Eric Williams Dry. Newman Accounting Communication Chapter 1: Accounting in Communications Chapter 1 deals with another side of accounting not often taught or discussed but vitally important for anyone in business, communication. Essentially, the game is changing. No longer can students merely learn theories and principles of accounting and expect to succeed. The competition is fierce both here and overseas. Fortunately, anyone can learn to be an effective writer. It is a skill, not innate, and thus can be taught and learned, and continually improved upon.
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As mentioned before, a major theme in Chapter 1 is that the game is changing. The book in more detail state that soft skills, namely communication, are often Just as important if not more important than the technical skills all accountants are assumed to possess to some level or other. The major difference is how they relate the technical nature in a meaningful, concise, and coherent form. The CPA expounds upon this, saying that in terms of effective communication, key candidates must possess proficient grammar, style, and tone among numerous other written skills.
Managers are letting groups and individuals know their intense desire of such skills. Many complain of the lack of communication skills of entry level accountants. The book states that some are so dissatisfied they are forced to terminate those lacking. That being said, the value of good communication, not Just written, but speaking, listening, and analyzing (words) are paramount. Increasingly, these skills cannot be overlooked; and in today’s environment, said skills must be continually harnessed and improved if one wants to not only keep his or her Job, but to get ahead as well.
The book deals with various types of communication, mostly written. They come in various forms, some general to all accounting professions (e-mail and letters to both supervisors and subordinates), while other are particular to a certain profession (client letters for tax professionals and engagement letters for auditors). Other forms of written communication can include presentations, to client, supervisors, and subordinates. The amount of respect one can command when communicating such things can make or break the trust given, assignments doled, and essentially the erection of his or her career.
In order to master the important concepts spoken of above, an individual must master several keys of effective writing. They are content, appreciation of the consumer of information, critical thinking, conciseness, clarity, coherence, and revision. For example, in terms of appreciation, my supervisor will know in much greater detail the implications of a certain estate structuring than my client. As such, I may not be able to send the same letter to both, but must alter my wording to accommodate different levels of knowledge.
Critical thinking is important also, as one must understand the issues relevant, which in turn helps determine the content. Because many professionals are busy, information must be concise and straight to organized, often in paragraphs, sometimes sequential. The point is, the keys are interrelated. They strengthen and weaken each other simultaneously. Lastly, given the recent number of scandals and overhaul of the accounting profession, ethics now plays a bigger role. Information is much more public, and as such under greater scrutiny. We live in a litigious society.
Information must account for both legal and ethical considerations. Naturally, what is legal is not always ethical. After all, Hitler never broke any laws in Germany. The point is one cannot merely follow legal procedures and cut and dry protocol. Considerations such as intelligence of receiver and the welfare of stakeholders must be accounted for. In summary, accountants cannot simply learn debits and credits and hope to succeed. They must learn how to effectively communicate their findings through a number of mediums: e-mail, presentations, client letters, and more.
Those who will advance themselves will understand the keys of effective writing, such as critical thinking and appreciation of receiver, in conjunction with technical application of their particular profession. Finally, as the landscape of accounting changes, members of the profession must be increasingly aware of ethical implication of their communication, as they are increasingly tied to legal concerns and can be the source or detriment of a great deal of profits. References May, C. B. May, G. S. 2011. Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants. 9th De. Prentice Hall.