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Notes on active vs passive

Compare these active and passive verbs from the passage

Active voice Passive voice
the report suggests accountants are expected to facilitate
management accounting needs to focus changes need to be implemented
management accounting involved concentration needs to be given

With the passive voice examples we are not told:

  • who needs to implement changes
  • who expects accountants to ...
  • who needs to concentrate on ...
The active voice places the emphasis on the 'actor' (the subject of the verb) The passive voice places the emphasis on what is being done / should be done, rather than on who is doing it / should do it.

They should implement changes.

We now expect accountants to actively facilitate decision-making.

Changes should be implemented.

Accountants are now expected to actively facilitate decision-making.

With some passive verbs the 'actor' is mentioned, usually using the preposition by.


Changes need to be implemented by management accountants.

In this type of sentence, the emphasis is still on:

  • what needs to happen (changes)
  • rather than on
  • who needs to do it (management accountants)
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