Which formal document is the best and why

I contrasted two letters from two different companies. The first letter I analysed was from ‘Sharkey’s Hardware’ and the second letter was from ‘David Silver Spares’. These two companies differ greatly in many ways including; size, location and genre of products. As a result of these immense differentiations they operate in a completely different way.

Sharkey’s hardware is a very small family owned DIY store located in Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh. Although he is operating on a small scale he still sends out formal letters to his customers.

The letter I received from Sharkey’s hardware is very professional and looks very formal. It is word processed and incorporates headed paper containing a logo. All the relevant details are contained in the letter head and all the information is easy to understand due to its size. The letter includes my address, date, and message and has been signed by the proprietor. This letter gets straight to the point is very easy to understand and well spaced. This letter also looks very authentic as it has the letterhead and is signed. Clearly Sharkey’s a small firm has spent lots of time creating this letter and preparing the headed paper. The letter is printed on plain white A4 paper and is printed in B&W.

However this letter is still very basic compared with the other letter I received from David Silver Spares.

The letter I received from David Silver Spares is much more advanced as expected due to the size of this company. This company has a much wider market and probably sends out hundreds of letters every day. Corporate image therefore is very important to this company whereas it is not such an important factor for Sharkey’s hardware. Clearly money and time has been spent preparing the template for this letter and the actual contents. There is a letterhead printed in colour with a colour logo and the letter is printed on cream A4 paper. This letter is also more functional due to the fact that it includes an account number field and a RE (Reference). It is divided up much better than Sharkey’s letter and uses formatting mainly in the form of bold much more efficiently. This letter also includes a border whereas Sharkey’s letter doesn’t include any features to improve the presentation.

Because of all the reasons stated above in my opinion the letter from David Silver Spares is much more functional, attractive and user friendly. As a result I would recommend that Percy Travel incorporate all of the features of this letter into their own letters as it will greatly benefit the company.

Credit Notes:

I contrasted credit notes from two different companies. The first credit note I contrasted was from a company called ‘Auto Trader Northern Ireland’ and the second credit note was from ‘Sharkey’s Hardware’. Again both of these companies differ in a number of ways including: size, and genre of products. Both companies are located in Northern Ireland however the Autotrader operates on a massive scale compared with Sharkey’s Hardware.

The purpose of a credit note is to provide a clear concise description of a reimbursement for a product or service. A credit note should be easily cross reference-able with the statement at the end of the month.

The way both of these firms operate has been the basis for the design and function of their credit notes. For instance as the Autotrader operates on a much larger scale they send hundreds of credit notes out every week whereas Sharkey’s may send one. Therefore these credit notes take a different design even though they both carry out the same function.

The credit note I received from the Autotrader contains much more detailed information than the credit note I received from Sharkey’s hardware. Autotrader’s credit note is very colourful and printed on a colour printer whereas Sharkey’s is very dull and printed in black and white. The Autotrader gives a clear reference for this credit note in three forms. A ‘DOC NO’, ‘REF’ and ‘ACC NO.’. Therefore the credit note is very user friendly and easy to cross reference with a statement.

Sharkey’s credit note is also very user-friendly and functional although though it does not promote the same quality of corporate image. It looks much less formal and looks very basic whereas the Autotrader’s looks the opposite.

Both these credit notes could easily carry out their purpose within a business. However the credit note issued does it better and promotes a better corporate image. Therefore Percy Travel should use all of the features and advantages discussed relating to the Autotrader’s credit note. I think the most beneficial factor to be taken from this comparison is the use of colour as a means of promoting company image.


I contrasted invoices from two different companies. The first invoice I contrasted was from a company called ‘Auto Trader Northern Ireland’ and the second invoice was from ‘David Silver Spares’. These companies would be of similar size but differ in a number of ways including: target audience and genre of products. The ‘Auto Trader Northern Ireland’ is located in Northern Ireland whilst ‘David Silver Spares’ are located in Suffolk, England.

The purpose of an invoice is to inform a customer what they owe for a transaction. It must list the products purchased and should also have some document number. This document number is then used on a statement to link a due payment to a certain invoice. It should also include standard information such as the date.

The invoice I received from David Silver seems to be much more detailed and looks more formal than that used by the Autotrader. However I get the impression that the Autotrader are trying to lose the formal look of invoices due to the layout used on their invoices. Both invoices carry out their primary function and both include document numbers so could be easily liked to a statement.

In my opinion I like both of the invoices but each invoices sends out a different message to the customer. The invoice from David Silver adapts the old formal style of invoice whereas the Autotrader’s invoice adapts a newer style. The newer style looks a lot better and still carries out the primary functions of an invoice. There is much more colour used and all the sections are broken up with the help of coloured borders.

From the simple reason that we are moving into a changing environment I would prefer to adapt the newer style used by the Autotrader. It presents their company as been an up-to-date ever-changing organisation moving with the time. In my opinion I feel that this style develops a better corporate image and this is why I would prefer the invoice used by the Autotrader.


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