Do you think that since you are a “numbers” person, you can get away with poor writing skills? Not so. Written communication skills are essential to all business professionals (including accountants) who write memos, letters or reports.

Yes, I understand that accountants, in public practice or industry must accurately present financial information. But, beyond that they need to communicate clearly their interpretation and analysis of what the numbers mean. To guide your organization or your client’s financial decisions, you must communicate clearly by organizing your ideas logically and following the standard conventions of good business writing.

No doubt about it. Writing is not easy. But, if you can become an effective communicator, you will excel in your career over those who do not. A great way to improve is to ask a co-worker whose writing you admire to read your memos or reports and give you feedback. I also recommend using some key reference guides like the Elements of Style by Strunk and White to help you when you’re unsure about proper punctuation or grammar.

According to management consultant, John L. Daly, something as simple as using the proofing and style features of Microsoft Word can help make you a better writer. John points out that accountants frequently write with too many passive sentences, and score low on readability tests. In his upcoming webcast on April 21, John will talk about how to take your writing to the next level.