At some times, work can become a little overwhelming for every one of us. It just happens that we can’t imagine it becoming even worse. But we assure you it can.

A whole range of criteria has to be satisfied to flourish at work, and doing your job right is just a half of work.

One of the key elements of every successful business is good communication, not only with clients but also between the colleagues in the office.

However, for many people, even their dream job can turn into a worse nightmare, when they realize they just don’t fit in that particular group of people who seem to be talking on another language.

Why does this happen?

Perhaps it didn’t really matter until, all of a sudden, all the conversation (from casual to formal) turned into three-letter words with no particular meaning.

Surely you’ve heard of these little phrases on your workplace, but have you ever thought of what they represent or what are the benefits of using them?

Many times your boss just can’t spare 5 more minutes to explain to you what’s going on, so he just says IAM or TTYL.

And your colleagues leave earlier every day but the only thing they leave is a note saying LET.

Are you starting to feel like an alien in your own office?

It’s like everyone else has their secret language and keep talking behind your back.

Well, be sure it’s not as secret as that. And even the best of them occasionally forget what some of these mean so they just nod their heads to show understanding.

Maybe it’s time to master this important communication skill and stop hiding from your boss to avoid answering this alien language.

Here we chose more than 120 most common business acronyms that every worker should know how to use.

They are also separated into sections, to make it easier for understanding and learning.

Keep reading to learn more about these weird phrases you hear around the office all the time.

Also remind yourself to use them as often as possible, since they’ll make you sound more professional.


HBD: Happy birthday

TBH: To be honest

LBh: Let’s be honest

ASF: As fuck (it can also be spelled as AF)

FML: Fuck my life – Useful for whenever your employer starts harassing you

BCS: Because

NSFW: Not safe for work

SFW: Safe for work

FOMO: Fear of missing out

LMK: Let me know

OMW: On my way

FYI: For your information

BRB: Be right back

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

TTYS: Talk To You Soon

ATM: At The Moment

BAE: Before Anyone Else

LIFO: Last in and First out


AB: Administrative Board

ABCP: Associate Business Continuity Planner

ABM: Area Business Manager

ABW: Activity Based Workplace

AC: Academic Counselor

AM: Accounts Manager

BD: Business development – They help their companies with finding new clients or selling services/products to existing ones.

BKPR: Bookkeeper

CAO: Chief analytics officer – Leads the company’s data analytics strategy.

CDO: Chief data officer – He oversees many data-related functions to make sure the company gets the most from what could be its most valuable asset.

CEO: Chief executive officer – The highest-ranking executive, whose main duties include making important corporate decisions and managing the resources of a company. He is also the public face of the company.

CFO: Chief financial officer – His primary responsibility is to manage the company’s finances. He also manages financial risks, does financial planning and reporting.

CIO: Chief information officer – A person in charge of IT (information technology) strategy.

CMO: Chief marketing officer – Corporate executive who takes care of the company’s activities, such as communicating and creating offers for customers or business partners.

COO: Chief operating officer – A senior executive whose task is to oversee administrative and operational business functions.

CPA: Certified public accountant – He is a consultant on issues like accounting and taxes.

CSO: Chief security officer – Senior-level executive, responsible for the development of programs and policies for strategic, operational and financial security risk strategies for protecting people.

CSR: Corporate social responsibility – Service that helps the company become socially accountable to itself and the public.

CTO: Chief technology officer – An executive position with a focus on technical and scientific issues within the company.

CFP: Certified financial planner – An expert in areas such as financial planning, insurance, estate planning, taxes, and retirement. A person who completed the CFP Board’s initial exams and got a certificate from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

DOE: Depending on experience.

GC: General counsel – Also known as Chief legal officer (CLO), the general counsel is the main lawyer of the legal department, typically in a governmental department or a company. His responsibilities involve finding legal issues in different departments.

HR: Human resources – Department managing human resources and overseeing a range of aspects of employment.

SME: Subject matter expert – Also known as a Domain expert, SME indicates a person with special knowledge and skills in a specific topic or area. Read more at Wikipedia’s article.

STRATCOM: Strategic Communications

POC: Point of contact – POC represents a department or a person who’s a focal point of information about a certain program or activity. This acronym is used when precision is important and information is time-sensible. For example in WHOIS databases.

PM: Project manager – A person responsible for leading projects from start to execution. This position involves managing people, making plans and executions.

