Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Courage (or Insanity) of Using Active Voice

Auditors can be in a tricky position when auditing the very people who pay them. We often hear that active voice is better than passive. But which of these sentences would you choose when writing to a client you are auditing?
Active: The CFO directs Accounts Payable to withhold vendor checks until 30 days past the due date.
Passive: Vendor checks are withheld until 30 days past the due date.
Of course, the active version is clearer because it indicates the guilty party, but you might want to choose the more diplomatic passive version in this case—unless you want your check to be withheld until 60 days past the due date.