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5 Steps to Perfect Business Documents

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If a report is periodic, such as a monthly sales report, a template is used for convenience and to enable comparison with previous reports. A company uses documents to transact business with its clients. To save time, these documents may be formatted as a form, such as an order form, transmittal page, invoice or receipt. The types of transactional documents used vary somewhat by the nature of a business.

An insurance agent, for example, generates insurance applications and policies, while a lender uses loan applications and mortgage documents.

A business uses financial documents to stay within its budget, prepare budget proposals and file tax returns. These documents include receipt records, payroll reports, paid bills, bank statements, income statements, balance sheets and tax reporting forms. A business owner uses these documents to determine the financial success of the company and to identify areas that are unproductive. A department head might use financial documents to prepare a budget proposal. Janice Tingum has been writing professionally since She is the author of the biography "E.

Tingum also paints and writes art instruction ebooks. Skip to main content. Emails and Memorandums Co-workers typically use email to convey information to each other.

Business Letters Business letters are used to communicate with individuals outside of the office. Business Reports Business reports convey information in a format that is more formal and usually longer than a letter. Transactional Documents A company uses documents to transact business with its clients. Financial Documents A business uses financial documents to stay within its budget, prepare budget proposals and file tax returns. References 2 University of Minnesota: Memorandums and Letters Duke Law: Porter Gale, author of Your Network is Your Net Worth , in a Forbes interview , revealed that much of her success can be attributed to relationships she made throughout the years.

One type of communication that is used almost everyday in the corporate world is business writing: Even profit-making and nonprofit organizations in the field of aeronautics, according to a survey by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA , are into communication the whole time. It says respondents use:. Fundamentally, poor business writing is costly and leads to disastrous events. It happens, for example, when a customer does not understand the email, marketing tool, or proposal by a company because of wrong grammar or awkward style and tone.

The article adds that customers encountering poorly written materials might form an undesirable impression of how a company runs its business. Business Writing is a type of written communication , usually with standard structure and style. According to the Capella University, it addresses the needs of specific audiences and has prose and lists for a particular topic that concerns business.

The Inc Magazine website details what makes written communication work … and worse:. This will serve as the direction, the reference, and the path of your details. This will set the tone, the style, and structure of your letter.

This is your message and your goal. Defining your purpose will set things right at the very beginning. For example, if your purpose is to excite and invite the employees to join the annual talent contest of the company as a team-building effort, you cannot bore them with long paragraphs explaining how the activity will help boost their productivity, write too formal sentences, or use heavy office or work jargon.

The purpose tells you to keep your lines light yet still professional, use bullets, and add an exclamation point or two at the end of the memo. To determine how the document will appear, it is only critical to ask yourself first if your purpose is:. Another significant step in order to make an impact on your audience is to know them.

For example, if you simply send a letter to employees about attending a conference on a Sunday and reiterating that it is a requirement, a portion of your workforce might resume to work with worries in their heads because they have religious obligations to meet on Sundays. If you can tailor your letter without touching any religion, culture or sensitive issue in an uncomfortable way, work would be much smoother and solidarity among the people will remain intact.

In fact, when it comes to my whole business, details are everything. I hire people who care about those details. Hence, there is a need to prevent grammatical errors and inappropriate writing in business communication. There should be less jargon—unless it is a technical document—and more specific words and brief yet strong phrases. Be as definite and as clear as possible. Headings and bullets — Headings are used to underscore the main points, form white space, and make it easy for readers to scan the document.

Bullets, on the other hand, are often for series of items. Tables — These are used when subjects or options are being compared or contrasted to one another. These tools will avoid the repetition of the company names and categories throughout the text. There would be less words because the data no longer needs extensive explanation.

Maps, flowcharts, and diagrams — These are for more complex data or connections of data that text alone can no longer detail substantially. These also aid in presentations, saving more time and other resources. Bold face and italics — To emphasize specific points to readers , you can put the words in boldface or in italics. The Miami University gives pointers for acknowledging sources in business documents, especially those that present proposals:. This will also give the impression that you have a solid grasp of the evidence for your proposals.

This will make your document more reliable and convincing. Ideas in your business should flow in a logical manner to keep the whole discussion smooth and all thoughts cohesive. The Purdue University has guide questions for reviewing professional papers. Barbie Carpenter of Demand Media, a digital marketing agency, in an article , shares the four types of business communication:.

This type of correspondence encourages people, especially those in the office, to take actions or follow specific instructions.

An example of this is a memo with the weekly goals of a team. It is expected to be motivational to produce solid results. Some documents are eyeing a goal, but some are simply to inform the audience.


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When writing an effective business document, know the purpose and scope of your business document.

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One of our core values at Distilled is that it’s not our job to deliver reports, it’s our job to effect change. However, in order to effect change, it clearly sometimes is our job to deliver reports, and we want to get as good at them as we possibly can and make sure we are as effective with them as possible. To that end, I thought I’d collect a few links I’ve seen .

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You are here: Home / Style Guide / Effective Business Writing: Top Principles and Techniques. Elements to Consider Before Writing A Business Document. 1) The Purpose. This will serve as the direction, the reference, and the path of your details. This will set the tone, the style, and structure of your letter. Writing business documents is a topic we get a lot of enquiries about, so I hope you will find this useful. Nearly every job requires you to write, even if it is just email.

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