PR: Public relations – Represents a connection between the company and the public and media. A PR specialist can communicate with the audience directly, and more often by different media. The aim is to maintain a positive image of the organization or to create a strong bond with the public.

R&D: Research and development – They play an important role in a company’s success and help the business be more competitive.

Banking and Financial Acronyms

ACCT: Account.

AR: Accounts receivable – AP represents amounts of money that customers owe for services/goods used on credit

AP: Accounts payable – AP usage refers to a business department responsible for payments from the company to suppliers.

AIR: Assumed interest rate – This represents the rate of interest and growth rate selected by an insurance company.

BS: Balance sheet – It’s a snapshot that represents all the company’s finances at a particular moment.

CD: Certificate of deposit.

CPU: Cost per unit – CPU of production is equivalent to the total cost of production divided by the number of units produced.

CR: Credit.

CR: Conversion Rate

CRO: Conversion Rate Optimisation

CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

CAPEX: Capital Expenditures

CD: Certificate of Deposit

CF: Cash flow

DR: Debit.

EPS: Earnings per share – The company’s profit divided its number of common outstanding shares.

ETF: Exchange Traded Funds

FOREX: Foreign exchange – Also known as FX, this term represents the market for currency trading. For example, a euro can be exchanged for a dollar, and similar.

FIFO: First in, first out – accounting term, used to provide a convention for writing down a balance sheet value of the same type of assets.

GL: General Ledger

GNP: Gross National Product

GP: Gross Profit

IPO: Initial public offering – Technically, IPO is a private company’s first sale of stock to the general public.

LIFO: Last in, first out – Mainly used in inventory management, this term assumes that the most recent inventory pieces are being sold first.

LWOP: Leave without pay – This is a temporary nonpaid status granted at the worker’s request when he’s absent from duty

MMKT: Money market – MMKT is a trade-in short-term debt investments. This involves large-volume trades among traders and institutions.

NAV: Net assets value – A value of an entity’s liabilities subtracted from the value of its assets.

OC: Opportunity Cost

OE: Equity and Owner’s Equity

P&L: Profit and loss.

P/E: Price to earnings – P/E ratios are used by analysts and investors to determine the value of the company’s shares

P-card: Purchase card.

ROA: Return on assets.

ROE: Return on equity.

ROI: Return on investment.

SIV: Structured investment vehicle – Special purpose fund which borrows for the short-term by issuing commercial paper, to invest in long-term assets.

QTD: Quarter-to-Date


AIDA: Attention, interest, desire, action – In selling, your communication and advertising process should follow this sequence if you want to motivate customers and succeed.

BANT: Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline – The four criteria salesperson uses to qualify prospects. Also, a popular tool for sales leaders to help determine if their prospects have the budget, authority, need, and right timeline to buy whatever they sell.

B2B: Business to business – Widely used term in business and marketing, a trading model where one business supplies many others.

B2C: Business to consumer – Variation of the previous term, it is process for selling directly to consumers.

BR: Bounce rate- Term used in internet marketing. BR is the percentage of people who enter the website and then leave instead of continuing to view all other pages on the same site

CMS: Content management system – Software that allows you to create and publish content, WordPress for example.

CPC: Cost per click – Online advertising term.

CPL: Cost per lead – the cost of your marketing acquiring a lead.

CR: Conversion rate – CR is the percentage of website visitors who take an action (buying a product, for example).

CRM: Customer relationship management – This system allows companies to manage business relationships and storage customers’ data. CRM software lets them keep track of all the contact information for the existing and potential customers. Here you can read more about how does a CRM work.

CTA: Call to action – Words that make a commercial more effective by urging the reader to take immediate action, such as “call now” or “click here.

CTR: Click-through rate – CTR is the percentage of website visitors who click on a specific ad shown on that page.

CRO: Conversion rate optimization.

GA: Google Analytics.

KPI: Key performance indicator – A measure used to manage the performance and effectiveness of any process or organizational activity.

PPC: Pay per click – An advertising trick to get more visitors to open the ad. The advertiser pays a website owner or a search engine when the ad is clicked.

PV: Page view.

QR Barcode: Quick response Code – Scannable barcodes used to connect offline and online marketing. People can use their smartphones to scan the QR code with a QR barcode scanner application. The information encoded by QR barcodes can include text, a URL, and other data.

RFP: Request for proposal – RFP is a document which contains proposal, mostly made by companies interested in procurement of valuable asset or service, to potential suppliers (to submit business proposals). It’s used when the product being requested doesn’t exist yet or the request needs technical expertise. The proposal might require research to create what is being requested.

