Letter of acknowledgement

From CEOpedia | Management online

Letter of acknowledgment provides proof that a receiver has received specific documents, goods, services, a specific type of request, an order, etc. Letters of acknowledgment are often used for anything involved in a legal process and should be sent as soon as possible after the document is being received by you or your company. Their scope should be brief, without unnecessary exaggerations, just enough to give the most important information and complete a business communication cycle. Letters of acknowledgment serve both as an official form of receipt and a public relations tool, therefore, the language and the tone used to write them should be as polite as in any other formal letter. Additionally, they can sometimes refer to former meetings and conversations by agreeing on the terms that were offered or discussed by both parties. Rosalie Maggio in her book How to Say it states that:

"Sometimes a letter of acknowledgment also serves as a ‘thank you.’ Or it says you received the message or materials but will respond later, or that you passed them on to the appropriate person. Sometimes, too, ‘acknowledgment’ letters are really sales letters that use the excuse of acknowledging something (an order, a payment) to present an additional sales message." (R. Maggio 2001)

There are as many types of acknowledgment letters as things and reasons for them to be acknowledged by somebody. In business, letters of acknowledgment play an important role in trust building and communication. Regardless the type, they always indicate your consideration about the concerned party and express that you value its time and opinion. According to Henney, the most common form of letter of acknowledgment in business is the one sent in answer to an order letter. He explains:

"If there is to be the least delay in filling the order the letter acknowledging it should say so and should give the reason for it, but even if the order is filled promptly (if it is a large or a comparatively large one) the letter of acknowledgment should be sent." (N. Henney 2014)

As the letter of acknowledgment is usually a formal letter, it should have a proper structure and content. The typical letter of acknowledgment would consist of:

  • Name and address of sender,
  • Date and place,
  • Receiver address,
  • Information about case (e.g. case number),
  • Opening salutation,
  • Opening phrase, e.g.:
    • I hereby acknowledge the receipt of the following documents...
    • I am acknowledging receipt of...
    • We will make sure that the person responsible receives these materials...
  • Additional information, e.g.: If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me
  • Closing: Sincerely, Joe Lynch, Company X

It is necessary to specify what you are acknowledging. Too general or imprecise statement can be a source of problems in future legal process (e.g. someone thinks that you received document which was not attached).

Sample acknowledgment letter

Meredith Doe (Name of sender)
Head of Fundraising (Position of sender)
Black Cat Foundation (Company of sender)
120 Reservoir Rd, Atherton (Adress of sender)
CA 94027, USA (Adress of sender)

26.11.2018, Atherton (Date and place)

Mr John Smith (Name of recipient)
CEO (Position of recipient)
Philip Morris USA Inc (Company of recipient)
6601 W Broad St, Richmond (Address of recipient)
VA 23230, USA (Address of recipient)

Receiving of funds for the Project "Arizona" (Information about case)

Dear Mr Smith, (Opening salutation)

This is acknowledge that we received USD 10 000 from Philip Morris Inc in cash for the implementation of the Project "Arizona". (Opening phrase)

A donation receipt and a letter of thanks will be send to your postal address soon. I would like to thank you once again on behalf of our Foundation for your support and continuous commitment for the noble cause of Black Cat Foundation. (Main phrase)

In case of any questions feel free to contact us any time. (Additional information)

Sincerely, (Closing)
Meredith Doe (Name of sender)
Head of Fundraising (Position)
Black Cat Foundation (Company)

Examples of Letter of acknowledgement

  • Dear [Name],

We are writing this letter to acknowledge the receipt of your [document/goods/services/request/order] on [date]. We would like to thank you for your cooperation and are happy to confirm that all the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement have been fulfilled.

We are confident that this agreement will be mutually beneficial and our relationship will be long lasting.


[Your Name]

Advantages of Letter of acknowledgement

A letter of acknowledgement has many advantages. It serves as a formal way of both confirming receipt of documents, goods, services, or a request and of establishing a public relations cycle. Specifically, it can:

  • Provide evidence that a contract or agreement has been made, as well as the conditions of the agreement.
  • Show the receiver that their message or request has been received and that it is being taken into consideration.
  • Express gratitude for the sender's effort and time.
  • Demonstrate a company's professionalism by expressing understanding and respect.
  • Establish a positive public relations cycle between the two parties.
  • Help build trust and loyalty between parties.

Limitations of Letter of acknowledgement

A letter of acknowledgement has several limitations. These include:

  • It does not create or alter any legal rights or obligations. A letter of acknowledgement only serves to notify the recipient that the document has been received, not that the terms of the document are accepted or agreed to.
  • It cannot be used to prove the accuracy of the contents of the document. A letter of acknowledgement can only be used to confirm that the document was received and not to verify the facts or accuracy of the document.
  • It cannot be used as a substitute for the original document. A letter of acknowledgement cannot replace the original document, as it does not provide the same legal standing in court.
  • It is not a substitute for a contract. A letter of acknowledgement is not a substitute for a contract as it does not have legal enforceability and does not create any new obligations or duties.

Other approaches related to Letter of acknowledgement

A Letter of acknowledgement is an official document confirming the receipt of a document, goods, services, a specific type of request, an order, etc. Besides the primary purpose of the letter, which is to provide proof of the receipt of certain documents, there are other approaches that can be taken when writing an acknowledgement letter, such as:

  • Showing appreciation for the work done: When writing a letter of acknowledgement, it is important to express gratitude for the work done and the effort that was put into it, as it will help build a positive relationship between the two parties.
  • Building trust: Acknowledgement letters can also be used to build trust between the two parties by emphasizing the importance of the agreement and the honesty of both parties.
  • Demonstrating commitment: Writing a letter of acknowledgement can also be a way to demonstrate commitment to the agreement. By writing a formal letter of acknowledgement, it can show the other party that the agreement is taken seriously and that both parties are willing to uphold their end of the bargain.

In conclusion, a Letter of acknowledgement can serve many purposes other than just providing proof of receipt. It can be used to show appreciation for the work done, build trust, and demonstrate commitment to the agreement between the two parties.

Letter of acknowledgementrecommended articles
Refusal letterAdjustment letterReliance letterContractual relationshipCommissioner for oathsLimitation of liabilityLetter of instructionCertificate of substantial completionMutual assent


Author: Dominika Nikołajew