Email Etiquette - SBCA Chartered Accountants

These days, everyone is under pressure. We respond to email from computers, tablets and smartphones. We are all working harder and sometimes we can fall into bad habits when it comes to our email etiquette. Here are a few tips to help counter this:

Open emails quickly and respond

It is very frustrating to send emails and not get a single response.

The sender will begin to wonder if the emails even went through or whether they have been delayed.

You can respond to communicate that you have received the message and you will read it in greater detail at a later time. It gives the sender peace of mind.

Communicate clearly

Long-winded emails never get the attention of the reader.

Get to the point quicker to ensure people read and understand your message. However, avoid slang and shorthand in your email, as that will come across as unprofessional.

Your subject should match what you have typed in the message body and attachment.

Double check for any typos before you send and don’t trust spell checker as it doesn’t pick up every mistake.

Address people properly

One of the dangers of communicating via email is that it is quite casual. However if you are addressing someone in a formal email, do so properly.

For example, use “Dear Mr Smith” if you are responding to a customer complaint email.

Be careful with forwarding messages

Assess the benefit or usefulness and validity of an email before forwarding to others.

Always take the time to type a personal comment to accompany the forwarded email so that the person receiving knows you have read it and what you want them to do.

Manage attachments

If you are sending an attachment with an email message, try to keep the number of attachments to a minimum. I

f you send 10 attachments there is always the danger that one of them could be missed. In addition, people tend to use smartphones a lot for email.

They may not wait to download large attachments if they are rushing around. As such, make sure that your attachments have fairly small file sizes.


Email formatting and accuracy are important, especially in a business context. Email has essentially replaced the handwritten letter in modern society. As such, format your text so that it looks tidy. With email, it is attention to detail that makes all the difference when it comes to conveying a professional image.