ROS: Run of site – A term mainly used by media agencies, which means that an online advertising campaign has all pages of a particular website as a target.

SaaS: Software as a service – SaaS represents a software distribution service in which a third-party provider presents applications and makes them accessible to customers od the internet

SEO: Search engine optimization.

SMB: Small to medium business.

SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

UV: Unique visitor.

UGC: User generated content.


ASAP: As soon as possible – the Common phrase used to assure someone that the task will be completed in short term, or to urge him/her to finish his/her task as soon as possible.

COB: Close of business – It indicates the end of a business day in New York and defines U.S working hours. In business communication, it’s used to set a deadline when a task has to be done by 5 PM EST.

DM: Direct message or direct mail.

ESP: Email service provider.

EOT: End of thread – Mostly used in email, blogs and online chats, EOT is also known as text message shorthand. It means “the end of discussion”.

EOM: End of message – Often used in e-mails, EOM signals that the whole message is in the subject line. It’s used to save the receiver’s time by signalizing that the message is very short and doesn’t have to be opened.

EOD: End of day – Similar to the COB, it indicates the end of a day and is used to set a deadline when a task has to be done by the end of the business day (5 PM). When the time zone isn’t provided, the sender’s time zone is taken for EOD.

EOW: End of the week – This one is used when you’re asking for something or sending something before the week ends.

FYI: For your information – Use this one to add a side note to your e-mail.

FWIW: For what it’s worth – FWIW can be seen in online conversations such as e-mails, instant messaging and similar when someone gives feedback on something but doesn’t want to sound rude.

IAM: In a meeting – The name says it all – it’s practical when you’re in a hurry and can’t reply with anything longer.

IMO: In my opinion – IMO is commonly seen when submitting feedback to make you sound less like “I already know everything”.

LET: Leaving early today – Usually found in group e-mails, LET informs other workers that someone is leaving earlier.

LMK: Let me know –

When you need people to get back to you with additional information about something, LMK is one of the phrases you can use to ask for it.” – explains Marko in his article.

Most often it’s heard in formal conversation.

NIM: No internal message – It is used in e-mails, on the end of a subject line and indicates that there is no internal message (nothing in the body).

NRN: No reply necessary – This one is used in e-mails and indicates that a reply isn’t necessary. This reduces pointless replies such as “Sure, sounds good

NSFW: Not safe for work – Another meaning is Not suitable for work. It can be used in corporate e-mails to explain that the message might contain explicit content. This helps the recipient avoid reading unpleasant messages.

NWR: Not work related – NWR has a usage in corporate e-mails to signal that the content isn’t related to business.

OT: Off-topic – OT is used in e-mail threads to signal that the reply is on another topic and different than the rest of the thread

PLMK: Please let me know – Made to save time while writing an e-mail and used to ask for the receiver’s opinion.

PRB: Please reply by – Asks the recipient to reply by a certain time. This avoids late responses.

Re: Referring to – Used in business letters, Re introduces the subject that letter is about. It’s a prefix used before the subject line, and can also indicate that the new message is a reply to a previous one.

TED: Tell me, explain to me, describe to me – Useful reminder for a salesperson to ask customers more open questions in order to gather information about their needs and requirements. These questions usually start with TED phrases or What, How, Which, When, Why, etc.

TLDR: Too long, didn’t read – A very common acronym, usually seen on the internet before or after long texts. It’s used to request a shortened version of these texts.

TLTR: Too long to read – Mostly used in e-mails, TLTR implies that you sent a too massive message which your sender can’t read at the moment. It also requires you to summarize the message and send a short explanation.

TYT: Take your time – Used while texting or sending e-mails, it gives a receiver time to think before sending a reply.

Y/N: Yes or no – Saves a recipient’s time by asking for a simple answer – only yes or no.


ADC: Analog to digital converter.

API: Application program interface – A set of tools and protocols for making application software.

ASCII: American standard code for information interchange – Commonly used format for representing characters in computer text files. In ASCII files, every numeric, alphabetic and special character is represented with an 8-bit binary number.

ATA: Analog telephony adapter – Device which connects one or more standard analog telephones with a HVoice.

CPU: Central processing unit.

CSS: Cascading style sheet – This is a computer language for structuring web pages.

FTP: File transport protocol.

HTML: Hypertext markup language – Language used for structuring content on the web.

HTTP: HyperText transfer protocol – World wide web protocol.

