E-mail Etiquette

McNeilBlogger: Kelly McNeil

One piece of advice I wish someone had told me about more clearly is the proper use of e-mail in the workplace. E-mailing friends is very different from e-mailing co-workers and bosses, so I will give you a few tips for things to look out for.

When you first start a new job or internship, be very conservative in your e-mails. Be polite and make sure you don’t use any slang or put smiley faces in the e-mailJ! I kind of used the rule that you shouldn’t include something unless the person you e-mail includes it first. If they reply with smiley faces and short-type, then you can start using that with that person. Also be careful when addressing the person in the e-mail. To be safe, I would always call them Mr./ Mrs. Last name. See how they reply to your e-mail and if they use their first name, then you can start using their first name in the e-mails.

Another thing to look out for is mass e-mail addresses. Sometimes to save time with e-mailing and typing each individual address, a mass e-mail will be created. One intern I worked with made the mistake of accidentally sending an e-mail to the whole company saying that he was bored and out of work! I’m sure he got many replies and got in trouble for sending that out. So be careful to check where the mass e-mail is going to be sent and that only the proper people are included.

Another tip is to check with your managers before sending an e-mail to a client. Working with clients is a big part of being an accountant; after all, they are who you will be providing services for. If you are unsure about something a client sent, do not immediately go and send them an e-mail. Make a list of questions that you have and show them to your manager first. As an intern, you might be missing some things that were provided, and a manager can help you minimize the questions and get it down to the ones you do need to ask the client. Sometimes the manager prefers to send an e-mail to them, so make sure they’ve asked you to do it before you hit send. Also as an intern, you might not be completely familiar with the terminology and need help wording out questions so they are understandable to the client and ensure you will get proper answer. Most companies give you a buddy who is one level above you. I would send your buddy a draft of the e-mail first, and then, if they approve it, you are free to send it to the client. It is always good to have someone look over your work instead of being embarrassed by a client.

Hopefully these tips will help you in your future careers!

About txcpa2b

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. TSCPA has 20 local chapters statewide and has 27,000 members. The Society is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession. TXCPA2B is a blog written by Texas students in pursuit of the CPA certificate. The views expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily held by TSCPA or our members.
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