Executive Summary The purpose of an executive summary is to summarize a report. Executive summaries are written for executives who most likely do not have time to read the complete document. Therefore, the executive summary must cover the major points and be detailed enough to mirror the content yet concise enough for an executive to understand the substance without reading the entire report. An executive summary differs from an abstract. Readers use an abstract to decide whether to read the complete document. They read an executive summary to obtain information without having to read the report in full. The executive summary should be written as a document that can stand on its own and is usually written on one or two pages, depending on the length of the report. It restates the purpose of the report and describes any results, conclusions, or recommendations made in the report so that the reader understands the reasons for the conclusion or recommendations. Acronyms, symbols, and abbreviations must be written out. Tables and figures in the report should not be referred to by number in the executive summary. The audience for an executive summary is receptive to the message, so the writer should assume that the audience wants to know and understand the message. It is written in a formal tone using an impersonal style and eliminating first person pronouns (I, we, our, etc.). Use the following guidelines when writing an executive summary: • • • • • State clearly the purpose of the report. Present the major points in the same order they are written in the report. Summarize the results, conclusions, or recommendations made in the report. Write headings, as needed, for clarity, but word headings differently from the headings used in the report. Format the executive summary the same way as the complete report.
Following is an Executive Summary of a report prepared by Sonoma Consultants for Jones Williams, a stock brokerage firm that specializes in long-term, stable...
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