Business Word Abbreviations: Common Terms and What They Mean

Want to be business-savvy without an M.B.A.? Half of business sense is about knowing the jargon of the field — including the many abbreviations and acronyms you’ll find on business invoices, office signage and corporate emails. Learn the most common business acronyms and abbreviations to become a newly minted captain of industry.

Business colleagues in board room at office Business colleagues in board room at office
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General Business Acronyms and Abbreviations

Some business abbreviations and initialisms are more common or official than others. If you want to understand the latest company memo, you'll need to commit these terms to memory.

  • ADP - Automated Data Processing
  • Approx - Approximately
  • Attn - Attention
  • BAT - Business Action Theory
  • BCC - Blind Copied
  • BID - Break It Down
  • BIMS - Business Information Management Suite
  • BPC - Business Planning Cycle
  • CC - Copy To
  • EOD - End of Day
  • EOW - End of Week
  • ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival
  • EXP - Export
  • GDP - Gross Domestic Product
  • GMP - Good Manufacturing Practices
  • LWOP - Leave Without Pay
  • MTD - Month to Date
  • OOO - Out of Office
  • Pls - Please
  • POC - Point of Contact
  • Qty - Quantity
  • Stsfctn - Satisfaction
  • Svngs - Savings
  • TBD - To Be Determined
  • Thx - Thanks
  • Trd - Trade
  • Trnsfr - Transfer
  • Ttl - Total
  • Unltd - Unlimited
  • Utlztn - Utilization
  • W/O - Without
  • WFH - Work From Home
  • Whol - Wholesale
  • Wrkshp - Workshop
  • Wrldwd - Worldwide
  • Wst - Waste
  • YTD - Year To Date

Abbreviations for Job Titles

Most people understand that a CEO runs a company, but what do those three letters stand for and how is a CEO different from a CMO, CFO or COO? Learn the difference between C-Suite roles and the rest of the titles in an organization

  • AGT - Agent
  • AR - Authorized Representative
  • BKPR - Bookkeeper
  • CAO - Chief Accounting Officer (or Chief Analytics Officer)
  • CEO - Chief Executive Officer
  • CFO - Chief Financial Officer
  • CIO - Chief Information Officer
  • CMO - Chief Marketing Officer
  • COO - Chief Operating Officer
  • CPA - Certified Public Accountant
  • CSO - Chief Security Officer
  • CTO - Chief Technology Officer
  • GC - General Counsel
  • GM - General Manager
  • HR - Human Resources
  • MGR - Manager
  • PM - Project Manager
  • PR - Public Relations
  • QC - Quality Control
  • R&D - Research and Development
  • Secl - Secretarial
  • Slsmn - Salesman
  • SME - Subject Matter Expert
  • Wrkr - Worker
  • Wrhse - Warehouse

Financial Abbreviations for Businesses

In the world of business, it always comes down to the bottom line. And you'll need to know what all those numbers really mean

  • ACCT - Account
  • ACR - Accrual
  • ACV - Actual Cash Value
  • AGI - Adjusted Gross Income
  • AGR - Adjusted Gross Revenue
  • A/R - Accounts Receivable
  • A/P - Accounts Payable
  • BS - Balance Sheet
  • BGT - Budget
  • CPU - Cost Per Unit
  • COGS - Cost of Goods Sold
  • CPTAL - Capital
  • EPS - Earnings Per Share
  • FIFO - First In, First Out
  • GL - General Ledger
  • GP - Gross Profit
  • IPO - Initial Public Offering
  • LC - Letter of Credit
  • LIFO - Last In, First Out
  • MoM - Month over Month
  • NAV - Net Asset Value
  • OC - Opportunity Cost
  • PC - Percent
  • Pd - Paid
  • P/E - Price-to-earnings ratio
  • P&L - Profit and Loss
  • Re - In Reference To
  • RE - Retained Earnings
  • ROA - Return on Assets
  • ROE - Return on Equity
  • ROI - Return on Investment
  • WC - Working Capital
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Sales and Marketing Abbreviations

In the world of sales, the unofficial acronym ABC (Always Be Closing) reigns supreme. However, there are a few more you need to know in order to close that big sale.

  • AD - Advertisement
  • B2B - Business to Business
  • B2C - Business to Consumer
  • BD - Business Development
  • BDC - Business Development Company/Council
  • BR - Bounce Rate
  • COD - Cash on Delivery
  • Comp - Item given for free
  • CPC - Cost Per Click
  • CR - Conversion Rate
  • KPI - Key Performance Indicator
  • PO - Purchase Order
  • RFP - Request For Proposal 
  • SEO - Search Engine Optimization
  • Sls - Sales
  • SP - Strategic Plan
  • USP - Unique Selling Point
  • Val - Value

Legal Abbreviations in Business

While you may not need to know all the ins and outs of the courtroom, knowing your IPO from your LLC is important.

  • HQ - Headquarters
  • Inc. - Incorporated
  • LBO - Limited Buyout
  • Ltd. - Limited Company
  • LLC - Limited Liability Corp.
  • TOS - Terms of Service

Brevity Is King

Now, when you hear the "CEO wants ttl wrldwd stsfctn & sls w/o wst," you'll know exactly what he wants! Or at least you will after referring back to this list of handy acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms. For more helpful business resources, check out: