How to Write a Business Letter: Essential Edits

Title image: How to Write Series from alisonjgreen.com. Business Letter. Sample edits: 'before' & 'after'

The people in my family like language. We remember the jumbled words from our childhoods, like ‘minkle’ for milk, and ‘nairny’ for aeroplane. We 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 make 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.)

Example: Editing a Business Letter

I’ve replaced real names (of the business and some software) with fictional names, marked *.

Business letter extract – before editing

RE: EAC* GROWTH AND EXPANSION

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 moving 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

Business letter extract – with hints

Here’s the same extract where I’ve underlined some of the bits I think could be improved. Before reading about my edits, you could take this opportunity to practise your own editing skills. Does the underlined text seem OK to you in a business letter ? If not, what would you change, how and why?

RE: EAC GROWTH AND EXPANSION

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 moving 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 tables show edits that improve the business letter through:

  • consistent word choice
  • concise, clear and grammatical sentences

This table shows original sentences from the letter alongside edited sentences. The table includes notes on each edit, and summarises them in TIPS.

This table shows original sentences from the letter alongside edited sentences. The table includes notes on each edit, and summarises them in TIPS.

This table shows original sentences from the letter alongside edited sentences. The table includes notes on each edit, and summarises them in TIPS.

This table shows original sentences from the letter alongside edited sentences. The table includes notes on each edit, and summarises them in TIPS.

 Business letter extract – after editing

Here are the edits again, in context. The result is a consistently formal business letter made up of grammatical sentences that are clear and to the point. This letter is much more likely to achieve its purpose. Many 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 ..

RE: EAC* GROWTH AND EXPANSION

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.

~

You write for a purpose. Make sure the actual writing doesn’t get in the way of achieving that purpose. Editing and proofreading can make all the difference.

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.

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Comments

  1. Brian Green says:

    Splendid editing and re-write. I am much more impressed by this informative and more formal presentation.
    Brian

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