Difference Between Executive Summary and Conclusion

Executive Summary vs Conclusion

While most of us are aware of the term conclusion and know its use and importance in an essay or a report, there is another term executive summary that confuses many people in the corporate world. This is because of the similarities between conclusion and executive summary, also called management summary, which provides an overview of the report or the business plan and the conclusion that summarizes the main points of the business plan or the report. Despite similarities, there are differences between executive summary and conclusion that will be highlighted in this article.

Executive Summary

Executive summary is a term that is reserved for summaries that are in use, in businesses, and are prepared by executives with the main aim to provide a condensed overview of a large report. It is made to let the reader know in a very short time the highlights of a business plan or report as executives in a company do not have a lot of free time to devote to detailed study of a business plan. Often it is this executive summary that clinches the deal for a company if it has been prepared in an effective manner. Executive summary tells in short about a company, its current position, the business idea, and why does the executive think it will be a very successful idea. If you have prepared the executive report, you have to make sure that the summary is indeed interesting and contains all the highlights to grab the interest of a potential investor in your company.

One can write the executive summary in a single page though it can be up to 10 pages long. It is usually not more than 10% of the entire length of the business plan or report. An executive summary is meant to be read by an executive who does not have free time to go through the entire report. Many people consider executive summary to be an overview of the long report that is presented in the front of the report. It is in itself sufficient to reach a decision as it contains all the points that are required for the decision.


Every business plan or a report has a conclusion that is presented at the end of the report. It usually reminds the reader the aims of the report and in short tells what the report has been able to achieve. The conclusion of a report is usually reserved to highlight the findings or to mention the major points of the report. There is an analysis of the report in a bid to present one’s evaluation. You do not read a conclusion to expect something new as it merely summarizes what has already been done. A conclusion lets us know if the objective of the report has been achieved and the methodology that was used to get to the findings or the results of the report.

What is the difference between Executive Summary and Conclusion?

• Executive summary is an overview of a report whereas conclusion is the evaluation of the report.

• Executive summary is meant to be read by busy executives as they do not have time to read a full report.

• Conclusion summarizes the highlights and the findings of a report and is presented at the end of a report whereas executive summary is presented at the front of the report.