How to write a formatted consultant report

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A consultant has to condense all of the information he gathered from research and present it in a user-friendly format to the client. This is most often done in the form of a report.

The report is a vital tool for clients that helps them understand how to best proceed with managing the problem for which the consultant was hired.

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Organise your data. Plan how you want to present information you found to your client. Include only data and findings relevant to the problem. Prepare an outline of your report to help you plan the structure of your report. Decide how you want to graphically display information you've gathered in the forms of charts, diagrams and tables.

Akri Consulting suggests that you can organise your information using horizontal and vertical logic. Horizontal logic describes the flow of findings (main ideas) through your report. As the same level of importance, they flow from one to the other. Vertical logic describes the flow of supporting points (facts) that support the main idea.

Write the introduction to the report. The introduction should lay out the problem and give a one- or two-sentence summary of your main finding(s). Establish the tone and style you want to keep throughout the report in the introduction.

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Develop the body of the report. The report's body will contain the findings of your research. Use headlines to distinguish different sections of the body. Use complete sentences and parallel construction when you create your headlines. The headlines will enable the reader to easily find information he is looking for within the report.

You should provide insight and detailed analysis of your findings within the body. The body is not the place to throw all of the data you can muster. Use supporting examples of data within your report to bolster your findings.

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Write a conclusions and recommendation section. Your conclusion will summarise your findings, and the recommendation section will provide possible solutions to the problem discussed in the report. The recommendation and conclusion parts of the report are where you will provide further insight and analysis.

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Develop an executive summary and/or an abstract, as well as a table of contents for your report. The summary/abstract pieces help the reader to get a general sense of what is written within the report. Your most important findings and conclusions should be included here. The table of contents should include all of the major sections of the report and the pages on which they can be found. These will be placed at the beginning of your report.

You will also create a title page that includes the title of the report, the author's name and the date the report was written or presented.

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Compile your supporting material and documents, and write a works cited list. The supporting material (extra data, related articles, for example) will be placed in an appendix, and the works cited list will contain references you used to support your findings and data from outside sources. These will be placed at the end of your report, appendix first, then reference list. You can also include an index as a last section.