General Tips to Keep in Mind
by Sally Hu, Writing Consultant
(printable version here)
Writing in accounting does not tolerate empty, flowery words or sentences. Everything written must have a purpose and a role in conveying information to a specific audience. For most documents, the length is not important. What matters is the depth, accuracy, and relevancy of the information that is being conveyed.
Many of these tips apply to all kinds of business writing. However, to reiterate the essentials, focus on these when you begin writing:
- Write clearly and concisely: You are conveying very important information. It is crucial to make sure that your audience can easily understand what you are saying and that they are not forced to make assumptions or interpret any vague statements or information. ("Writing in Accounting")
- Understand the question or issue: Why are you writing? What question are you trying to answer? By figuring out where you stand on an issue will help you figure out what to write, how you will go about to support your position, and what statistics and data you may need to enhance your argument ("How to Write"). Straying from the main topic will confuse your audience or induce them to misinterpret your point.
- Know your audience: This is particularly important because you need to gauge how knowledgeable your audience is when determining how you are going to approach writing your paper. You need to know if your audience will understand the technical terms that you will be using and the concepts that you will be applying, or if you will need to provide extra explanation to get your point across.
- Organize and structure your ideas: Outline the progression of your argument. Know when you will bring up certain points and how you will support your claims. Organize the flow of your ideas in a way that you believe your audience will be able to easily follow and that will best convey your argument. ("Before You Begin")
- Develop a thesis: Regardless of what you write as a student or as a business professional, developing a thesis will focus the main point of your writing, better organize your thoughts, and clarify the purpose of your writing for your audience ("Before You Begin"). Know what you are going to argue or convey, and convey that to your audience.
- Use accurate information and data: It is absolutely crucial that all the data and statistics that you use to support your claims are completely accurate and up to date. To repeat, the question or issue you are discussing might influence your audience to make a specific decision, and any error has the potential to drop your grade dramatically or even get you fired from your job. Accuracy is essential.
- Support all assertions: Any claims that you make must be supported by concrete facts or figures. Making an assertion without backing it up with evidence will undermine your credibility and weaken your argument.
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