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To get better at writing finance reports you need to read more

Writing is different from most skills. For most everything you want to get better at the advice would be to practise it. But, the recommendation from writers to wannabe writers is to read as much as possible. Well, I can listen to as many songs as I want, watch as many football matches as I like, and eat in as many restaurants as I can afford, but I won’t get any better at playing guitar, football or cooking.

But when I read I learn what works well and what doesn’t. I find myself thinking about how I would re-phrase awkward sentences, etc. I do this with novels as much as with the finance material I read for work. (DM me if you would like me to read something you’ve written and give you some constructive feedback!)

As accountants and finance professionals who want to write better reports and documents you should also try to learn by reading other people’s writing. Of course, that could be reading fiction but I’m thinking more about reading other people’s reports and documents. When you come across something that you think is good writing about, or presentation of, financial information take some notes on why you think it is good. Is it the clarity of language or the length of sentences and paragraphs? Is it the layout of charts and diagrams? Is it the structure of the document?

Of course, you won’t get better only by read, you need to take what you learn into your own writing and keep practising.

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

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