titled APPENDIX A APPENDIX B etc. Appendices appear in the order that they are mentioned in the text of the. Appendices should,provide detailed explanation serving the needs of.
specific readers,be clearly and neatly set out,be numbered lettered. be given a descriptive title, be arranged in the order they are mentioned in the text. be related to the report s purpose not just tacked on. Adapted from Emerson 1995 p 41, A checklist of elements of a good business report is provided in Appendix A. 3 Writing your business report, Now that you have organised your thoughts you need to put them into writing. Ensure your writing demonstrates clarity and logic You should think. constantly about your readers and make your report easy for them to read To. achieve good readability you should,use effective headings and subheadings.
structure your paragraphs well,write clear sentences with plain language. keep your writing professional,use white space and well chosen fonts. number your pages, use footnotes tables figures and appendices appropriately. 3 1 Use effective headings and subheadings, Headings and subheadings are useful tools in business writing Ensure they. are descriptive of the content to follow In other words rather than labelling a. section Section 2 5 it would be better to describe it as 2 5 Justification for. A business report usually needs both conclusions and recommendations The difference between conclusions and recommendations in a report lies in the orientation to time Conclusions typically relate to the present or past situation When writing conclusions interpret and summarise the findings say what they mean relate the conclusions to the report issue problem limit the conclusions to the

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