Presenting information in the correct manner
Professional marks are awarded for the overall quality of answers, and for effective professional communication skills.
Between 4-6 professional marks will be available in the ATX paper and you getting them depends on you being able to present information in the necessary formats.
What are the formats?
A letter should start with the sender’s address details (put the company name and follow with ‘Address line 1, Address line 2’, etc below it) and the date.
The letter should commence with ‘Dear XXXXX’ as specified in the requirements.
Throughout the text of the letter, write in the first person, using phrases such as ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘your board’, and ‘our company’ to personalise.
Keep the audience and their interests in mind throughout, and refer to them on occasions to make it clear how your answer is still clearly focused.
Conclude with a suitable sentence, thanking the reader for their interest or time.
Use ‘Yours faithfully’ where the addressee is anonymous, such as ‘shareholders’. Use ‘Yours sincerely’ if the addressee is named.
A memo is generally written to a particular person or persons (such as a board committee or the CEO).
A memo format will need to be headed ‘Memorandum’ and have the To/From/Date/Subject information at the top.
The style of writing will be precise and factual, leaving little room for interpretation.
It will be written in the first person, directly addressing the person at whom it is aimed (‘you’) and identifying the author as ‘I’.
The purpose of a report is usually to inform, occasionally providing recommendations or suggestions for future action.
It will have a wider circulation than a memo and is hence more formal in style and wording.
Like a memo, it will be written in the first person.
The initial structure of a report is similar to that of a memo, although the heading would be ‘Report’.
It is good practice to provide an introduction or ‘Terms of Reference’ section at the start, stating exactly what the report aims to cover, and to finish with a summary or conclusion.
Use of headings and sub-headings will not only improve presentation but also add to the ease of reading by the audience of the report (and the marker of your exam).
These will be required to provide information to brief a board or committee, or external parties such as institutional shareholders, on a particular event or decision.
They will need to be well structured, focusing on the key points at the start, with background information provided later.
Briefing notes, along with management reporting narratives and press statements, should be written in the third person, referring to ‘the company’, ‘XYZ Ltd’ and ‘the board’, rather than ‘I’ or ‘we’.
You need to get the format correct, but you must also mention:
State and explain and assumptions made when arriving at the conclusion.
Explain any other non tax factors that should be considered.