Writing and speaking about Accion


Accion has standard boilerplates available to describe our work to media, event planners, and other external parties. These are available in English and Spanish, and many sub-brands have their own version of the boilerplate. You can see all Accion’s boilerplates here. Always source boilerplates from this document rather than reusing previous versions to ensure you have the most up-to-date version.

Brand voice

Accion’s brand voice is solutions-oriented and relatable. It reflects our desire to create a fair and inclusive economy for the nearly 2 billion people who are failed by the global financial system. It highlights Accion’s legacy as an innovator in inclusive finance, with a track record of bringing partners together to deliver solutions that benefit millions of people globally. 

Brand voice attributes

Clear. Be brief, focused, goal-oriented, crisp, and precise. Avoid euphemisms. 

Impactful. Focus on the impact of our work and what these new solutions enable people to do that they could not before. Highlight the results (person, family, community, sector) of our work and what that means for end clients. 

Bold. Promote our ideals. Advocate for financial solutions that help reduce poverty and promote and economic well-being, with small businesses, smallholder farmers and women at the center Use an assertive tone and short statements. 

Urgent. Show a sense of urgency and that we have an opportunity to make a difference today. Make our case through tangible, concrete facts and information backed by solid data. Get to the point. 

Real. Inspire through personal stories of clients. Show how responsible digital financial solutions enable underserved people around the world to make informed decisions and improve their lives. 

Collaborative. Show how we excel at bringing people together, focusing on social impact and driving systems level change. Express passion about client successes and the contributions of partners and supporters. Actively encourage engagement, participation, and collaboration. 

Writing guidelines

All writing about Accion should adhere to our brand voice and connect our work to our broader vision of financial inclusion. To tell Accion’s story effectively, always use accessible language, taking care not to overwhelm people with too much information, and staying focused on what matters most to the audiences we are targeting. Use active voice and strong headlines to engage readers. Avoid jargon and acronyms whenever possible as they may be alienating to some readers and make the tone less human. Always connect individual clients with a name, quote, or full story — avoid speaking anonymously about clients or featuring client photos without identifying them. Never feature our work or our clients in a way that evokes hopelessness or desperation since this is unfair to our clients and unhelpful to our mission. The stories we tell should be human and show the active agency of the people we work with, and never objectify. 

Accion’s preferred style manual is the AP Stylebook. We follow APA Style for how to cite sources however, we use footnotes at the base of each page (not in-text citations) for long-form writing. 

All documents must be screened for originality prior to sharing with anyone outside of Accion, regardless of how these documents are shared (e.g., via email or posted on a website). The document review process follows the steps outlined here. Users must be logged in to Accion’s SharePoint to view.

If you have a question about these styles, please contact the Communications Team. 

Accion terminology and grammar 

The information listed below is specific to Accion’s voice and the issue areas where we work. When in conflict, these rules take precedence over AP Stylebook guidelines. CFI has some separate exceptions and additions to the AP Stylebook, which can be found here. If you have a question that is not addressed by our style guides, please contact the Communications Team. 

  • Accent marks: When writing in English, you can use accent marks in the names of individuals and businesses, but not for other words. 
  • Agritech: Refers to agricultural technology. Do not use “agtech” or “AgTech,” and do not capitalize. 
  • Avoid some common phrases: Phrases that objectify people or militarize our work, such as bottom of pyramid (BOP), boots on the ground, or third world are to be avoided. 
  • Currency: We are a global organization, so we should use country names with currency when needed to avoid confusion. The full currency name can be spelled out (example: 200 Chinese yuan) or use shortened with the country code and symbol, with no space, before the amount (example: CN¥200). Currencies with unique symbols, such as the Euro (€) and Pounds Sterling (£), can be used without country codes. The dollar symbol ($) will be assumed to represent U.S. dollars when used without a country code, but the country code should still be included (US$) except in cases where space is limited, such as social media and headlines. 
  • Dashes and hyphens: Use an em dash — with a space on each side — to break off a word or phrase from the rest of a sentence for emphasis. En dashes (–) should be reserved for dates and time. Follow AP Stylebook’s guidance for compound words and other uses of hyphens (-). 
  • Digital or novel words: As new technology or industries flourish, Accion stays at the forefront. This includes how we name these areas. Just as we use email and not e-mail, we say ecommerce, not e-commerce. In addition to avoiding unnecessary hyphens, we avoid most mid-word capitalization, including for words like fintech, agritech, and edtech. 
  • Digitization vs. Digitalization: Accion uses digitization across the board and does not distinguish between digitization and digitalization.
  • Double spacing: Accion uses single spacing between sentences. Please do not double tap. 
  • Fintech: Refers to financial technology. Do not use “FinTech” or capitalize. 
  • Geography: Follow the AP Stylebook’s rules for geography and capitalization. For example: sub-Saharan Africa, not Sub-Saharan Africa. When communicating about regions of the world, the World Bank’s regional names and groupings are preferred. 
  • Headlines: Headlines and subheads for editorial content should use sentence case. 
  • Neobank: One word, no hyphen. 
  • Micro: For common words in the financial inclusion space that use micro, one word, no hyphen is preferable: microbusiness, microentrepreneur. The exception is when microenterprise is used in the phrase micro, small, and medium enterprises. 
  • MSME: This acronym stands for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises — not Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises. 
  • Percentages: Always use numerals when talking about percentages, even when the number is small. When writing short-form content — including social media posts, email blurbs, or headlines — use the % symbol with no space between the number and the symbol (example: 65%). In longer-form content — including articles, reports, and case studies — spell out percent or percentage points with a space after the figure (examples: 3 percent, 8 percentage points). 
  • Pronouns: When writing about people, use the pronouns appropriate to their gender, if known. If gender is unknown or irrelevant, use the singular they. If someone has stated preferred pronouns, always follow that preference. Use we or us when referring to Accion. For businesses other than Accion, use it when referring to the business itself or they when referring to a group of people at the business. 
  • Serial comma: For the sake of clarity, consistency, and readability, always use a serial comma. 

Find more information on Accion’s brand guidelines and core brand assets.