Mastering Professional Email Communication

Mastering Professional Email Communication

Polish Your Communication Skills - New Blog Series

Welcome to our series of blog posts on professional communication! Effective communication is more crucial than ever in today's fast-paced business world. The way we communicate can make or break our professional relationships. Poor communication is often the leading cause of confusion, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities. But fear not! Our goal with this series is to help you polish your communication skills and become a master of this part of business etiquette. So join us on this journey as we dive into the intricacies of writing and responding to business emails, acing video conferences, making a lasting impression on social media, and much more. Together, we'll elevate your communication game and empower you to thrive in today's interconnected world. Let's get started!

Mastering Professional Email Communication - The Art of Effective Business Correspondence

We have encountered our fair share of interesting email interactions at HOCK International. It never fails to amaze us when we receive messages in all caps demanding discounts and free materials or when individuals fail to express gratitude after we've provided them with a great deal. We've also received partnership inquiries without any mention of the sender's company name and requests to work for us without any introduction about the person who wants to work with us. While some of these instances can be amusing, more often than not, it is a bit disheartening. Many of these individuals are professionals on the path to certification, but their lack of communication skills can hinder their career growth. However, we are fortunate to have numerous students and partners who exemplify politeness and professionalism in their emails, and we genuinely appreciate their courteous and well-crafted messages. It is always a pleasure to read and respond to such emails, and we value their commitment to effective and respectful communication. That being said, welcome to the first blog in our series on professional communication! 

Email has become a cornerstone of business communication in today's digital age. Mastering the art of writing professional emails is essential for fostering positive relationships and achieving your goals in the business world. In this blog, we will explore the key elements of effective email communication, from crafting the perfect subject line to ensuring clear and concise messages. So let's dive in and unlock the secrets to becoming a proficient email communicator!

Subject: The Gateway to Effective Communication 

The subject line of your email is the first impression you make on the recipient. It should be informative, concise, and relevant to the content of the email. Remember, if the subject of a thread changes, it is important to update the subject line to reflect the new topic. This helps recipients easily find and organize their emails, avoiding confusion and ensuring a smooth flow of communication.

Good Examples:

  • "Inquiry Regarding CMA Exam Eligibility Requirements"
  • "Question about CIA Challenge Exam Materials"
  • "Question Regarding CMA Part 1 Section C, MCQ ID 10Q.1.106."
  • "Collaboration Opportunity: Marketing Campaign Partnership"
  • "Follow-up on Job Application for Sales Associate Position"

Bad Examples:

  • "URGENT!!!" (without providing any context)
  • "Hey, can you help me?" (too casual and lacks specificity)
  • "Important!!! Open immediately!" (vague and lacks clarity)
  • "Regarding that thing we talked about" (lacks specific information)
  • "Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Subject)" (unclear and indicates a lengthy email thread)

The Power of a Greeting: Setting the Right Tone 

When starting an email, a polite and professional greeting is essential. A simple "Hello [Recipient's Name]" or "Dear [Recipient's Name]" is appropriate in most business contexts. Avoid using overly familiar or casual greetings like "Hey," as they can be seen as unprofessional. Aim for a respectful tone that sets the stage for a positive and constructive exchange.

Email Greeting

Signature: Making a Lasting Impression 

Including a well-crafted signature is a professional touch that adds credibility to your email. For the first email in a conversation, your signature should include your full name, email address, phone number, and position. If you choose to use an image in your signature, ensure it is small to avoid cluttering the email servers. However, when replying to an email, including your full signature is unnecessary, as it can make the email unnecessarily lengthy. It is also not necessary to include links to every social media platform that you are on.

Crafting an Effective Email Body: Clarity and Conciseness 

The body of your email should be easy to scan and comprehend quickly. Use bullet points, spacing, and paragraphs to separate ideas and improve readability. Start with the most important information upfront rather than starting with small talk. Keeping your email concise and to the point is key, as it respects the recipient's time and increases the chances of getting a prompt response. Use at least a 12-point font size for better readability.

