13 Task 10: Write an Executive Summary

Learning Objectives

By the time you complete this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key components of an executive summary in a marketing report
  • Draft a complete and concise executive summary

Writing an Executive Summary

First of all, before you begin writing, ask yourself some key questions about executive summaries.

  1. What are the criteria for your executive summary in this assignment?
  2. What is the purpose of an executive summary? What do you want the reader to think, do, or feel as a result of reading the document?
  3. Who is your audience? If someone wrote an executive summary outside of a classroom setting, who might the readers be?

Now, consider the example executive summaries below.

Executive Summary Example 1

This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the current and prospective profitability, liquidity and financial stability of Outdoor Equipment Ltd. Methods of analysis include trend, horizontal and vertical analyses as well as ratios such as Debt, Current and Quick ratios. Other calculations include rates of return on Shareholders Equity and Total Assets and earnings per share to name a few. All calculations can be found in the appendices. Results of data analyzed show that all ratios are below industry averages. In particular, comparative performance is poor in the areas of profit margins, liquidity, credit control, and inventory management.

The report finds the prospects of the company in its current position are not positive. The major areas of weakness require further investigation and remedial action by management. Recommendations discussed include:
improving the average collection period for accounts receivable·
improving/increasing inventory turnover·
reducing prepayments and perhaps increasing inventory levels

The report also investigates the fact that the analysis conducted has limitations. Some of the limitations include:
forecasting figures are not provided nature and type of company is not known nor the current economic conditions data limitations as not enough information is provided or enough detail i.e. monthly details not known results are based on past performances not present. [1]

Executive Summary Example 2

This report was commissioned to examine why the sales volume of Choice Chocolate has dropped over the past two years since its peak in 1998 and to recommend ways of increasing the volume.

The research draws attention to the fact that in 1998, the market share of Choice Chocolate was 37%. The shares of their key competitors such as Venus and Bradbury were 22% and 18% respectively. The size of the chocolate market then was $36 million. Over the next two years, although Choice Chocolate retained its market share the volume of sales in the whole market decreased to $29 million. Further investigations reveal that this market shrinkage coincided with an increase in health awareness amongst consumers who regard the milk and sugar ingredients in chocolate as negative; moreover, since the second half of 1999, an increasing number of rival ‘health candies’ had appeared on the market. These claimed to offer the consumers a healthy alternative. These factors appear to be the major causes of the decreased sales volume of Choice Chocolate.

Slim Choice is the latest chocolate range put forward by the R & D Department of Choice Chocolate. The report evaluates this range and concludes that it would be an ideal candidate to meet the challenge presented by the market and could satisfy the new consumer demand since it uses significantly reduced milk and sugar ingredients and is endorsed by renowned health experts. According to 97% of the 2000 subjects tested recently, it also retains the same flavour as the original range.

It is recommended:
that Choice Chocolate take immediate measures to launch and promote Slim Choice alongside its existing product range;
that Slim Choice adopt a fresh and healthy image;
that part of the launch campaign contains product endorsement statements by renowned health experts;
that Slim Choice be available in health food shops as well as in traditional chocolate retail outlets. [2]

What do you notice about the content of these executive summaries?


How is an executive summary different from an introduction?

  1. Excerpt from Woodward-Kron, R. (1997) Writing in Commerce: a guide to assist Commerce students with assignment writing, (Revised edition), Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle.
  2. Summary text from: https://unilearning.uow.edu.au/report/4bi1.html#Footnote1


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