When writing a dissertation, sometimes you are required to write a separate advisory report. An advisory report is usually written for a company or establishment that wishes to implement the author’s advice. This article will explore more advisory reports, including their structure and function.
Definition: Advisory report
An advisory report is a document from an expert that provides its reader with recommendations and advice on a particular topic. It is also called an expert report and it is prepared for companies or organizations that aim to act on an expert’s advice. It is typically centered on well-substantiated opinions and facts.1
When is an advisory report relevant?
This report is relevant when you want to provide concrete and well-researched opinions and recommendations to a client. It may also serve as an evaluation report for a client when it is started with an advisory research question.2
An advisory report is also relevant when you wish to set out the best practices to be implemented and necessary controls for improving a company or organizations in a specific subject area.3
Structuring an advisory report
There is no standard structure for these reports since different companies have varying requirements. The key is finding out what your client requires. However, all advisory reports do have a standard basic structure.
|Section of the report||Description||Length|
|Title page||This page must be professional and appealing, like a dissertation’s title page. It must contain the following:
• Report title/subtitle
• Name of the author
• Date, place, and year
|One A4 page|
|Executive summary||This section is not necessary if the report is short. It aims to provide the reader with a brief overview of your advice and recommendations. It must be as short as possible.||One or half an A4 page|
|Table of contents||You can apply the rules for making a dissertation table of contents.2||One A4 page|
|Introduction||This section provides further information on the issue at hand, like the background and context. It also explores the main research question and study parameters.1||Less than one A4 page|
|Research design||This section summarizes your research design.1||One or half an A4 page|
|Solutions or alternative measures||This is the most important and hardest section to write. It gives an outline of the possible steps toward implementing the recommendations and weighs them against the possible constraints. It also contains brief substantiations of each solution.4 This section should answer the following questions:
• How would the solution resolve the problem and within what period?
• What are the pros and cons of the measure?
• Is there evidence that the measure would be effective?
• What would it take to implement the measure (money, time, resources)?
|A maximum of three A4 pages|
|Conclusion||This section identifies the ultimate recommendation and justifies it.3 It covers the following:
• The proposed solution(s)
• Implementation steps in order
|A maximum of one A4 page|
|Sources||All sources used to prepare the report should be listed.1||One A4 page|
Tips for writing an advisory report
Besides the basic structure of an advisory report, you may also benefit from a few writing tips. Below are effective tips for writing an advisory report.
Deciding on an advisory report
The first step is deciding whether you will provide a separate advisory report with your dissertation. You should make this decision with your client at the beginning of your research.4 If you decide to prepare the report, then you must also seek clarifications on the purpose and intended readers of the advisory report. This information will guide the preparation process.1
Design and content
Next, find out your client’s expectations about the design and content of the advisory report. You can start with the structure explained above as the starting point. Also, you can request to review similar reports prepared for your client. This will give you an idea of what they expect. Ensure to get clarifications on the submission date, length, and other elements the client would want you to consider.
Checklist of an advisory report
Next, prepare a checklist for your expert report. You can adjust the checklist based on your client’s requirements.2 Your checklist may include:
- How the solutions will contribute towards resolving the issue at hand
- How long will the measure take to provide solutions
- The pros and cons of the measures
- The best-presented measure (in order)
- Requirements for implementation
Keep in check with the purpose
Your expert report should be brief and to the point. It should be easy to understand and be in check with its purpose.3
Always ask for feedback from your client and other stakeholders on a draft before finalizing your expert report.4
It is a document prepared by an expert and presented separately from a dissertation to provide recommendations for possible solutions for a specific issue.
A separate expert report is easy and more convenient to read. Readers can easily learn about your recommendations without reading an entire dissertation.
The report aims to provide expert and well-substantiated advice and recommendations regarding the solutions for an issue faced in an organization or company.
It contains a list of measures and recommendations that a company can implement to resolve a particular issue. It is usually clear and straightforward.
1 The Academy of Experts. “What is an expert report?” Accessed on April 19, 2023. https://academyofexperts.org/users-of-experts/what-is-an-expert-report/.
2 ACCA Global. “The pros and cons of advisory reports.” Accessed on April 19, 2023. https://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/member/sectors/internal-audit/our-publications/the-pros-and-cons-of-advisory-reports.html.
3 University of Reading. “Report Writing.” Accessed on April 19, 2023. https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/reports/structuring.
4 Belin, Adela. “How to write a consulting report: 6 best practices.” August 27, 2021. https://pointerpro.com/blog/consulting-report-best-practices/.