Companies turn to outside consultants for their special expertise in a particular subject or as supplemental staff in critical functional areas of the business. Consultants are viewed as experts in their particular subject area. Written reports are often required of consultants to detail the progress of the project work the consultant has been engaged to do and also as a way to demonstrate that the man-hours submitted on a timesheet are justified, especially if the consultant is working off site.
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Know that consultants are often required to submit a report of their activities on a weekly or monthly basis, much as a full-time employee might be required to do. Use a cover when presenting a consultancy report with the details of the consultant's activities captured in a separate, attached document.
In the cover letter, state what the attached document covers. Use language such as "Project Management Report for Advertising Services for June 2010" by James B. Johnson (or the formal name of the consultant's company). Begin the cover letter by restating the purpose of the project and its goal. Do a brief recap of what the consultant is working on, which you will detail in a separate document. Date and sign the cover letter.
If you are reporting the activities of a many-pronged project, you will want to submit an update of activities around each of those tasks. Consider using a table to present this information as opposed to writing a long-winded, written report. Such a document would be called a Status Report.
List all the project areas the consultant is working on separately in the table for quick and easy review. Use the first column to list all the projects and their related sub-projects if appropriate. Use the column header name "Project Name" for this first column. Include any specific reference numbers or purchase order numbers for ease of identifying the project activity.
Put the name of a single project such as "Communications Planning" in the first row under Project Name. Continue adding all the major project areas onto the chart. Use bold type to highlight those project names.
Label the next column header "Description.". Here you describe the project activity such as "Development of Preliminary New Product Communications Plans for Car & Truck Division." Do try to be brief but accurate when describing the project.
In the next column, label the column header "Status" Here you provide more detail about your activities related to accomplishing the project. What specific work have you been doing or what is being planned. You might want to say "Conducted Focus Group Research in three cities to gain consumer perceptions of manufacturer quality issues." Consider adding the man-hours that will be claimed for this work here in parenthesis (48 hours including travel time).
Use the next column header for "Next Steps." Identify the next steps to be taken. Use action verbs here such as "Will review research and provide written and oral summary report to management."
The final column is "Due Date." Here you estimate the timing for when the actions identified in the Next Steps section will take place.
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