My discourse community is Financial Development and Economics; I am currently studying Business Administration, specialization in Finance with a minor in Economics. I interviewed a financial analyst from Morgan Stanley; she had graduated from University of Maryland with a job offer awaiting her. Before she got this job offer she had interned there, which obviously means she impressed them to give her a full time offer. We set a lunch date as this is one of the companies I dream of working for. Abigail Eledan explains that writing is something she often does, sending out emails, making reports or research for the company writing with a formal tone (Personal Communication, October 7th, 2015). Understanding the purpose of your task given allows you to properly write knowing who your audience is. When she started working full time, they took her through different training stages where she was put in teams. She points out that the kind of audience they deal with on a day to day basis, those in the finance field, don’t care for so much for lengthy writing but more so figures and the main idea of the work. So it’s best to “cut to the chase”.
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The financial terms and jargons used would be very confusing to an outsider. Eledan highlighted to me certain points I never really paid attention to, saying that when she is reading a finance or business article the authors make use of technical terms (Personal Communication, October 7th, 2015). Authors use these slangs because writing the full word would make the article lengthy and boring, it’s almost as though using these slangs makes the author seem “cool” and a part of the “community.” When authors in the finance field are writing an article related to finance they want to make sure they give the audience a reason to pay attention, why is this information important so give them a reason to care. Breaking the information down into parts, arranging the pieces so that they follow a well reasoned and organized trail.
During the interview Eledan points out how important it is to always focus on the effect the message you want to communicate will have on the audience (Personal Communication, October 7th, 2015). You do not have to describe the financial processes of how the data was calculated; for example mentioning the financial statements, it is usually advised you put the document in a PDF and not explain the whole document. All you need to do is set a link for the audience to access the PDF document and just cut to the chase. Secondly, give the audience the answer first and then explain if it is in detail, this way they aren’t wondering and eventually ignores your explanation and goes straight to the answer. Try to avoid forcing them through the detail.
Thorough research and analysis is required, fact based always. Therefore, it is important that people in finance like to read, especially reading newspapers. Mentioning how she has subscribed to the popular news magazine sites online for example The Economist, to always keep her “in the know”, as she reads this every morning allowing her to accumulate information she could use during research.
Towards the end of the interview I asked her who she communicates with daily other than her supervisor or boss and what is the process and what is the typical style of writing. She tells me she needs to communicate with some of Morgan Stanley’s clients (Personal Communication, October 7th, 2015). However, it’s only the clients she holds within her group. In their office they operate within groups. Hence, writing in this division is brief and coherence for ease of reading. She gave an example saying “I enjoy writing papers, I love being in detail and touching on every point, however oftentimes, I find clients glazing over and not fully reading everything. You see their eyes being drawn to the figures more than the words. There is a balance in finance with being detail oriented, but still keeping the client engaged."
Writing in finance is not just descriptive works, but also includes argumentative and/or analytical pieces. Therefore, she says you have to be prepared to adapt to new styles of writing, as each day you never know what your assigned task will involve.
My discourse community is Financial Development and Economics; I am currently studying Business Administration, specialization in Finance with a minor in Economics. These fields of finance and economics require a unique style of writing. A lot of companies appreciate detailed writing; with this discourse community it requires mostly fact based writing. Providing evidence and examining the financial markets, research and evaluation are key to ensure you have value in your writing. Ensuring they have an understanding of basic finance theories and definitions along with Microsoft skills (especially excel or word) is explanatory. Employers recognize that “the major differences among competitors may often be found in the degree their employees have mastered writing, speaking, and other non-technical skills” (Writing in Accounting & Finance, n.d., para. 1) With this discourse community professionals in this field spend a great amount of time writing to record the outcome of the analysis being made, research, and procedures performed. Mostly analyzing data trends and stock market values, not communicating r facts and analysis correctly prevents your writing from holding any value. Finance is rather broad therefore the audience targeted when writing these informative articles would be anyone who owns a business. Readers want to know what the figures are, why they are that way, who it will affect and what are the necessary steps to take to avoid being hurt financially. Which is why effective writers in this field make their points using as few words as possible. Exercise caution when deciding which fact based material to include and omit, avoid giving so much of your opinion, and if so make sure the right facts are being presented to be the basis for your argument or suggestion. In this field it is always said repeatedly to use words that exactly show your thought or theory. We don’t want readers to lose interest or feel like their time is being wasted. Which explains why articles in this field are not so long.
