We all like language in my family. We remember the jumbled words from our childhoods, like ‘minkle’ for milk, and ‘nairny’ for aeroplane, and we often talk about words and writing.
So it wasn’t unusual for one family member to circulate a business letter they received recently from their accountant, FOI. For Our Interest.
The letter was easy to understand, so it wasn’t that aspect that caught our attention. It was this: while the letter had the layout of a business letter, it somehow didn’t feel like one. This distracted us from the message. And represents a wasted opportunity for the writer of the letter.
None of us wants to waste opportunities, so don’t let this happen to you. Straightforward edits can improve your writing and ensure that it achieves its purpose.
This post looks at how poor writing can mean your message doesn’t get through. You’ll see clear examples and helpful tips on how to edit a business letter. (The tips are relevant for other types of writing too.)
Business letter – essential edits
Here’s an extract from the business letter. I’ve underlined areas I’d change to make the letter more effective.
Before reading about my edits, you could take this opportunity to practise your own editing skills. What would you change to make the letter sound more formal and professional?
Business letter extract – before editing
I would like to take this opportunity to fill you in on some exciting new changes within EAC.
We are transitioning to use DOLA accounting software and proud to be Silver Partners with DOLA, which is a cloud based bookkeeping and accounting solution. We are transitioning to use this in our own practice as well as recommending to clients for their own bookkeeping. It provides you with instant knowledge of your bank information, accessibility and ability to invoice from anywhere (even at the beach!) budgeting and reporting, including preparation of your own BAS and much more. For a small monthly fee, as little as $22 per month, you can be a part of this! – no more updates required and storage is provided. All our staff have been trained up on the use of this software. www.dolla.com
Key edits with commentary
The following tables show edits that improve the business letter by ensuring:
- consistent (formal) word choice
- concise, clear and grammatical sentences
Business letter extract – after editing
Here’s the edited letter, now a consistently formal business letter made up of grammatical sentences that are clear and to the point.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of exciting changes within EAC.
EAC is now proud to be a Silver Partner with DOLA, a cloud-based accounting and bookeeping software solution. We are implementing DOLA and recommending it to clients. For a small monthly fee, DOLA provides instant access to all your banking data, plus tools for invoicing, budgeting, reporting, preparing your BAS, and more. For more information, please visit www.dolla.com.
This letter is much more likely to achieve its purpose. Readers would respond to its professional tone, and feel comfortable and assured in their choice of accounting business. They might even mention it to their friends ..
Do you make a point of carefully editing and proofreading your writing? Or do you have a person dedicated to these jobs in your office? I’d love to know about your editing experiences.
At Edit Proofread Write, I help small business owners, professionals and academics use the right language to achieve your goals.