English Language Blog

Business English abbreviations Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in English Language

Image by Joe Houghton on Flickr.com

Image by Joe Houghton on Flickr.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

For all those ESL learners who use English for business purposes here are some important abbreviations for you to know. This is not a list of all business-related abbreviations (that list would be too long), but these are some of the most important abbreviations in my opinion. If you know any abbreviations that I should add to this list let me know by posting comment below.

Business English abbreviations:

AP – Accounts Payable – payments owed by a company to a supplier or creditor

CEO – Chief Executive Officer – the top most executive in a for-profit organization or business

CFO – Chief Financial Officer – the person primarily responsible for managing the financial risks of a business or corporation

CIO – Chief Investment Officer – the person responsible for a company’s investment portfolio by managing and monitoring all business investment activity

COO – Chief Operating Officer – the person who oversees ongoing business operations within a business or company; the COO reports to the CEO and is usually second-in-command at a company

FIFO – First In First Out – an asset-management method that involves using assets that are acquired first before assets that acquired later (or second)

HR – Human Resources – a person (or department) that is responsible for administration, hiring, and training all the people employed in a company

HQ – headquarters – the building that is the main administrative center of an organization; often the place where the top most people in a company work

K – an abbreviation for 1,000; for example, $350K is the same as $350,000

LLC – Limited Liability Company – a company that is set up so that members of the company cannot be held personally liable or responsible for company debt if the company has financial problems

MBA – Master’s of Business Administration – a graduate degree in business

MOQ – Minimum Order Quantity – the minimum amount that can be ordered of a particular product that a company sells

NAV – Net Asset Value – the value of a business’ assets minus the value of its liabilities

NYSE – New York Stock Exchange – the world’s largest stock exchange located in New York City on Wall street

PR – Public Relations – a person (or a department) that spreads information about a business or company and answers questions about the company

P&L – Profit and Loss – a financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs, and expenses that a company has during a specific period of time, often a quarter (1/4 of a year)

R&D – Research and Development – a department in a business that conducts research into making or developing new products

ROI  – Return on Investment – a financial term that refers to a number that a business looks at to see if an investment will be profitable

USP – Unique Selling Proposition – this refers to the unique qualities of a product that make it something people want to buy over another similar product

VAT – Value Added Tax – tax on certain goods and services (used in Europe)

WO – work order – an order received by a business from a customer to create something or complete certain work

YTD – Year-to-Date – the period from the beginning of the year to the present time; often used when talking about profit, loss, or productivity

Abbreviations that only have the first letter of the abbreviation capitalized:

Asst. – assistant – a person who works with and assists a person of ranks (a senior person) in a business

Dept. – department – a division of a large organization

Dir. – director – a person who is in charge of an activity, department, or organization

Ltd. – limited – a corporation or business that has limited financial liability or responsibility if the company has financial problems

Inc. – incorporated  – this indicates that a company has been legally declared a corporate entity, separate from its owners

mfg. – manufacturing – the making of  goods on a large scale using machinery

I welcome other contributions to this list!

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.