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Audit Tips

4 Tips to Write Better Audit Reports

Today's technologies are changing how we communicate and access new information at breakneck speed. Smart phones, tablets and computers are significantly altering how we read and learn. Technology has also changed how reports are—or should be—written. Gone are the days of long, dry, dense reports. To keep people's attention—and keep people reading—we need to think differently about how we write and present information.

Here are just some of our principles that will help you write better audits:

Audit Tip 1

Find your focus

Think about what you want to say before you start organizing and writing your report. Ask yourself: Why do I care? Why is this important? Why will citizens care? Who does this affect? How does it affect them? Once you’ve decided what you want to say, keep your message focussed.

Audit Tip 2

Remember that less is always more

If you want people to read your reports—and understand what you are trying to say—you must make them concise. Use shorter, simpler, and clearer words. You don’t need to be verbose to sound authoritative.

Audit Tip 3

Write like you speak

Writing like you speak means using fewer words and keeping it simple! For example, instead of “adequate number of,” why not use “enough”? Instead of “in view of the fact,” just use “because”! Not sure if you are writing like you speak? Try reading it aloud.

Audit Tip 4

Drop the jargon

Jargon makes writing less clear. Think about what you are trying to say and simply say it (or write it)! Come up with alternatives that are clearer, less wordy, and more specific. A “paradigm shift” is just “change” and “granularity” is simply “detail.” If you can’t avoid a specific term, at least explain it so that everyone knows what it means.

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Want to learn more tips? Check out the CAAF’s Effective Report Writing Training.


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