Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants / Edition 8

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Overview

The Expression of ideas in a clear and concise manner is an essential asset to today's business professionals. For this reason Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants, Eighth Edition is an extremely useful tool for both students and professionals. Students will learn effective, organized, and clear communication skills while developing the knowledge needed to prepare business documents and obtain excellent presentation skills.

Features of the Eighth Edition: Chapter 1 introduces students to ethical issues related to accounting communication-NEW! Chapter 15 discusses the preparation of an oral presentation, including audience analysis and organization of material as well as techniques of effective delivery, including the use of visual aids.

Both authors have worked for many years with professional accounting organizations and accounting students. They have observed that accounting professionals need good writing skills to succeed, but accounting students may not receive the instruction and practice necessary to become good writers. They wrote Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants to help accounting students and practicing accountants sharpen their writing skills.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780136029083
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/14/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Table of Contents


Communication Strategies     1
Accountants as Communicators     1
What Do Accountants Write?     3
How Well Do Accountants Write?     4
What Makes Writing Work?     4
You Can Become a Good Writer     5
Writing and Other Forms of Communication     6
Reading     6
Listening     7
Speaking     7
Writing and Problem Solving     7
Writing and Critical Thinking     8
Communications and Ethics     9
Exercises     10
The Writing Process: An Overview     13
Getting Started: Identifying Purpose     13
Thinking Critically about the Issues     16
Analyzing the Readers     16
Getting Your Ideas Together     19
Gathering Information     19
Generating Ideas     19
Arranging Ideas: Organization     20
Writing the Draft     22
Revising the Draft     23
The Final Draft     24
Dealing with Writer's Block     25
Writing Under Pressure     25
Writing at the Computer     26
Help from Colleagues: Critiquing     26
Exercises     27
The Flow of Thought: Organizing for Coherence     30
Writing with Unity     30
Using Summary Sentences     31
Responding to Readers' Questions and Concerns     32
Transitions     33
Transitional Words and Phrases     34
Repetition of Key Words and Phrases     35
Pronouns Used to Achieve Coherence     37
Problems with Transitions     37
Paragraphs     38
Length     38
Structure     39
Paragraph Development     41
Discussion Questions and Essays     43
Discussion Questions     43
Essays     43
Applying Essay Techniques to Other Kinds of Writing     46
Sample Essay     46
Exercises     48
A Sense of Style: Writing with Conciseness and Clarity     51
Conciseness     51
Unnecessary Words     51
Simplicity     53
Verbs and Nouns     56
Clarity     58
Jargon     58
Precise Meaning     59
Concrete, Specific Wording     62
Readable Writing     64
Passive and Active Voice     64
Variety and Rhythm     67
Tone     68
Editing for Style at the Computer     69
Exercises     73
Standard English: Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling     78
Major Sentence Errors     78
Fragments     79
Comma Splices     79
Fused Sentences     80
Problems with Verbs     80
Tense and Mood     81
Subject-Verb Agreement     82
Problems with Pronouns     83
Pronouns and Gender     84
Problems with Modifiers     85
Parallel Structure     85
Apostrophes and Plurals     86
Commas     87
Comma Guidesheet     87
Colons and Semicolons     89
Direct Quotations     90
Spelling     92
Help from the Computer     93
Exercises     97
Format for Clarity: Document Design     101
Good Design: An Illustration     101
A Professional Appearance     105
Paper and Print     105
White Space and Margins     105
Neatness Counts!     106
Formatting      106
Headings     106
Lists and Set-Off Material     107
Pagination     108
Graphical Illustrations     108
Document Design at the Computer     112
Exercises     113
Critical Thinking     116
Making an Argument: The Process     116
Reaching Sound Conclusions: Two Approaches to Logic     119
Fallacies: Mistakes in Reasoning     122
Critical Thinking and Ethical Dilemmas     123
Exercises     125
Accounting Research     128
Research: Basic Guidelines     128
Electronic Sources of Information     129
Printed Sources of Information     130
Note Taking     131
Direct Quotation and Paraphrase     132
Plagiarism     132
Organizing Your Notes and Ideas     133
Writing Your Research Report or Memo     133
Integrating Notes into Your Writing     134
Revising     134
Documentation     134
Critical Thinking and Technical Accounting Research     136
Financial Accounting Research     136
Steps in the Financial Accounting Research Process      137
Exercises     139
Sources of Accounting and Financial Information     144
Computerized Reference and Database Services     147
Other Printed Sources of Accounting and Financial Information     149
Internal Documentation Style     150
Endnotes or Footnotes and Bibliography Style     153
Business Documents     157
Letters     157
Principles of Letter Writing     157
Planning a Letter     157
Organization     158
Conciseness and Clarity     159
Tone     159
Form and Appearance     159
Parts of the Letter     162
Responding to Correspondence     164
Typical Accounting Letters     165
Engagement Letters     165
Management Advisory Letters     168
Tax Research Letters     170
Standardized Letters: A Caution     173
Letters Sent via E-Mail     173
Exercises     174
Memos and E-mail     182
Memos: Some Basic Principles     182
The Parts of a Memo: Organizing for Coherence     183
Concise, Clear, Readable Memos: Style and Tone     184
Formats      185
Sample Memos     189
Memos to Clients' Files     189
Memos as Part of Working Papers     189
E-Mail     190
Write a Strong Subject Line     190
Put Important Ideas First     191
Use Conventional Grammar and Mechanics     191
A Few Cautions     191
Exercises     192
Reports     199
Planning a Report     199
The Parts of a Report     201
Transmittal Document     202
Title Page     202
Table of Contents     203
List of Illustrations     203
Summary Section     203
Introduction     203
Body of the Report     204
Conclusion     204
Appendixes (Optional)     205
Notes and Bibliography     204
Graphic Illustrations     205
Appearance     205
Style and Tone     205
Exercises     214
Writing and Your Career     219
Writing Essay Exams: Academic Courses and Professional Certification Exams     219
Essay Exams     219
Preparation     219
Taking the Exam      220
Qualities of a Good Essay     222
Professional Certification Exams     222
Preparing For and Taking the Exam     224
Qualities of a Good Answer     229
Exercises     229
Writing for Employment: Resumes and Letters     234
Starting the Job Search: Researching Possible Employers     234
Preparing a Resume     235
Using a Computer     235
Format     237
What Not to Put on a Resume     239
Writing a Letter of Application     240
Writing a Thank-You Letter     241
Electronic Submissions     242
Exercises     244
Writing for Publication     247
Planning Your Article     247
Research     248
Drafting and Reviewing the Article     248
Submitting the Article     249
Exercises     249
Oral Presentations     251
Planning the Presentation: Analyzing Purpose and Audience     251
Other Things to Consider     252
Gathering Information     252
Composing the Speech     253
Introduction     253
Body of the Presentation      253
Conclusion     254
Making Notes     254
Preparing Visual Aids     255
The Presentation     256
Checking the Arrangements     257
Appearance and Dress     257
The Presentation: Poise and Confidence     257
Eye Contact     258
Body Movement and Gestures     258
Voice     259
Managing Stage Fright     259
Special Considerations in Presentations of Financial Information     260
A Final Word     261
Exercises     266
Index     269
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Preface

Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants, Sixth Edition, is designed to help accounting students and practitioners improve their communication skills. It can be used as a supplementary text for regular accounting courses, as a text in an accounting communication course, or as a text in a business communication or technical writing course when these courses include accounting students. The handbook is also a useful desk reference or self-study manual for accountants in practice.

Effective Writing guides the writer through all the stages of the writing process: planning, including analysis of audience and purpose; critical thinking; generating and organizing ideas; writing the draft; revising for readable style and correct grammar; and designing the document for effective presentation. In addition to these basic writing principles, the book includes chapters on letters, memos (including e-mail), reports, and other formats used by accountants in actual practice. Throughout the text, Effective Writing stresses coherence, conciseness, and clarity as the most important qualities of the writing done by accountants.

To supplement the instruction on writing effectively, we have included a chapter on oral presentations. Chapter 14 discusses the preparation of an oral presentation, including audience analysis and organization of materials as well as techniques of effective delivery, including the use of visual aids.

Within Part III, "Writing and Your Career," you will find a chapter on writing essay examinations (including professional examinations), a chapter on writing resumes and letters of application, and a chapter on writing forpublication.

A special feature of this book is the chapter on accounting research and critical thinking. Here you will find valuable reference material on such topics as:

    Where to find accounting information (including Internet sites)
  • How critical thinking can help you solve problems and write persuasive documents
  • How to write citations of accounting sources (including Internet sources)

Exercises and assignments throughout Effective Writing reinforce the concepts covered in the text. Some exercises have answers within the text for independent review. The Instructor's Manual contains answers to many other exercises. Most chapters include topics for writing or speaking assignments. The assignments, like the illustrations in the text, are concerned with accounting concepts and situations and thus will seem relevant and familiar to those studying and practicing accounting.

Effective Writing can be used in conjunction with traditional accounting courses. Instructors can assign cases and topics for research based- on the accounting concepts being studied in class, or they can use the assignments provided in this handbook. Students then analyze the accounting problem, research the literature if necessary, and prepare answers according to an assigned forma such as a letter, technical memo, formal report, or oral presentation. The hand-book guides students toward principles of effective writing and speaking. Instructors can then evaluate students' performance based on the criteria discussed in the text and the Instructor's Manual.

The Instructor's Manual, which was written by the authors, contains suggestions for everyone wishing to improve the communication skills of accounting students, whether in a regular accounting course or in a course devoted to communication. The Instructor's Manual includes topics such as motivating students to improve their communication skills, designing assignments, and evaluating performance. The Instructor's Manual also contains chapter commentaries and masters for transparencies and handouts.

The authors wish to thank the reviewers who took the time to comment on their book. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.

  • Wanda I. DeLeo, Winthrop University
  • F. Todd DeZoort, University of South Carolina
  • Harold Goedde, State University of New York at Oneonta
  • Julia L. Higgs, Florida Atlantic University
  • Theresa Hrncir, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • Celina L. Jozsi, University of South Florida
  • Cheryl E. Mitchem, Virginia State University

We hope that this book will help those preparing to enter the profession, as well as those already in practice, to achieve greater success through effective communication.

Claire B. May
Gordon S. May

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