As a consultant, proficiency in reporting data is of paramount of importance. If a consultant is unable to provide the client with clear data in a useful format that is easily understood and actionable, the client will question what exactly they hired the consultant for. This is why developing a clear approach to report formatting is important.
There are a wide range of reporting formats available with varying degrees of depth and difficulty. For instance, one report format from Marrietta College required 20 sections with multiple subsections included (Thomas, 2013). On the other end of the spectrum, the Asian Forum on Business Education provides a simple format for reports that includes a short summary, organizational details, organizational analysis, issues discovered, conclusions and recommendations (“Consulting Report Template | AFBE – Asian Forum on Business Education,” n.d.). What is the balance of these two examples?
First of all, a good report provides information to the client that is practical and useful; it must be easy for the client to understand the information being given to them as well as useful to informing other managers throughout the organization (Stroh & Johnson, 2006). The consultant must establish at the beginning whether or not their responsibility is to simply report their findings or if there is an expectation of recommendations desired by the client (Stroh & Johnson, 2006). If there is a desire for recommendations, then the consultant would want to further clarify if recommendation of implementation is also desired, and all of this should be included in the analysis report to the client (Stroh & Johnson, 2006).
A basic report that covers all the necessary bases would include a cover page, executive summary, purpose of the study, method used, treatment of data, presentation of results, recommendations and implementation strategy, and summary (Stroh & Johnson, 2006).
Buono, A. F. (Ed.). (2004). Creative consulting: innovative perspectives on management consulting. Greenwich, Conn: Information Age Pub.
Consulting Report Template | AFBE – Asian Forum on Business Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.afbe.biz/main/?page_id=74
Stroh, L. K., & Johnson, H. H. (2006). The basic principles of effective consulting. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Thomas, B. H. (2013). General Outline for Business Consulting Reports. Retrieved from http://w3.marietta.edu/~catalant/Management%20451.pdf