Ten business etiquette tips

2No-one wants to work in an environment which is unpleasant, unproductive and ripe for litigation, which is exactly what you will get where employees are rude, careless and dismissive. Such behaviour will spill over to customers and will eventually lead to legal proceedings and loss of business. Proper business etiquette practices must start from the top, but every employee should contribute towards promoting these values.

1. Everyone Has a Role

Remember that all the employees in your company and their jobs are interconnected, and that what happens to one, affects the other. Don’t treat any employee in such a way that, when you need him tomorrow, he has become disloyal because of your treatment of him.

2. Make Meetings Useful

When you call a meeting, keep other employees’ schedules in mind, and come to the meeting prepared and organised, so as not to waste people’s time. Thank everyone for their contributions and attendance, and be sure to send out minutes of the meeting with action items. If these are not necessary, it means that the meeting was not supposed to be held in the first place.

3. Prompt Communication

If you receive a call or email from a client or employee, tend to the matter as soon as possible. Even if you cannot make work of it right away, let the person know that it might take some time, but that you are looking into the matter.

4. Use of email

The speed of sending emails can lead to careless, sloppy writing and unprofessional appearance. Use correct spelling, grammar and punctuation, as you would with any other written communication. Avoid unclear information or one-word answers, so that you can wrap the exchange up without too many emails being sent.

5. Respect Others’ Time

When you have to interrupt someone, try to do it at a time that suits them. Be polite and quick, so that he can get back to his work. Don’t interrupt meetings unless it is extremely urgent.

6. Dress for Success

It is always safer to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Take care with your appearance – it sends out a message of respect to your employer, co-workers and customers.

7. Keep Your Boss Informed

Don’t inundate your boss with compliments or always agree with him. Treat everyone with respect, but remember that your employer is your superior. Keep him informed of any setbacks, problems or developments you might experience, so that he is aware of your situation at all times.

8. Respect Other Cultures

If your company works across language, cultural and geographical borders, remember to treat others with respect. Try to learn at least the basic how-do-you-do’s in all the languages you do business in to demonstrate your desire for cooperation. Study different customs of greeting, eating and public holidays, for example, so that you display the correct behaviour.

9. Timelines

There are often timelines and deadlines in business which you have to keep. This means that you will sometimes have to forfeit teatime or shorten your lunch hour because you have more pressing matters to attend to.

10. Remember the Basics

The most important rule is to remember your basic manners, such as “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. Don’t raise your voice and never use offensive language.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.




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IC Marais

Professional experience:

IC Marais is a certified CA (SA) with public sector and private sector technical knowledge based on 5 years’ Public Sector accounting, auditing and financial management experience and 5 years audit, tax and accounting experience. Detailed knowledge of private and public sector accounting and auditing standards (GRAP, IPSAS, IFRS, IAS, ISA) and public sector financial legislation (MFMA, etc.)

He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and fishing.



Professional experience:

In 1995, Schalk started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and then Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007) in Bloemfontein. In 1998, Schalk was appointed as manager at Moores Rowland, where he became a partner in 2003. Schalk received his Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Taxation in 2006 and in 2009 he received his Certificate in the Administration of Estates.



Professional experience:

Cedric started as a trainee at Warner and Newton (which became Moores Rowland in 1997 and Mazars Moores Rowland in 2007), Bloemfontein, in 1986. After completion of his articles, he joined the Special Investigations Division of the Department of Finance (SA Revenue Services) as a senior inspector from 1990 to 1991.



Professional experience:

Lucha started her career as a tax inspector at the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand. After this she worked in commerce in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

On her return to South Africa, she completed her CA training contract with us and has been with Newtons ever since. She became a Partner in 2012.

Apart from her CA(SA) qualification she also holds a postgraduate certificate in Advanced Taxation (2005) and has the overall responsibility for training as our Training Officer.