Spelling mistakes apparently cost millions. According to online entrepreneur Charles Duncombe, a single spelling mistake can cut website sales in half. Obviously another reason to bash our poor beleaguered education system then.
Ah but not so fast. Our poor grasp of the “3 Rs” could actually be down to the media’s failure to inform us properly. In a recent poll carried out by ComRes for the Institute of Economic Affairs, only 9% of those questioned realise that if you only reduce the deficit, rather than eliminate it, the overall debt of the UK will still increase. Apparently most people do not understand the difference between debt and deficit because the media has failed to tell them. Well it is blame the media week isn’t it?
Interesting as the two items above undoubtedly are, I think there is a point being missed here. It is not that basic education skills appear to be missing. It is the lack of the understanding necessary to use those skills to communicate properly. Spelling and numeracy are tools to be used to explain things rather than ends in themselves.
For example, in my chosen profession of accountancy, there is a vast difference between those who are able to prepare numbers and those who are able to present them to other people and use them to drive a business forward. Mathematically most businesses are simple. You sell a certain number of items for more than it costs you to make them and run your business. Or if you sell time it is about hours worked times at the rate that somebody is willing to pay. However the ability to relate these numbers to the bigger picture of where a business is going is what makes the difference between a competent accounts person and, say, a finance director.
Good communication skills, both oral and written, are essential in financial management as in other activities. A good understanding of English and Maths will help you be effective, but only if you know how and why you are using them. It’s as easy as ABC. Or 1-2-3……..