Not editing your tables sufficiently

Nature abhors a vacuum. And we abhor blank rows and columns in tables. Often, blank rows or columns arise because a client may not have information that needs to be included in that row or column. Consider this fairly common example.

Company/Fund Manager Owner Cost Date of Acquisition Current Value Debt Net Value
Hesta Superannuation Barbara N/a Commenced 1997 $59,600 n/a $59,600
CBUS Super Brian N/a Commenced 1993 $156,000 n/a $156,000
Vanguard Australian Shares Joint $50,000 11/2013 $48,000 $50,000 -$2,000
             
             

The two extra rows make it look as though something has been missed out. This table looks much better:

Company/Fund Manager Owner Cost Date of Acquisition Current Value Debt Net Value
Hesta Superannuation Barbara N/a Commenced 1997 $59,600 n/a $59,600
CBUS Super Brian N/a Commenced 1993 $156,000 n/a $156,000
Vanguard Australian Shares Joint $50,000 11/2013 $48,000 $50,000 -$2,000

We might, at a push, agree that a blank row between the headings and the date can be helpful. Like this:

Company/Fund Manager Owner Cost Date of Acquisition Current Value Debt Net Value
             
Hesta Superannuation Barbara N/a Commenced 1997 $59,600 n/a $59,600
CBUS Super Brian N/a Commenced 1993 $156,000 n/a $156,000
Vanguard Australian Shares Joint $50,000 11/2013 $48,000 $50,000 -$2,000

But, other than that, we like as little blank space as possible in the table. Those few extra rows on each table can add up to an entire unnecessary page for the SOA, which completely confounds our mantra: clear, concise and precise.

The Dover Group