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Business Studies 13 Pages

Reducing A Company's Travel And Entertainment Costs

Question

Assignment # 5: The Analytical Report

General Instructions

Write the formal analytical report that you described in your letter of proposal to me (Assignment #4). The report must

  • Define a problem
  • Analyze the criteria for a satisfactory solution
  • Propose one or more alternative solutions, and
  • Argue for the solution that best satisfies the criteria.

The problem may involve a specific institutional, technical, or public policy issue that you are working on or have worked on in your other courses; or it may be something related to an organization to which you belong; or it may be related to a job that you’ve held in the past or are currently holding while going to school; or it may be in a new area in which you have an interest. The solution to the problem may involve coming up with an original design, choosing between available alternatives, or providing needed information.

THE RHETORICAL SITUATION

For the purposes of this report, you should find a situation in which you are writing the report to a primary reader who has “commissioned” it (as a result of Assignment #4) and who has the authority to reject or use your work. So the primary goal of your report is to convince this reader to adopt your solution. The report may also have secondary audiences, as well – for example, it may serve as a plan for a technical staff who will implement the solution and as an historical record of the decision-making process for future readers.

The problem situation should be real. A real situation is one that you have actually encountered; it might involve a current or former employer, the university, your college major, or a service group to which you belong. You should make sure that some employer or sponsor has authorized you to use your specialized training to analyze some problem or question and find a solution.

Requirements of the Report

Audience and Style

Your report should be written directly to a person within your real situation who has the authority to decide whether to accept your recommendations. I am not the audience for this report. I will read and evaluate it for grading purposes only. Your tone should be appropriate to the situation – in most cases, it will be fairly formal. You must have an identifiable audience about whom you know as much as possible in order to construct an audience-centered report. For example, do you believe your audience will be receptive of your solution, or will your audience be skeptical of whatever you would recommend? How should you approach either audience?

Requirements of the Report (continued)

Body of the Report

All reports should introduce a problem; state the purpose for writing the report; explain the scope of your analysis; itemize the methods and sources of your research; develop a logical argument supported by factual evidence that will resolve the issue. If you choose to evaluate several approaches to problem resolution, you must develop the evaluative criteria by which you will evaluate each proposed solution. If you choose to argue for a specific solution to the problem, your analysis must focus on that solution so that you can determine if the solution should be employed and how it should be implemented.

Front and End Matter or Prefatory Parts and Supplementary Parts

 Your report should include a cover page,a letter or memo of transmittal,title page,table on contents,executive summary at least two visual aids,references,and appendices.

Mechanics

The report should be flawless to show a serious and professional endeavor. Sentence level errors will negatively affect your grade. Make certain you proof read carefully and avoid mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice, parallel construction, and sentence structure.

Length

Excluding front and end matter, your report needs to be as long as it needs to be. If you are a word counter the report should be somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 words. The paper should be single spaced within paragraphs, but double spaced between paragraphs. Use the formal block style format. The key to length is telling a complete story and telling it well. I’m more interested in quality than quantity, so don’t try to baffle me with bull****, but rather dazzle me with your verbal brilliance!

The most important question your report should answer is: How well does the report meet the statement of purpose you gave for writing it?

 Assignment #5: The Analytical Report

Review Sheets

This assignment contains four review sheets:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body and Conclusion
  3. Executive Summary and Letter of Transmittal
  4. Complete Draft

The questions are designed for the writer and the peer reviewer of this assignment’s initial draft. Note: the writer will benefit by reviewing these questions BEFORE and AFTER the writing process. In other words, before you write the first sentence of this report, review these questions. Examine them while you are writing the document and while you are re-writing it. Also, carefully examine the peer reviewer’s comments about your writing – especially with regard to the following questions. Many times peer reviewers make outstanding comments and suggestions for the improvement of the assignment, but in his/her haste to just get it done, the writer misses a golden opportunity to make an average paper soar to greater heights and a better grade.

Review Sheet for the “Introduction”

FOR THE WRITER TO COMPLETE (before draft workshop)

  1. Your name: ___________________________________________
  2. Who will read this report? ___________________________________________
  3. Describe your reader(s) and what he or she may already know about the problem.

 FOR THE PEER REVIEWER TO COMPLETE:

Your name:____________________________________

Is the topic of this report (the problem statement) clearly announced early in the introduction? (    )Yes  (   )No. If you answered ‘no’, rewrite the statement in a clear, concise manner that would cause you to answer ‘yes’ above.

