Walmart Company is ranked first in Fortune 500 companies, with a revenue of $482, 130 million. It is a company in the retailing sector, in general merchandisers industry. The company CEO is C. Douglas McMillon. The headquarters of the company are in Bentonville, AR. Walmart has made a lot of progress in the 21st century, and is now the second largest online retailer after Amazon in the U.S. (Fortune, 2016). The report under analysis in this paper is Walmart’s 2016 annual report (Walmart, 2016).
Report Type Identification and Its Variance from Other Primary Reports Types
There are three primary types of reports: informational, proposal and analytical (Bovee and Thill, 2015). Walmart’s 2016 annual report is an informational report type (Walmart, 2016). As an informational report, Walmart’s 2016 annual report has mainly provided analysis of that facts about the company for a period of the previous one year. Informational reports are the simplest and the most basic types of reports. Just like any other informational report, Walmart’s 2016 annual report provides its audience with facts, observations and figures on different subjects concerning the company. The report explains how retail is changing and how the company has worked hard to incorporate those changes. For instance, the report points out that, within the past year, Walmart customers saved time and money while shopping because the company was able to create mobile apps and introduce innovative services such as online grocery (Walmart, 2016). The reader understands the company better after reading the report. Since the report’s aim is to provide facts and information to the reader, the authors have provided the most accurate facts as gathered from credible sources.
Although analytical reports provide informative and important facts just like informational reports, the report shows a presentation of analysis of the cited information with an effort to provide ways in which the issues presented can be solved. In analysis reports, the author selects a certain subject on which he/she presents figures and facts (Bovee and Thill, 2015). Later on, the author presents a detailed analysis of the presented figures and facts to enlighten the reader on the subject in the report. Walmart’s 2016 annual report is not an analysis report because, even though it provides figures and facts, it does not present the detailed analysis aiming to solve a problem.
Proposals refer to pieces that are written before the complete report is created. They have methods on the manner in which a certain study should be undertaken. Apart from the methods, proposals explain the importance of undertaking the study. However, proposals are similar to informational reports, in that they list the sources where the facts of completing other reports can be found. It is also similar to analytical report because it presents issues and provides a proposal of the method that should be used in the analysis of the information (Bovee and Thill, 2015). In this case, Walmart’s 2016 annual report is not a proposal because it does not exhibit these characteristics.
A Description of How the Three-Step Writing Process Is Evident
The three-step writing process used in this report consisted of planning, writing, and completion of the message (Demirel, 2011). Planning step refers to the clarification of the objective, adapting the message and analysis of the audience. It is clear from the report, that the audience are the customers, company associates, and shareholders. The first page of the report holds the report title and the caption “Only Walmart”. The caption makes the customers eager to know the products and services that are only in Walmart. In the next eight pages, the report displays images that clearly show the customers, associates and shareholders what the company has achieved in the previous one year. The report introduces its purpose, enlightening the audience on the company’s progress (Walmart, 2016, p.8).
The second step, writing refers to the organization of ideas and composition of the initial draft. In this step, the authors showed their sensitivity while writing the report. When addressing the company associates and shareholders, the language used is polite. For instance the report (Walmart, 2016, p.9) points out, “We want customers to trust us to save them money”. The first section of the report has been written in the simplest language that customers would understand with the help of illustrative pictures. The most crucial points and figures are written in bold, large fonts and in different colors so that the audience can capture the information instantly. The arrangement of the report helps create a good relation with the audience. Financial reports and the less attractive details are towards the end of the report (Walmart. 2016, p. 44).
The third step, completion of the message refers to a review of the content, structure, readability and the overall style. In this step, the report shows that the message was completed well through revision, proofreading, and with a professional appearance. The layout of the report and the mechanics indicate that the report was thoroughly checked to make its completion appealing. The last most important thing in this step is how the message is distributed. This report was written and stored in the company’s website so that the audience can easily access it.
Bovee, C. & Thill, J. (2015). Business Communication Essentials (7th ed.). Pearson College Div.
Demirel, E. (2011). Take it Step by Step: Following a Process Approach to Academic Writing to Overcome Student Anxiety. Journal of Academic Writing, 1(1), 222-227. http://dx.doi.org/10.18552/joaw.v1i1.28
Fortune, (2016). Fortune 500. Fortune. Retrieved 20 November 2016, from http://beta.fortune.com/fortune500/list
Walmart, (2016). Walmart Investor Relations – Investors – Financial Information – Annual Reports & Proxies. Stock.walmart.com. Retrieved 20 November 2016, from http://stock.walmart.com/investors/financial-information/annual-reports-and-proxies/default.aspx
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