The Art of the Unanswered Email: Patience and Follow-ups 

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, emails may go unanswered. In such situations, it's important to remain polite and considerate. Begin with a gentle follow-up email after waiting at least 48 hours, inquiring if the recipient has received your previous email. Summarize your initial email's Call to Action (CTA) to refresh their memory. If the matter is urgent, consider making a phone call instead of relying solely on email.

CC, BCC, and Reply All: Know the Difference 

Understanding the nuances of CC (carbon copy) and BCC (blind carbon copy) is crucial for proper email etiquette. Use CC when you want to keep others informed but don't necessarily need their direct response. BCC should be used sparingly and with caution, as it hides the recipients' identities from each other. When replying to an email, carefully consider whether a reply should be sent only to the original sender or to all recipients.

Email Rules

The Power of a Timely Reply: Acknowledge Receipt 

Even if you cannot immediately fulfill a request or complete a task mentioned in an email, it is important to acknowledge receipt of the email within 24 hours. A simple response, such as "Thank you for your email. I have received it and will provide a detailed response soon," shows professionalism and demonstrates that you value the sender's time and effort.

Final Tips for Stellar Email Communication 

Only add the recipient’s email address after you finish writing the email. Take a moment to review your grammar, punctuation, and spelling to ensure your email appears professional and polished. Avoid writing in all capital letters, because it may be perceived as yelling. Avoid sending large attachments by using cloud storage solutions instead. Consider scheduling a meeting or call if a matter is urgent or highly complex. Remember, emails can be shared, so avoid including confidential or sensitive information unless it is absolutely necessary. Be mindful of time zones when expecting responses from international contacts. Lastly, provide complete and clear information, and be mindful of assumptions and gender references. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to becoming a master of professional email communication.

Stay tuned for more insightful blogs in our series on professional communication!

The Future of Accounting Certifications


The Future of Accounting Certifications

Brian Hock is on the Accounting Influencers Podcast

Brian Hock joined Rob Brown, the host of the Accounting Influencers podcast!

Through his experiences and expertise, Brian has shed light on the future of accounting qualifications and the essential role of technology. As accounting professionals navigate the changing landscape, his advice and perspectives provide a valuable roadmap for success. Listen to the episode to uncover the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in the evolving world of accounting certifications and learn about:

  • Changes in accounting certifications
  • Competition between the certifications
  • Value of certifications
  • Role and impact of technology on accounting certifications
  • Brian’s career experience in Russia and global perspective in light of current political events

About the podcast: The Accounting Influencers podcast goes live every Monday to 150 countries and 30,000 accounting practitioners, fintech specialists, and influencers in the accountancy, CPA, and bookkeeping space.

Listen Online

Watch on YouTube

You may also like: Unveiling the Secrets of Accounting Certifications and Professional Success


Unveiling the Secrets of Accounting Certifications and Professional Success

Profession Session Podcast with Brian Hock and Brody Vinson

Unveiling the Secrets of Accounting Certifications and Professional Success

A Conversation with Brian Hock

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and accounting, staying on top of the latest trends and advancements is crucial for professionals aiming to excel in their careers. Brian Hock, CMA, CIA, CRMA, CSCA recently shared his expertise and insights on a captivating podcast, Profession Session, with Brody Vinson

With a focus on accounting certifications, technological advancements, personal growth, and professional success, this podcast episode is a goldmine for individuals seeking to thrive in the finance industry. Let's dive into the thought-provoking topics discussed during this enlightening conversation:

  • The Evolution of Accounting Certifications
  • Adapting to the Age of Technological Advancements
  • Crafting Educational Content and Understanding the Audience
  • Unraveling the Path to Success
  • Seizing Opportunities and Customer Acquisition
  • Brian's Non-Negotiable Career Advice
  • The Future of HOCK

Whether you are an aspiring student, a seasoned professional, or an entrepreneur aiming to make informed business decisions, this podcast episode is a must-listen. Prepare to be inspired and empowered as you uncover the secrets to thriving in the world of accounting, finance, and business.

