ACCM4600 Issues in Accounting Theory

ACCM4600 Report writing notes Page 1
ACCM4600 Issues in Accounting Theory and
Contemporary Issues
Report writing
During your time as a student you will be asked to submit different types of assessment
tasks. Each of these types has different guidelines. This guide focuses on reports.
Most businesses have a ‘house style’ which describes their preferred style of report format.
Kaplan Business School also have a preferred format for their assessment reports. It is
described in this guide.
There are three stages to report completion:
• Planning
• Researcing and writing
• Editing
Planning the report
The planning stage of a long report is very time-consuming, but is critical to writing an
effective document.
Seven steps in planning a report are:
• Define the problem and purpose – carefully review the assessment question and
decide whether the report is to give information or to persuade the reader
• Consider the reader – sometimes the reader is the Subject Lecturer but, in other
cases, the Lecturer will describe the readership which may, for example, be a
manager or a board of directors
• Determine the ideas to include – brainstorm ideas on the main points that should be
• Collect the information – this is the research phase of the planning where keywords
from your ideas will be used in the search for articles and textbooks
• Sort and evaluate the information – be critical and only use credible, current
• Organise the information – determine the most logical structure to present the
• Prepare the outline – provide headings with a brief summary of the content under
each heading
Researching the report
KBS subscribes to a number of excellent research databases. You will be able to find
credible, current sources on these databases. You can access them on
Use appropriate research search, notetaking, paraphrasing and referencing strategies.
ACCM4600 Report writing notes Page 2
Writing the report
These parts should be included in the report.
1. Letter of transmittal / covering email
This is a covering letter which ‘transmits’ the report to the person who requested it. Below is
a sample letter of transmittal.
Dear Mr Wang
Enclosed is the report you commissioned on 12 May 2013 on the financial viability of the
new software system. The main findings of the report are:
• that the new software will require upgrades of the hardware;
• that the staff will require additional training;
• that productivity of the accounts department will increase 4% in the 12 months after
It should be considered that the sales executive of the software company, Ms Dianne Evers,
was unavailable for consultation throughout the period in which this report was being
researched, so her input should be sought before any further decisions are made. I would
like to acknowledge the assistance of the IT Head, Mr John Brown, in writing this report.
Finally, I would like to thank you for the opportunity this report gave me to familiarise myself
with the range of accounting software products and to work with the staff
Yours sincerely
Stan Johns
2. Title page
This contains the following information, centred and evenly spaced down the page
• the title of the report e.g. Investigation into the viability of replacing the software
• the author/s of the report and their position/s (e.g. John Smith, Senior Accountant)
• the date the report was submitted
• to whom the report was submitted (e.g. client name).
3. Table of contents
Use the MS Word Table of Contents feature to ensure that the table is professionally
presented. It also automatically changes the table to reflect any changes made in the report.
4. List of figures or tables (if appropriate)
ACCM4600 Report writing notes Page 3
5. Executive summary (also known as preface, abstract or synopsis)
This provides the reader with an overview of the report. The reader will read the executive
summary in order to decide whether they need to read the whole report. The executive
summary should briefly outline the subject matter, the purpose and background,the
research method, the important findings and important issues raised in the discussion, the
conclusion and recommendations. The executive summary should not just be an outline of
the points to be covered in the report with no detail of the actual findings. It is usually written
last (so that it accurately reflects the content of the report) and is single spaced and not
more than a page.
6. Introduction – start numbering here
The introduction should include some or all of the following:
• Background: What circumstances were the impetus for this report?
• Purpose: What is the purpose of the report?
• Scope: What issues are discussed in the report? What issues are not covered?
• Research methods: How was the data in this report obtained?
• Definition of terms: What specific terminology is used in that the reader may not be
familiar with?
• Limitations: What constraints (e.g. time, resources, data) were there?
• Assumptions: What has the writer assumed about background, concepts, language
and reader awareness?
7. Discussion
This section expands and develops the material. It should be factual, current and objective.
Provide a balanced and comprehensive discussion with evidence for argument.
Graphics can add clarity to the findings but if they are going to interfere with the flow of the
text, put them in an appendix. If a graphic is used, it should be referred to and explained in
the text. Number and title your graphic and list it in the List of Tables.
8. Conclusion
This section should contain an overview of the report content and lead to the
recommendations to follow.
9. Recommendations
This section contains proposed specific actions that should flow from the conclusions. There
should be no new material in the conclusions or recommendations sections.
Conclusions and recommendations should have their foundation demonstrated in the body
of the document.
10. Appendices
ACCM4600 Report writing notes Page 4
Appendices contain material and graphics that would interfere with the flow of ideas if
placed in the body.
11. Reference list
Refer to the Referencing guide on Kaplnk for guidelines for preparing the reference list.
Editing the report
Professional presentation of reports is very important. The report should be free of all
formatting and presentation errors. Ensure that the report is carefully proofread before it is
submitted. Below are the KBS report style and format guides.
1. Referencing style
Intext referencing should follow the KBS referencing guidelines (see the guide on Kaplink).
2. Headings
Use headings separate the main points. The KBS house style requires the main headings
(Introduction, main discussion headings, conclusion, and recommendations) and
subheadings (background, purpose) to be numbered. The recommendations should be
numbered for easy reference.
3. Format
The report should be 1.5 line spaced, left justified and use Arial 11 font. Main headings
should be bold, Arial 14 font and second level headings be bold, Arial 12 font.
There should be one blank line before and after each heading.
A header with the report title and author name should be on each page except the title page.
All pages except the letter of transmittal, title page and table of contents must be numbered.
The forematter pages (Table contents, list of tables and executive summary) should have
Roman numerals (i, ii, iii…) and all other pages have Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3…).
Professional competencies marks are allocated for research skills, writing style and the
report format. Ensure that you:
• Follow the report format
• Check presentation is professional
• Refer to previous Professional Competencies eg writing styles
• See ASC staff for support with language, research and report structure
• Carefully check the marking rubric

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