For some, it may seem like a small task which just involves clicking the spellcheck icon once a document has been written or created. In reality, there is much more to it. The repercussions of a lack of proofreading should be enough motivation to effectively proofread all documents going forward.

In this blog, we explore why proofreading is important, as well as the impacts on your business if your documents are not correctly proofread.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the final step which is taken before a document is considered to be ‘complete’. Whether for business purposes or academic assignments proofreading is key to making sure that the information you are communicating is accurate, clear and to the best quality.

The case for making proofreading a necessity for business documents is strong because if any errors slip through the net, they will impact how stakeholders perceive the business. In order to protect the reputation of an organisation or brand, all business communications should be checked thoroughly.

It is one thing to edit a document, and another to proofread it. The editing comes first and looks more at the structure and cohesiveness of the document.

Once everything has been edited, compiled and reviewed, you can then start to proofread. Proofreading is the fine-tuning of any errors in the text, checking for typographical errors in the spelling, grammar and sentence structure. To find out more about the differences, read our Proofreading vs. Copyediting guide.

Why Proofreading is Important

Aside from the obvious benefits of eradicating spelling and grammar mistakes, there really are important reasons to proofread, as it could protect the reputation of your business.

Have you ever been looking through a brochure or received a letter from an organisation which has had a typo in it? Perhaps an email where the subject line hasn’t been updated or something is spelt incorrectly on the website?

Chances are, you have come across something like this at some point. It may have made you think differently about the business, that perhaps they are careless and don’t take the time to make sure everything is perfect. This behaviour could be reflected in the customer service, you may think.

While this is hypothetical, it could be the sort of thing that your customers may feel if they receive a communication from you which contains typographical errors, or the word you typed has autocorrected to something else. Depending on the extremity of the error, even if only to one individual, it could be dangerous.

We know the power of social media. If a customer is not satisfied with something from a business, they will likely share it on social media for all to see. This is the sort of thing that proofreading aims to avoid.

Proofreading is paramount in official business documents, too. For example, with annual reports or financial documents, numbers need to be very carefully checked. Actual figures should be checked in the editing stage to make sure nothing is mistyped, but remembering to use currency symbols where necessary are the sorts of things that nitpickers will look out for.

Having correct spelling and grammar reinforces a level of professionality and knowledge.

For further information, read our guide on common errors to look out for when proofreading.

Impact on Businesses

Aside from the potential negativity on social media, think about the impact on the business and the customers.

A typo could end up changing the entire meaning of a sentence. If you hit a button too fast or your finger slides along to the next one as you move your hand, autocorrect could take over.

While everyone will do their best to make sure all information and content is accurate, it can be almost impossible to create a perfect document the first time without checking it.

Proofreading Communications

For example, think of the different reactions these two, very similar, sentences which could be received by shareholders:

  • Company X has now increased profits by 25% as planned
  • Company X has not increased profits by 25% as planned

There is just one letter different but the personal impact it could have on investors is huge and may ensue a state of panic, if the first statement is actually the one which is true.

The Cost of Inaccurate Information

Something as small as a comma, a hyphen or one inaccurate spelling could be dangerous to your brand. We hope that this blog has highlighted the importance of proofreading.

For some guidance on how to effectively proofread your documents, read our blog. If you would like a professional proofreader to examine your document for you, please feel free to get in touch or obtain an instant quote via our site. We provide high quality academic and business proofreading services, our qualified team can check your documents for any errors in spelling and grammar as well as inconsistencies in syntax.

Rest assured that our team of proofreaders will be thorough in their checks so you can be confident in the business document you are about to share with your stakeholders.