How to Build Strong Business Relationships

How to Build Strong Business Relationships


Welcome Jim Piechowski, CAE!

Jim Piechowski, CAE, has recently joined the HOCK team as the Senior Director of Global Business Development. We are thrilled to have Jim on board!

Before HOCK, Jim worked with the IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) and other national and international organizations in executive positions. Jim strongly supports professional certifications and is an expert in global business and international relations.

We know that many exam candidates aim to get a promotion and become leaders in their professional field and getting certified is a huge help in achieving these goals. However, there is also a set of skills in addition to the technical skills of your profession that is necessary to build relationships and help your industry grow. So, we asked Jim to share his wisdom.

Working internationally requires a unique set of skills beyond technical proficiency, so I'm happy to share some insights on the most critical soft skills for succeeding in an international setting. These soft skills include increased cultural awareness, adaptability, communication, and emotional intelligence.

  • Cultural Awareness: When working with people from different backgrounds and cultures, it's essential to be aware of and respectful of cultural differences. This means being sensitive to different customs, traditions, and communication styles. The more you understand and appreciate other cultures, the better you can build relationships and avoid misunderstandings.
  • Adaptability: Being adaptable and flexible is essential when working globally. You may need to adjust your communication style, work schedule, or problem-solving approach to align with your international counterparts' needs and expectations.
  • Communication: Effective communication is crucial when working across borders. Clear and concise written and verbal communication are essential for building relationships, managing expectations, and avoiding misunderstandings. Although you don’t necessarily need to know multiple languages, speaking a few key phrases or words in various languages can significantly increase your communication ability!
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others. This skill is essential when working internationally because it can help you navigate cultural differences and build strong relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.

Thank you, Jim, for all of the tips and recommendations!

Dear readers, please comment below if you have more questions for Jim.

The Bright Future of Women in Accounting

The Bright Future of Women in Accounting

Today, HOCK would like to recognize and celebrate the achievements of female accountants and honor their tireless work in shaping the future of the accounting industry. Account­­ing has long been a male-dominated field, but that is changing rapidly. The number of women in accounting has been growing, and the trend is expected to continue. Let us look at the trends and predictions for the future of women in accounting.

Increasing Numbers of Women in Accounting

The number of women entering the accounting profession has been steadily increasing in recent years. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), women now represent more than 50% of all accounting graduates in the United States, and other countries report similar growth in the number of women in the profession.

More Women in Leadership Positions

As more women enter the accounting profession, they are also climbing the ranks and taking on leadership positions. According to the AICPA, women now represent nearly 30% of all partners in accounting firms. This is a significant increase from just a decade ago when women made up only about 16% of partners. We can expect to see more women in executive roles such as CEO, CFO, and COO; these roles have typically been held by men, but as more women gain experience and rise through the ranks, we will see more women in these roles too.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly important in the business world, and the accounting profession is no exception. Accounting firms are realizing the value of having a diverse workforce and are actively seeking out women and other underrepresented groups to join their teams. This is not just for the sake of diversity but also because a diverse workforce brings different perspectives, which can lead to better decision-making and improved performance.

Greater Flexibility in the Workplace and Focus on Work-Life Balance

Many women are balancing demanding careers with family responsibilities, and accounting firms are recognizing the need for more flexible work arrangements. This could include options such as part-time work, telecommuting, and job-sharing. Accounting firms are recognizing that in order to attract and retain top talent, they need to create a work environment that is supportive of employees’ personal lives as well as their careers.

The Bright Future

We can expect to see increasing numbers of women entering the profession, more women in leadership positions, and a greater focus on diversity, inclusion, flexibility, and work-life balance. These trends are great news for the profession as a whole because a more diverse and inclusive workforce leads to better decision-making and improved performance.

Happy International Women’s Day!

To all the incredible female accountants out there: thank you for your hard work, your dedication, and your unwavering commitment to excellence. You are an inspiration to us all, and we are grateful for everything you do. Happy International Women’s Day!