Does the writer effectively give the reader(s) a reason to want to read this report?  (    )Yes  (      )No. If you answered yes, describe how it is effective. If you answered No, describe what the writer needs to do to give the reader(s) a desire to read the report.

  1. Cite particular passages or sentences that encourage the reader to be open to the writer’s message.

Review Sheet – “Body and Conclusion”

FOR THE WRITER TO COMPLETE: (before the draft workshop)

Your name: ___________________________________________

  1. What sections of the body and/or the conclusion are you uncomfortable with at this point? What portion(s) of the body and/or conclusion would you want feedback from your reviewer?

 FOR THE PEER REVIEWER TO COMPLETE:

  1. Your name: ___________________________________________
  2. Rate the overall effectiveness of the body of the report.
  3. If you were the audience, describe how you would respond to the information contained in the body of the report. Tell why you would support the conclusion or why you would not support it.
  4. How has the writer demonstrated sound reasoning?
  5. Identify weaknesses in the body of the report and suggests methods the writer could use to strengthen those weaknesses.
  6. Is the report organized using the direct style? (    ) Yes   (    ) No.  If you answered yes, how is this organization revealed?
  7. Is the report organized using the indirect style?  (    ) Yes  (    ) No. If you answered yes, how is this organization revealed.
  8. Has the conclusion reached by the writer been adequately expressed and supported by evidence in the body of the report?  (   ) Yes    (    ) No. Based upon what you read in the report, has the writer convinced you that his/her conclusion is a correct one? (   ) Yes (  ) No. Defend your answer.

 Review Sheet – “Executive Summary & Letter of Transmittal”

 FOR THE WRITER TO COMPLETE: (before the draft workshop)

  1. Your name: ___________________________________________
  2. Evaluate your executive summary as (    ) Excellent   (     ) Good   (   ) Fair (   ) Poor
  3. Evaluate your transmittal document. (    ) Excellent   (     ) Good   (   ) Fair (   ) Poor

 FOR THE PEER REVIEWER TO COMPLETE:

1.     Your name: _____________________________________________

2.     Read the two documents. Do you agree with the writer’s assessment of each above?  - for the executive summary (   ) Yes  (     ) No. - for the transmittal document (   ) Yes  (     ) No. 

3.     Does the executive summary contain sufficient, fact-based information from which you could make a decision if you were the audience?  (     ) Yes   (    ) No

4.     Why

5.     What would you recommend the writer do to make this executive summary even more effective than it is?

Feedback on the Letter or Memorandum of Transmittal:

  1. How does the transmittal document mention the purpose/content of the report and remind the reader why it was written?
  1. Does the document carefully follow the proper format? (  ) Yes   (     )No If you answer No, where are the problems?
  2. How does the final paragraph invite the reader to read the report?

Student Examples:

Refer to the student examples posted on ANGEL.



Solution

Title: Reducing A Company's Travel And Entertainment Costs
Length: 13 pages (3695 Words)
Style: MLA

Preview

INTRODUCTION

Electrovision has always encouraged a significant amount of business travel, believing that it is an effective way of operating. To compensate employees for the inconvenience and stress of frequent trips, management has authorized generous travel and entertainment (T&E) allowances. This philosophy has been good for morale, but the company has paid a price. Last year Electrovision spent $16 million on T&E - $7 million more than it spent on research and development.

Purpose, Scope, and Limitations

The purpose of this report is to analyze the T&E budget; evaluate the impact of recent changes in airfares and hotel costs; and suggest ways to tighten management’s control over T&E expenses. Although the report outlines a number of steps that could reduce Electrovision’s expenses, the precise financial impact of these measures is difficult to project. The estimates presented in the report provide a ‘best guess’ view of what Electrovision can expect to save. Until the company actually implements these steps, however, we won’t know exactly how much the travel and entertainment budget can be reduced.

 Sources and Methods

In preparing this report, the accounting department analyzed internal expense reports for the past five years to determine how much Electrovision spends on travel and entertainment. These figures were then compared with average statistics compiled by Dow Jones (publisher of ###i/i### and presented as the Dow Jones Travel Index. We also analyzed trends and suggestions published in a variety of business journal articles to see how other companies are coping with the high cost of business travel.

 Report Organization

This report reviews the size and composition of Electrovision’s travel and entertainment expenses; analyzes trends in travel costs; and recommends steps for reducing the T&E budget.

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