• Finally got around to creating a Gumroad shop for the various digital products I create.

  • How to remove the clutter from your charts

    If you want your reader to get your message you need to make your message clear. Don’t just copy and paste a chart from Excel into a Word document or presentation. You need to format it first. Here’s how. read more

  • An instant tip to make your writing more readable

    Set your margins and font-size so that the length of each line is around 65 characters. That’s two and a half alphabets. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklm A line length of about 65 characters is optimal for reading. Lines that are much longer than this are harder to … read more

  • Why the tax year ends on 5 April

    The UK government does its financial planning and prepares financial statements using 1 April to 31 March as its financial year. The UK tax year ends, however, not on 31 March but on 5 April. Here’s why. Historically, in Britain taxes were due on the first day of the year, which was not 1 January … read more

  • Don’t use $10 words

    In my first job as a qualified accountant I learned most of what I had to do from the files left by my predecessor. This included numerous reports and standard letters that I copied in terms of style and content. It meant that I would write sentences like: “I would be grateful to receive your … read more

  • Thanks to everyone who entered the draw to win a signed copy of Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector. The winner is a student at Georgia State University. You can still read my diary about writing the book over at the PFM Board.

  • STOP! Never send out your first draft.

    Once you have written your first draft you should not click Save and send it off to the audience. This is as true for a two paragraph email as for a 20 page report. Always revise and edit your work. Make it as good as you reasonably can before you declare it finished. Don’t take it from me. Take it … read more

  • Using AI to generate ideas for LinkedIn posts

    I asked ChatGPT for 25 ideas for posts about writing and presentation skills for accountants. This is what I got: The importance of clear and concise writing in accounting reports Tips for improving your writing skills as an accountant How to write effective emails in the accounting industry Best … read more

  • Three mistakes to avoid when presenting financial data

    Three mistakes to avoid when presenting financial data. Don’t overwhelm with details: While it’s important to provide context, avoid overwhelming your clients with too much information. Stick to the most important points and keep the presentation concise. Don’t make assumptions: Avoid making … read more

  • Don’t give titles to your tables. Give them headlines.

    A picture paints a thousand words. A table of data could save you (and your reader) hundreds of words. But your table is a wasted opportunity if the reader doesn’t get your message from it. Or worse, skips over it. Here’s a tip to make the tables in your documents have more impact. Give every table … read more