Friday, September 28, 2007

How to Write a Good Management Report

How to Write a Good Management Report

As one of Management in a bank, the management makes decisions almost every day during the meeting. I believe most of the time of top management are attending regular meeting and where we make decisions on operational issues and policy matters.

Management make decisions on the reports given before the meeting or many times during the meeting. A challenge to management is to make decision solely on the report presented during the meeting. It becomes harder when management have limited time to think, analyse, evaluate and decide.

Based on my 30 years experience, a good report presented to management for decision making should have this minimum guidelines:

Executive Summary

>>A report which has more than 15 pages should have an executice summary and is appeared on the top of the main report. Executive summary must have tittle even though sometime I find it does have. But it would help some management who have limited time to read full report.

>>An executive summary should have not more than 3 pages with one and half single spacing and font size 12.

>>An Executive summary should be precise, simple and easy to understand. Good executive summary should should have short sentences and precise.

>>The writer should bold or highlight important words, this would capture the eyes of management during his reading the report.

>Main Report

A good report is written in simple way, precise and easy to understand. Like a song, writing is an art. So, a good report should have a combination of short sentences and long sentences.

A good management report should follow this simple guideline:


The topic a writter choose should be clear and represent the whole subject.

>> Introduction

Should tell the objective of the report-whether to ask management to make decision or just an information report. No point a management crack his head in reading the report where at the end it is only an information report.

>>Back Ground

This is a early part of the body report. The background of the matter should be clearly stated. Not all top management are fimiliar with the subject matter they want to make decision. For example, an credit manager may not fimilair with the human resource matter; also a finance manager may not be fimiliar what was going on in IT department. I consider background is like "warm up reading"!

>>Analysis & Justification

This is a true reporting because it will tell the story and justification. Analysis and justification are crucial in any report because it would lead to deliver recommendation and right decision.

As general rule, if you have three alternatives where the management will decide on of them, so you must have three types of analysis and justification. Your justification must not be biassed. If not, report integrity would be questined! And your report will not be accepted before management have not yet the full report.

>>Arrangement of Analysis

Management normally will read fast and will focus his reading on key phrases and main points of the report. So, it is important for a writer to arrange the paragraphs according to priority. It means, important paraghraphs (points/issues) should be come first and follows by less priority paragraphs. Nevertheless, like water flow, a writer must maintain the 'flow of thinking'and in logical sequence.

>>Helicopter View

An 'helicopter view' means you write general picture first rather than detail first. Management interested to know total picture (macro view) first and follow by it explanation (micro level). In this case, when you plan to write a paragraph, you should write general or macro view first in the first and second sentences. This is to make sure management would not miss important points.


A report to managemtent is for the management to make decision. So, after anlysis is done, your recommendation must be clearly stated.


Before you ask management to make decision based on the recommendation, you should motivate the management what you expect the outcome with the decision. For example, it would help to increase the efficientcy of the organisation. One sentence is enough.

Appendix and additional reports

Management can ask many information when the writer table his report. But, is not practical to put all the information in main report. But you can do is to put all the information in appendix and number it as Appendix 1, Appendix 2.... If management request any detail information, then the writer will guide the management to refer the information in the appendixs.

About the Author
Abd Rahaman Rasid is an Assistant General Manager, Corporate Planning, Bank Pertanian Malaysia. He can be contacted by email or

You can visit his website: My Years With Agrobank


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