Assignment 4: Memo with Graphics
Read the situation below, and then answer the questions that follow in a Word document which you will submit as Assignment 4 in the dropbox. Also post your responses in Discussion 8, in a discussion posting.
You are the executive assistant to Bill Snoman, vice-president of finance at Cool Air Ventilation Systems. He has just called you into his office to discuss department spending.
Bill: There needs to be some serious expense cutting around this place. I can’t believe the kind of money we’re spending recently.
You: Really? I didn’t realize there was a big jump in spending lately.
Bill: Take long-distance phone bills for instance. I just realized that the company’s phone bill keeps going up and up lately. There’s no reason for a big, steady increase like that.
You: No, I can’t think of one.
Bill: Well, I need to find out more, so I can start telling the individual departments responsible to keep costs down. Can you get me the figures on how much each of the four departments spent on long distance for each of the last three months? I want to see the figures of who spent what in July, August, and September.
You: Sure, I can do that. Anything else?
Bill: Yeah. Long distance isn’t the only big expense increase around here lately. I just found out that spending on supplies for the last fiscal year jumped by 40%.
You: Wow. That looks bad.
Bill: I’ll say. So I’ll also need some department info on that area too. So I’ll also need totals on supply spending for each department, and the total company supply budget amount, too. I want to see what each department spent in dollars and as a proportion, so I can identify the source of this issue.
You: Sure. I’ll get that data to you on those two expense areas and write you up a memo by the end of the week.
Bill: Thanks. I’m anxious to start talking to the big spender departments as soon as possible. So, I’d like you to recommend a plan of action in your memo; point out which department or departments I should talk to first, about which spending problems. Give me some suggestions–policies, procedures, incentives, or whatever–to get people to keep these expenses down. And use graphics, will you? It’ll help make the data clear to me and to the departments too!
You do your research and find out each department’s long distance charges for July, August, and September respectively: (Marketing: $398.74, $371.33, $357.68; Accounting: $203.08, $221.18, $209.60; Distribution: $221.87, $255.12, $278.43; and Research & Development: $351.17, $422.04, $506.84).
You also find out what each department spent on supplies during the last fiscal year (Marketing $1194, Accounting $506, R&D $570, Distribution $430, Miscellaneous $300). “Miscellaneous” covers the supplies purchased that weren’t bought for a specific department. The company’s supplies budget for the year was $3000.
Don’t write the memo for Bill, just answer the questions below about
- the two graphics
- your planning for a document that would present and explain your findings, and give him your suggestions for reducing expenses.
Use the Module and the textbook pages for this week to help you answer these questions:
- What would the communication objective (or document purpose) for this memo be?
- Based on your answer, decide upon the memo’s subject line, and any section subheadings within the memo.
- What type of graphic would you choose for department phone costs? Why?
Which type of graphic would you choose for department supply costs? Why?
- In your answers, include a brief description of the strength of the type of graphic you chose, and why that strength is important or relevant to each of the specific situations above.
- Create a title for each requested graphic, and include the graphic’s numbering.
- Write one sentence that would introduce each graphic (the text that would be just before each graphic), and one or two sentences to explain each graphic’s significance (the text that would follow each graphic in the document).