In the finance world there are different aspects, journalists for the organization, advisors to clients, and so on. Writing in this field is broad as it depends on your department. Generally writing is more internally directed to communicate various finance procedures, results, and any effects. The financial management role within a company communicates externally to clients and management. However, in executive roles, writing skills are essential to convey complex business arrangements for mergers and acquisitions or business owners.
Being able to write is a great skill in this field however, knowing who your audience is, is always important. How your writing is presented should always be influenced by whom it is you’re writing for: not everything will be solely focused towards financially minded people. Having the ability to adapt in this work field as writing contents change often.
The importance of tailoring your writing according to your audience, knowing and being able to identify your target audience cannot be stressed enough. Therefore, before writing it has been said to “ask yourself the following questions before you begin any document and adapt your writing accordingly:
- Who will read what I’m about to write?
- How much do they already know about the subject?
- What do they absolutely need to know?
- How important is the subject matter to them?
- What are the important numbers?
- Would some of the information be better presented in a graph or table?” (Holdridge, 2012, para. 16)
When writing for financially minded people, expect to see slangs and abbreviations to avoid explaining as if they aren’t aware of the meaning which goes back to the interview I had where she said writing in this field requires “cutting to the chase”. It almost seems beneath his or her level reading a full article with no jargon or abbreviation. On the other hand, according to Professional focus as a writer, targeting people outside the field, using “terms such as ‘below the line’, ‘variance analysis,’ and ‘pro-forma,’ or abbreviations such as LIFO and GAAP…could be meaningless and off-putting” (Holdridge, 2012, para. 17).
Writing filled with percentage, currency, or high figures can also be alarming and strenuous to process for those unfamiliar. According to various articles in particular The Writing Center believes instead of filling your paper with figures and recorded data to put figures into graphs and tables and refer to them in the text. Be sure to explain what they mean for the reader.
In this field the main genres used are memos, emails, letters, research articles (Reports) and much more.
Memos in this field are a means for internal communication (within the company), “Memos are often used to summarize a professional conclusion that aligns with required standards and procedures.” (Writing in Accounting & Finance, n.d., para. 8)
E-mail however, is often a preferred mode of communication; the guidelines for effective email is to keep it formal as they may be used as official documents at a later date, brief expressing the necessary information at the introduction of the document.
While on the other hand, letters are not used often, only to send thank you notes or a polite invitation.
Structure each genre to the needs of the main receiver as bulleted in the Writing in Accounting & Finance PDF:
”Strike the tone that will make the reader feel the way you intend.
Provide enough detailed information to help the reader understand your message. Organize your information into digestible paragraphs that make each key idea clear” (Writing in Accounting & Finance, n.d., para. 10). Reports are produced for clients either in the monthly update or included in agenda for meetings. In this discourse community, not all reports are made for the public’s eye. Most of the time, reports can be made strictly for internal use. In most cases, reports record principles, problems, issues or conflicts. According to Writing in Accounting and Finance “Reports often require that the writer engage in research and always require that information be logically organized and sometimes separated into discrete sections. Longer reports should include an executive summary” (Writing in Accounting & Finance, n.d., para. 11). The writing patterns for most of these genres has a basic structure: according to Writing in Accounting & Finance the basic structure when writing for most of these genres are responsiveness, development, organization and polish.
When researching in this field it is important to go through detailed sources and look over a good amount of data thoroughly. Document sources where information is being acquired must be done accurately and ethically to avoid plagiarism or misinformation. Therefore it is important to cite your sources at all times even if it may be a summary or paraphrasing. Incorrect documentation can have opposing results for the business. Which is why it is always encouraged to gather your information from a reliable source.
