Chapter 9 Synopsis
Accountants write letters to a variety of people including clients, government agencies, and other professionals. Letters must contain correct and complete information in order to be effective. Letters must also be written in a professional manner.
Most letters are no longer than a page. Before writing a letter you should always think about what needs to be included so you don’t forget anything important. One thing to keep in mind is the level of knowledge and experience of the intended reader. You may have to explain certain material in great detail if the reader’s knowledge is limited on the topic being discussed. If the intended reader has a great deal of knowledge on the topic being discussed than you don’t need to worry about writing at their level as much.
A letter is organized into an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Each section should contain summary sentences to emphasize the main ideas of the letter. The introduction should discuss the topic of the letter and why it was written. It should also mention previous communication on the topic, as well as a summary of the main ideas or recommendations discussed in the letter. The body should be divided up by each subject that will be discussed. They should be arranged in descending order of importance from the intended reader’s point of view. The conclusion should be kept short. It should discuss what you want the reader to do, or what you will do to follow up on the subjects discussed. It may also be used to summarize your main ideas.
A letter should be clear and concise. It should get to the point quickly in a clear manner. All letters should be courteous and respectful. The ideal tone for a letter depends upon the purpose of the letter and its intended reader. Letters should have a neat appearance. Letters should be printed on 8.5 X 11-inch paper, and the envelopes should be 4 X 10-inches. Both the letter and the envelope should be free from error. Letters are usually single-spaced with double spacing between paragraphs. Margins should be at least one inch one all sides.
The heading should be at the top of the page on the left or right side. The heading should contain your address and the date. It’s usually better to address a letter to a specific person than to an office or title. You should address you correspondent by his/her name. Make sure you find out the gender of your correspondent if it is not clear. It is okay to use his/her first name if you know them well. Your name should be printed four lines below the closing. If a letter is more than one page, the last page should have at least three lines of text in addition to the heading and closing.
When you reply to someone else’s letter you should respond quickly, preferably by mail. Read the letter and note any questions