Monday, November 16, 2009

Once you are hired: Professional Writing in Accounting

First off, let us ask a quick question. What do accountants write? You've been hired and now you need to correspond with your supervisors and colleagues in the appropriate professional language. So back to our question, what will you be writing as an accountant?


Professional business memos follow a strict format, as do most memos. But business memos tend to be more formal so following the proper memo structure is important. This format may vary from company to company so it’s important to learn the specifics for your particular workplace. In general though, a memo follows this format.

To: Recipient name and job title
From: Your name and job title
Date: Date the memo was written or sent (sent is the standard but your company may vary.)
Subject: Topic of memo

This heading provides all the necessary information as an introduction so that the recipient knows what to expect in the memo. Again this type of correspondence is especially more formal so always use full names and titles where appropriate, never nicknames. The subject is also of interest in that you should make sure it clearly and concisely states the purpose of the memo. For example:

Subject: Behavior
Subject: Appropriate Office Behavior

Which more clearly states the purpose of the memo?

Body and Closing

The body should describe more specifically, what the subject alluded to. It should give support for any conclusions drawn or any actions being taken. An action should be part of the memo, in other words, the memo should be asking it recipients to do something. The closing restates the action to be taken and should briefly thank the recipient for their expected adherence to the action. The ending does not need a signature, as the writer was introduced in the heading, but a signature is becoming more common. Check with your company’s format in this detail.


Another big part of professional writing in accounting is e-mail correspondence. Now, again, this is not like normal e-mailing where using smilies and other informal speech is allowed. A business e-mail is a formal document that requires a proper heading with dear and a title, as well as a signature. The body should clearly state purpose and what action if any should be taken.

Accounting Documents:

These types of professional documents usually follow some approved GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) formatting that does not allow you to change their substance for the obvious reason that their substance is wholly related to the finances of a company and any changes may cause financial and legal ramifications. So, in general, if you are an accounting, you know and strictly adhere to these guidelines.

In conclusion, we've discussed several forms of professional writing you may be asked to prepare or view during your career as an accountant and I hope that you now have a better understanding of how to best create and present these pieces in a manner consistent with you professional goals.


"Business Memo Format - LoveToKnow Business." Starting A Business | Home Based Business | Business Cards and more... Web. 17 Nov. 2009. .

"Strategy Memo." Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG. Web. 18 Nov. 2009. .

1 comment:

  1. Adam, thank you very much! great job, I like how well organized you are and how much detail you included.