Being able to present and explain your research clearly is crucial. In finance projects are collaborative, from my interview with Miss Eledan it is very obvious one of the skills they look for is teamwork, team management or team leadership. Big corporations employees in different groups in order to divide the task and produce a higher result, faster. Because work is collaborative it is therefore, expected to be in constant communication with your team, as you may not be the only person contributing to the work. Especially in writing tasks, according to the article titled Professional Focus “unambiguous writing will not only make your explanations easy to follow and understand, but is also important if you are one of multiple contributors to a document.” (Holdridge, 2012, para. 6) The use of subheadings is important when work is collaborative since you won’t be the only individual contributing to the assignment it is important to be considerate and put in sub headings when necessary. This would help guide your team members when looking through the work, making it easy for them to return to certain parts later.
In finance, there is no particular favorite style of writing. However, reading through different websites, the commonly used writing style is Chicago Style. Writers find using this writing style appealing when it comes to important documents. However, in a different interview writing in Finance does not require a specific bibliographic style according to a Dixxon Hughes Goodman representative, in their firm the most writing is done for financial statements, which represent a formal record of the financial activity. Financial Statements reflect the financial results of business transactions.
He goes on to say his writing was much more internally directed to communicate their audit procedures and more. Moving on into the financial management role within the company, his communications became more focused on attending to customers and management.
In this discourse community the media used is mostly online based. From online articles, or the various apps being created. As this generation is more IT inclined, every source of information can be found on the Internet, whether it is on your IOS phones or tablets. According to an article by Rajib Chanda “Social media use by the financial services industry is prevalent and can be expected to grow as the social networks continue to expand and become further entrenched in the public’s online consciousness. However, the industry has lagged behind its corporate peers, likely due to regulatory concerns” (Chanda, 2013, para. 1) Therefore, not too much is revealed online in this field.
When writing in this discourse community, the writers know why they are writing; the purpose of the message and who their target audience is.
In this field there are three different types of values; predictive value, confirmatory value, economic value. An article I addressed in my rhetorical analyses highlighted these values; in “A Chance to Fly,” the writer gives a very brief explanation of where India stands against the “BRICS” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). This will be seen as confirmatory value, which is how long his paper stands up to the test of time. Therefore him letting readers know India’s’ standing in the economy. Information the writer gathered from research.
He mentions that, compared to what had happened in 2015, India should enforce new budget ideas as powerful and revolutionary as the ones proposed in 1991. This will in turn increase their economic value, the writer giving his opinion on what economic backlashes they face and how it can be improved. To financial readers this would be information valued.
In “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?“ Raghuram G. Rajan (2005) illustrates in the report his feelings about the banks taking on too much risk and how he feels history would repeat itself; fortunately, the author provides links and sources for all the facts, this would be viewed as predictive value. As his sources are credible for his argument so this increases the value of his predictions.
So, rather than alienate your reader, ask yourself the following questions before you begin any document and adapt your writing accordingly:
- Whwill read what I’m about twrite?
- How much dthey already know about the subject?
- What dthey absolutely need tknow?
- How important is the subject matter tthem?
- What are the important numbers?
- Would some of the information be better presented in a graph or table?
- Know why you are writing.
Purpose, message, etc
- Know your audience and write for them.
- For discourse community or non-members?
- If your audience is a child or a judge, write ttheir level of understanding.
- Use plain language and keep it simple.
- Write sthose outside the field can understand.
- Avoid the traditional style of writing with dull and vague words.
- Make your writing legible.
- Paragraphs, numbering, font size, margins, etc. must be sensible.
- Avoid lengthy sentences.
- Use words and phrases that you would use in your day-to-day conversations with your peers, not vague sentences none would understand.
- Be descriptive.
- Make your audience clearly imagine what you are saying.
- Use imagery.
- Dnot use a negative tone.
- Be neutral or positive.
- Use an active voice.
- Use “must” when stating a legal obligation.
Talk directly tthe reader
- Avoid a passive voice.
- Avoid unnecessary words.
- Instead of “it is of utmost importance that…” say “it is important that…”
- Write tpersuade.
- Legal writing is not about entertaining the reader or displaying intelligence level.
- Always anticipate possible opposing views of the audience and address them.
- Don’t write tomuch and avoid long paragraphs.
- Dthorough research and use proper citations.
- Use different forms of media for evidence support.
- Understand the law and how it applies tyour claim in the writing.
- Use present tense.
- For example, Abstract: furniture; Concrete: couch
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs.
- Always proofread.