Writing in Business and Management The Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J., School of Business and Management includes the Departments of Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information System and Decision Sciences, Law and Social Responsibility, Management, and Marketing. The seven department share two major curriculum objectives: (1) to present each student a body of knowledge, techniques, and applications relevant to the business and management profession; and (2) to provide greater depth in a particular business and management discipline both to enhance the student’s ability to perform effectively in a professional career and to help the organization for which the graduate works to achieve its goals and objectives. Students in business and management courses will use writing to gain and demonstrate understanding, to apply knowledge to problem-solving, to coordinate and express complexity, to communicate a clear picture of gathered information, and to persuade others. A student in a business and management course is likely to write any or all of the following types of presentations: a. research papers, involving hypotheses tested against facts and, often, graphs and other graphic forms b. term papers, applying techniques to a problem, as, for example, in designing management information systems c. essays or reports that explain principles, requiring expository writing and also graphics and flow charts d. summaries of articles and executive summaries of issues e. cases, consultant reports, and audit reports, written as they would be in real business situations, involving definite hypotheses about the situations portrayed. f. essay examinations g. problem sets h. practice memoranda, again written as they would be “in the field,” most often involving persuasive writing. i. advertisements or promotions j. system or program documentation Business organizations frequently use “the report” as a form for communicating a business plan or the results of a study or research project. You might use the following guide both in the real world and in classes where your assignment is to write a business report. How to Write a Report to a Business Person 1. There should be a cover letter or memo very briefly explaining the reason for the report and the reason for sending it to the person(s) addressed. 2. there should be a cover page. 3. There should be a table of contents. The importance of this requirement increases with the length of the report. 4. There should be an executive summary. It is to be brief, specific and complete. If properly written, a busy executive will not have to read further. The location, in the rest of the report, of details should be shown in case the executive needs more information. 5. There should be an introduction at the beginning of the actual report that starts after the items covered in 1. to 4. above. 6. At the end of the report there should be a summary or a conclusion. 7. The body of the report should be broken up by headings and subheads. Use as many as possible. The outline form used here is an example. Use tables and figures. For a long report use tabbed divider sheets. 8. As the executive summary is brief (but complete) so the body of the report should be as brief as possible. There should be an appendix for some tedious material and possibly the tables and figures. Do not use explanatory footnotes. 9. Many business reports do not require references, bibliographies or citations. A literature search or the use of secondary data sources may require citations. Use an appropriate style sheet for this purpose. 10. with the graphic potential of PCs, make liberal use of color and different type sizes. 11. Put the complete report in a binder. (In a business report or plan done as a classroom assignment, the binder, tabbed divider sheets, color and different type sizes may not be necessary. Ask your instructor.) Brevity, while being complete, is the key. The secret is to determine what should be in the report and what should not. Rank the material as to relative importance: 1. put the most important in the executive summary 2. put the next most important (plus the material from the executive summary) in the body of the report 3. put the least important (or more tedious) in the appendix. Avoid special terminology, jargon, and polysyllabic words. The goal is clear communication of complicated ideas.
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