How to Write a Professional Accounting Memo (with Template)
Finding an official source that shows you how to compose a clear, professional, and easily readable accounting memo can be a challenge.
So, we crafted this helpful guide and a general memo template you can refer to whenever you need to send one.
In this article, we’ll describe some scenarios of when an accounting memo is beneficial and provide you with a memo template to download and customize for your own use.
Then, we’ll touch on the primary elements to include in official memos and share some expert writing tips to help you quickly compose a straightforward and easy-to-read memo.
Situations Where an Accounting Memo Is Useful
Whether sent internally or externally, memos allow you to communicate important information and updates with your staff, clients, or both.
For instance, if your firm changes its payment procedures or updates other client policies, an official memo is an effective way to inform your clients of such changes.
You could also advise your staff of a new accounting software or program you’re adopting and the timeline for its implementation or share any other important information they should know.
Here are a few other situations where you may need to send out a memo:
- Formal communications with clients
- Introducing new hires to the firm
- Informing staff of changes to the code of conduct/workplace policies
- Updates on regulation/compliance requirements
- Sharing upcoming training sessions or professional development opportunities
- Providing budgetary or financial information
- Progress updates on projects/client work
A Free Accounting Memo Template
To get you started, you’ll find a sample accounting memo below. Use this template as a guide to craft your own informative memo.
Accounting Policy Memorandum
From: [Author’s Name]
To: [Recipient’s Name(s), Titles, etc.]
Subject: Changes to Billable Hours Policy
Effective [Date], [Firm Name]’s billable hour targets will be adjusted to a minimum of [# of hours] hours for all staff accountants with a realization goal of [realization target]%.
This policy update is essential to helping us maintain our competitive edge and ensure an equitable workload across the entire organization.
A team meeting will be scheduled to address any questions or concerns about the policy update. Please direct any detailed questions to your manager in the meantime, and see the attached document for more information.
[Title of the Author]
Download this free memo template and customize it for your needs. Click the link below, select “File” at the top left-hand corner of the page and then “Download,” and choose your preferred document format.
Accounting Memo Template (Google Doc)
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Things to Include in your Accounting Memo
Your memos can serve different purposes, so you may need to alter the content slightly depending on the situation. The following are some of the most common elements that you find in an official memo:
- Header: The header includes the first elements of a memo, providing the reader with context about what’s in it. It typically consists of the “Date,” “To,” “From,” “Subject,” and “cc” lines at the beginning.
- To/from/cc: The “To” line indicates the primary recipient(s) of the memo, and “From” says who the sender or author is. Use the “cc” line only if you send the memo to other staff or departments for increased awareness.
- Subject line: This should briefly describe the memo’s topic or purpose and grab the reader’s attention. Think of the subject line as the title for a memo.
- Introduction/background: This is a sentence or two clearly explaining the main point of the memo. If needed, you can provide some background information as context for the rest of the memo’s content.
- Body/analysis: This is the main section of your memo, where you provide essential information and include any further analysis or supporting details.
- Conclusion/recommendations: After long pieces of text, you can include a summary of the key points as a conclusion or guide readers on any next steps they need to take.
- Attachments/appendix: In some cases, you may need to attach supporting documents or files like financial statements, PowerPoint flowcharts, Excel tables, auditing research, or accounting records to offer additional information on the memo’s main subject.
- Approval/signatures: This section can include the signatures or names of individuals who approved or signed off on the memo’s content before sending it.
- Footer: This last section, if needed, can include page numbers, disclosures, or confidentiality statements as necessary.
4 Tips for Writing a Clear and Effective Memo
These tips can help you write memos with clear, concise, and impactful messages.
1. Write a Strong Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing recipients see and determines whether they continue reading the rest of the memo. Be sure it’s specific and pertains to the memo’s contents and purpose. That helps recipients understand what they’re about to read and why it’s relevant to their work.
For instance, a subject line like “Policy Updates” may look generic, routine, and unimportant. However, a subject line of “2024 Remote Work Policy Changes” is more likely to capture the recipient’s attention and get them to read the entire memo.
2. Use Simple Language
An accounting memo’s purpose is to communicate important information. Be sure to use simple but professional language that makes your message easy to understand by its intended recipients.
Employ straightforward language that’s to the point rather than wordy or full of jargon and acronyms. Stay focused on the memo’s intent and avoid excess content that might detract from the readers’ ability to understand the key takeaways. You can always include supporting details to enhance your message as long as you keep it brief.
3. Follow a Clear Structure
Even if you don’t use specific headings to separate the individual sections of your memo, follow a clear structure with an introduction, a middle section with an explanation, and a conclusion.
Following a logical structure and flow makes your memo easier to follow and leaves readers with a solid understanding of any new information or the next steps they need to take.
4. Use Previous Memos as Examples
Memo formatting can vary greatly depending on the organization, the purpose, and the person composing it. If you’re writing a memo for the first time and seeking additional direction, try to find an example of a previous memo sent by the firm and match the style and detail in your own voice.
This example can illustrate how you should structure your memo, the typical length and level of detail provided, and the formality of the language. These and other relevant details can make the style of your memo more cohesive with others from the firm.