HTTPS: HyperText transfer protocol secure.

HUB – Device for connecting all Ethernet devices together.

ISP: Internet service provider.

IP: Internet protocol.

OS: Operating system.

UI: User interface.

URL: Universal resource locator.

UX: User experience.

VPN: Virtual private network.

RAM: Random-access memory – A type of computer data storage used to store machine code and working data.

ROM: Read only memory – A type of memory used in computers and other electronic devices, with data that cannot be modified.

ROR: Ruby on Rails – Open source Web application framework for developing database-backed applications, written in Ruby programming language.

RSS: Rich site summary or really simple syndication.

RPA: Robotic process automation

WLAN: Wireless local area network – WLAN links devices by wireless distribution method and provides a connection through the access point to wide internet.

WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get – Program which allows a developer to see the end result while the document is being created.


Last but not least, acronyms you often hear around the office, but don’t really know what they could mean. They are the basics so make sure you understand them before getting back to work.

BID: Break it down – When teaching someone a new skill, don’t show him all at once. Break the process into smaller parts which will be easier to learn.

CAPTCHA: Automated public tests mainly seen on webpages, used to find a difference between humans and computers. It is used as a protection.

CRAAP: Currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose

ETA: Estimated time of arrival – It’s the expected time of someone/something’s arrival. Commonly used when shipping packages.

“The associated term is “estimated time of accomplishment”, which may be a backronym.” – as stated on Wikipedia.

EAK: Eating at keyboard

ELI5: Explain like I’m a 5 year old

FTE: Full-time employee – FTE measures student’s or worker’s involvement in a particular project. It shows how many hours has an employee worked on a full-time basis.

KISS: Keep it simple stupid – Most people agree that this is one of the greatest acronyms of all time. It reminds us to keep things as less complicated as possible. KISS found its use in many different areas.

NOYB: None of your business.

MoM: Month over month – MoM represents growth rates stated concerning the previous months. It’s a rate of change from period to period.

MBO: Management by objectives

GTR: Getting ready

MTD: Month to date – This is a period that starts at the beginning of the current month and ends at the current date. MTD is mainly used for recording results for a particular period. Managers and investors use this to compare the current company’s performance with a performance from past periods.

IRL – In real life

PTO: Paid time off – In company policy manuals, PTO states how many hours an employee has for vacations, sick days and personal days.

DMC: Deep meaningful conversation

FTFY: Fixed that for you

OOO: Out of office – Standard acronym that is simply showing you’re not on your workplace.

PA: Performance appraisal – Performance appraisal is a method of evaluation worker’s performance, so this acronym finds its usage in documenting results and providing feedback to the employee.

PEST: Political, economic, social, technological – changes in the environment

OGSM: Objective goal, strategies and measures

VAK: Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic

LPO: Landing page optimization

OTP: On the phone – When a person says OTP, he is talking to someone else on the phone.  Generally, it has greater usage in spoken than written.

TOS: Terms of service – In business, TOS are rules which customers must accept in order to use a company’s service.

SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound – When you set a standard or agree on an objective with people, this standard or task should satisfy these criteria if you want it to be effective. This can apply to situations when we need some sort of action from the audience.

WIIFM: What’s in it for me – The point of the WIIFM concept is that if we don’t offer to our customers/audience something useful, they won’t really listen and commit to action. To truly understand their WIIFM issues, it is necessary to show empathy. We need to listen and meet their needs if we want to reach them

WOM: Word of mouth – Word of mouth marketing/advertising is these days both through face-to-face interaction and online. It means that the client’s interest in a company’s service or product is reflected in their daily dialogs. Actually, it’s free advertising triggered by the client’s experience.

WFH: Work from home – WFH is a concept of working outside the office, which allows employees to do their job in a more comfortable environment.

YTD: Year to date – A period that starts from the beginning of the current year and ends on the current date. YTD is used in many contexts, but mostly to record results of the activities that happened during that period.

DFTBA: Don’t forget to be awesome!


Since you’ve reached the bottom, it probably wasn’t as hard as you thought, was it?

After all, these phrases are essential for all areas of expertise and can be used when writing e-mails, talking to your colleagues, leaving notes and many more situations.

It’s important to master them as soon as possible to leave a good impression on everyone at your office, from co-workers to the highest executives.

Don’t be afraid to use them often; show respect to others whose time is very valuable, but also prove how much YOUR time is important for you and the company.

120+ Most Common Business Acronyms And Their Meaning Where Necessary

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