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© 2010 Ugur Akinci
An executive summary is pretty much what the name suggests: it is a one- or two-page summary of a much longer work.
Its intended audience is executives and upper management staff who have very little time to read the whole work.
There are two main types of executive summaries: those written for reports and those written for business proposals.
The idea with an executive summary is to convey the gist of the report or proposal within as short a time as possible.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a well-written compact executive summary since usually that’s all an executive would read before deciding whether to award you a contract, or approving the results of an experiment or research.
GOLDEN RULE: Keep an executive summary as short as possible without, however, omitting any important details (see below).
A Report Executive Summary should cover the following:
• Main finding of the research.
• Method used to conclude the research (briefly).
• The strength and weaknesses, conditions and reservations, reliability of the finding.
• Implications (policy or otherwise) of the finding.
• Outline of further research needed (if any) on the topic.
A Proposal Executive Summary should have the following parts:
• Introduction of the problem.
• The solution to the problem and why it was chosen among other alternative solutions.
• Who will manage the solution offered and how will it be done?
• How long will the solution last? What are the maintenance and service requirements?
• If any training is needed, who will provide it? How will it be delivered?
• How much will the solution cost and how does it compare to other possible solutions? (Omit this section you are specifically asked to omit in the RFP [Request for Proposal].)
• Why do you think you are the perfect company to deliver this solution?
Here is a SAMPLE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY for a fictitious proposal written in response to an RFP:
Auditing fraudulent medical bills is a problem that costs insurance companies hundreds of millions of dollars every year. [Introducing the problem.]
We offer our unique and patented Pro-MedCatch medical bill audit software system to sniff out legitimate bills from fraudulent ones with 99.5% reliability. Since Pro-MedCatch is built on a SAS (Service as Software) platform, it does not require any expensive installation, on-site upgrades or server maintenance like other solutions require. [The solution to the problem and why it was chosen among other alternative solutions.]
Pro-MedCatch is automatically updated and maintained by our company, by using our Microsoft Certified engineers and technicians, through a cloud-computing interface totally hosted on our reliable Xenon servers. This means you won’t need to invest in any expensive servers or employ your own in-house technical maintenance personnel. Such savings can easily add up to millions of dollars every year, depending on total audit volume. [Who will manage the solution offered and how will it be done?]
The user training needed for Pro-MedCatch will be provided at a special discount by our company at our corporate headquarters by using state of the art and market-tested multimedia systems. This training program is the same one that has won California State Corporate Education Special Award three years in a row, 2008-2010. [If any training is needed, who will provide it? How will it be delivered?]
System Audit Solutions LLC has been in medical bill audit system business since 1989. Out long track record include successes such as overhaul of California State audit system and installing the same software we are offering to you for the World Health Organization’s auditor training academy in Zurich. As the client testimonials included in Appendix A illustrate, we are a company at the cutting edge of innovation with one aim only: to offer our clients the benefit of maximum productivity at minimum bill-unit processing price, and do it with guarantees of scalability and hands-free maintenance. [Why do you think you are the perfect company to deliver this solution?]