How to write a professional report
Being able to write a clear, concise report is a skill many secretaries and PAs need. Read how to do it here.
- Use a clear structure
- Use headings
- Use formal language
This is how you should structure a report
7. Signature and date
The title should be clear and to the point.
Report on ways of saving energy in the company
The summary (sometimes called ‘executive summary’) is about 10 per cent of the length of the report. It provides a brief overview of all the information anexecutive needs to make a decision based on your recommendations. In the summary you
- describe the current situation
- give a brief analysis of the problem
- describe your findings
- mention your main recommendations.
Faced with problems ..... we set out to ...... . We encountered problems on three levels. Most were due to ..........
In the introduction you go into detail about what the subject of the report, when the data was collected, what it hopes to achieve and how the findings were reached.
- This report aims to / sets out to .....
- The aim of this report is ..........
- It is based on data collected between ............ and .........
The findings are the facts you discovered.
- It was discovered that .....
- ....... were found in several cases ..........
- The following points summarise our key findings.
The conclusion is how you interpret the facts.
- It is clear that ...
- It is felt that ...
- No conclusions were reached regarding ...
- As might have been expected ...
The recommendations are practical solutions for dealing with the situation, implementing new procedures or suggesting further activities.
- It is proposed / suggested / recommended that ...
- We strongly recommend ...
- It is essential to ...
7. Signature and date
Your name, position and deparment (if you wrote the report) and the date come at the bottom of the report.
How to make your report easy to read
So können Sie Ihren Bericht klar, übersichtlich und leserfreundlich machen. Die Adressaten werden Ihnen dankbar sein.
● Be kind to your reader – use headings and bullets to make the report easy to read and key points stand out.
● Be concise – use short simple sentences.
● Be coherent – only put one ideain each paragraph.
● Be accurate – always proofread the report before you send it out.
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Energy saving in the company
Faced with rising costs, we set out to find ways of saving energy in the company. We found problems in most departments. A major problem is computers and radiators being left on when employees go home. Our recommendations include
• introducing a new company policy
• turning down heating at the weekend.
The aim of this report is to discover the reason for soaring energy costs and to suggest ways of saving energy. It is based on observation and interviews with members of staff carried out between October 15 and November 5.
Most energy is being wasted in the IT department.
It was discovered that
• computers are not switched off when employees go home
• lights are left on all day
• radiators are left on all day
• instead of turning radiators off, windows are opened
In the other departments
• Overhead lighting left on all day in the sales department
• Some computers left running in accounts
• Personal equipment (mobile phones, Laptops, iPods) is recharged as a matter of course in all departments.
It is clear that too much energy is being wasted in all departments. In many cases, the interviewed employees were not aware that they were wasting energy.
We strongly recommend introducing new company policy instructing employees to switch off all computers and overhead lights when going home in the evening.
We also recommend turning down the thermostats over the weekend, which would reduce heating costs by 6%.
With regard to employees recharging personal equipment, we recommend writing a carefully-worded memo that will point out how much this habit is costing the company. We do not, however, recommend forbidding it outright as this would give management a bad image.
We also recommend that the company introduces incentives to encourage employees to save energy.
Ina Wald Monika Green
Assistant, HR dept. Assistant to the Managing Director
16 November 2005