Deciphering the 123 Most Common Business Acronyms

By Kat Moon

Ever feel like your co-workers—or, worse, your boss—are speaking to you in a different language? No, I’m not talking about your team suddenly deciding to conduct a meeting entirely in French. I’m talking about what often seems to be the language of the business world: acronyms.

While some of us have the guts to ask for clarification when we have no idea what’s being said, others of us cringe at the thought of asking potentially “stupid” questions. Well, to everyone in the latter group: Today’s your lucky day. We’ve rounded up abbreviations for the most commonly used terms that you’re likely to run into at work (or more likely, in an email).

Better yet, they’re categorized by department, so you can prep before a meeting with your finance, technical, or marketing teams. (And because we’re pretty sure that, regardless of your role, you don’t want to be the only one who nods with a confused smile when there’s a RFD because the CTR for your website decreased and a QA test is required by EOD.)


BID: Break it down

COB: Close of business

EOD: End of day

EOM: End of message

EOT: End of thread

EOW: End of week

ETA: Estimated time of arrival

FTE: Full-time employee

FWIW: For what it’s worth

IAM: In a meeting

IMO: In my opinion

KISS: Keep it short and simple

LET: Leaving early today

LMK: Let me know

MoM: Month over month

MTD: Month to date

NIM: No internal message

OOO: Out of office

OT: Off topic

OTP: On the phone

PA: Performance appraisal

POC: Point of contact

PTE: Part-time employee

PTO: Paid time off

NRN: No reply necessary

NSFW: Not safe for work

NWR: Not work related

Re: Referring to

RFD: Request for discussion

SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound

SME: Subject matter expert

TED: Tell me, explain to me, describe to me

TL;DR: Too long, didn’t read

TLTR: Too long to read

TOS: Terms of service

TYT: Take your time

WFH: Work from home

WIIFM: What’s in it for me

WOM: Word of mouth

YTD: Year to date


ACCT: Account

AP: Accounts payable

AR: Accounts receivable

BS: Balance sheet

CPU: Cost per unit

CR: Credit

DR: Debit

EPS: Earnings per share

FIFO: First in, first out

IPO: Initial public offering

LIFO: Last in, first out

LWOP: Leave without pay

NAV: Net assets value

P-card: Purchase card

ROA: Return on assets

ROE: Return on equity

ROI: Return on investment

P/E: Price to earnings

P&L: Profit and loss


API: Application program interface

CPU: Central processing unit

CSS: Cascading style sheet

FTP: File transport protocol

HTML: HyperText markup language

HTTP: HyperText transfer protocol

HTTPS: HyperText transfer protocol secure

IM: Instant messaging

IP: Internet protocol

ISP: Internet service provider

OS: Operating system

QA: Quality assurance

UI: User interface

URL: Universal resource locator

UX: User experience

VPN: Virtual private network

RAM: Random-access memory

ROR: Ruby on Rails

RSS: Rich site summary or really simple syndication

WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get

marketing and sales

AIDA: Attention, interest, desire, action

B2B: Business to business

B2C: Business to consumer

BR: Bounce rate

CMS: Content management system

CPC: Cost per click

CTA: Call to action

CTR: Click through rate

CR: Conversion rate

CRM: Customer relationship management

DM: Direct message or direct mail

ESP: Email service provider

GA: Google Analytics

KPI: Key performance indicator

PPC: Pay per click

PV: Page view

RFP: Request for proposal

ROS: Run of site

RT: Retweet

SaaS: Software as a service

SEO: Search engine optimization

SM: Social media

SMB: Small to medium business

SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

UV: Unique visitor


BD: Business development

CAO: Chief analytics officer

CDO: Chief data 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

CSR: Corporate social responsibility

CTO: Chief technology officer

CFP: Certified financial planner

DOE: Depending on experience

GC: General counsel

HR: Human resources

PM: Project manager

PR: Public relations

R&D: Research and development





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This blog is Zoe's way to spread the joy of finding and learning interesting bits about English. Join her and learn something new every time.

2 responses to “Deciphering the 123 Most Common Business Acronyms”

  1. Dwayne says :

    FYSA – for your situational awareness

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