What does it mean? Business terms and acronyms defined and explained

The skilled world is stuffed with jargon. That’s all the time been the case — from historical Roman restaurateurs with their vomitoria to sailors throwing round phrases like “fo’c’s’le” (i.e., the forecastle, or ahead deck of a ship). Equally baffling are acronyms — like “SWOT,” “ROS,” and “WYSIWYG” — which could be extra annoying than useful IMHO.

While you possibly can’t anticipate to know each little bit of lingo on the market, in case you’re trying to get forward in your profession, you’ll must develop a working information of the extra widespread key phrases and acronyms listed on this information. That’s very true in case you’re out there for a brand new place: Most HR departments’ ATSs (utility monitoring methods) are programmed to search for keyword-rich resumes. 

With that in thoughts, we’ve put collectively this glossary of enterprise phrases — together with employment-related key phrases, monetary and technical terms, and textual content and electronic mail shorthand — that will help you land that dream job. And for these of you who suppose you understand it all, we invite you to learn by means of our listing and ship us options for different terms we are able to clarify. Consider this an endlessly updatable glossary.


ACCT: account

A paying buyer or consumer. Can be a person, a model, an organization, or an establishment. 

AIDA: consideration, curiosity, need, motion

An promoting time period describing the steps a possible buyer goes by means of earlier than shopping for a services or products. Mentioned by Alec Baldwin in his classic “Glengarry Glen Ross” speech.

AR: accounts receivable

The cash coming in. Whatever funds a buyer or consumer owes an organization however has not but paid.

AP: accounts payable

The cash going out. Whatever an organization owes to distributors or contractors however has not but paid.

API: utility programming interface

Software that permits two completely different packages or platforms to speak to one another. Used by corporations after they wish to let enterprise companions or third-party builders entry firm information, or after they wish to facilitate info alternate between inside departments.

ERP: enterprise useful resource planning

Management software program that helps corporations with day-to-day operations. ERP software program can embody the whole lot together with challenge administration, danger evaluation, compliance, accounting, and supply-chain logistics.

At-will employment

A job wherein your employer can let you go at any time, with out discover, trigger, or rationalization, so long as it does not violate state or federal legal guidelines. (On the plus facet, you too can give up everytime you like, and don’t have to provide discover or purpose.) 

ATS: applicant monitoring system

Software that corporations use to just accept and monitor job functions — usually derided for being needlessly time-consuming, complicated, proprietary, and unable to seize job seekers’ personalities. For extra, see our ATS protection.


B2B: business-to-business

Indicates that an organization offers items and/or providers to different corporations to assist them meet their enterprise targets. 

B2C: business-to-consumer

Indicates that an organization offers items and/or providers on to shoppers. 

BD: enterprise improvement

The science (some would say artwork) of rising the enterprise and creating worth for an organization from markets, clients, and relationships.

BID: break it down

The methodology of coaching a brand new worker by breaking down duties into smaller, simply digestible duties. This offers observe and builds the worker’s confidence. 

BR: bounce fee 

BR is a measure of how many individuals land in your web site then go away with out clicking on some other of your pages. It’s the equal of a buyer sticking his head within the door of your store, wanting round, then deciding to proceed down the road.

BS: steadiness sheet

Essentially, the listing of the cash going out in comparison with the cash coming in. Can be a fantastically sophisticated doc, relying on the dimensions of the corporate and the quantity of enterprise it does. (See additionally NAV, EDIDTA, P&L for examples) 


CAO: chief analytics officer

Head of an organization’s information evaluation efforts. The CAO leads the staff that collects and interprets information concerning the firm, clients, and efficiency, utilizing the data to assist the corporate enhance effectivity and develop. 

CDO: chief information officer

Sometimes overlapping with the CAO, the chief information officer of an organization is in command of all data-collecting methods, guaranteeing information high quality, and managing what information is collected within the first place. Not to be confused with chief digital officer (additionally CDO), who’s normally in command of an organization’s swap from an analog to a digital atmosphere.  

CEO: chief government officer

Basically the captain of the ship, the CEO comes up with the technique for continued progress and evolution of the corporate, oversees and evaluates the manager management, stories again to the board of administrators, and serves as the public face of the company.

CFO: chief monetary officer

The head bean-counter, the CFO is in command of an organization’s funds, retaining monitor of money circulation, planning the corporate’s monetary future, and overseeing all monetary and tax  stories required by legislation. 

CFP: licensed monetary planner

Any monetary advisor who passes the rigorous CFP certification check, a CFP is just like a CPA, however focuses on advising particular person shoppers about funding and retirement planning. 

CIO: chief info officer

Sometimes the CIO position overlaps with the CTO position, however the normal tasks of the CIO are extra strategic, guaranteeing that an organization’s technical sources are  optimized to attain its total enterprise targets. CIOs handle IT and improvement departments.

CMO: chief advertising and marketing officer

The government in the end accountable for an organization’s gross sales and promoting methods and progress. 

CMS: content material administration system

The utility or functions {that a} web site staff makes use of to arrange and retailer its web site content material, add new content material, and archive info reminiscent of advertising and marketing identifiers; writing and photograph credit, customers feedback, and so forth.

COB: shut of enterprise

Similar to EOD, although it has a a lot clearer deadline in companies with retail hours than in places of work the place work hours can bleed into the night. 


The duty of an organization to conduct itself in accordance with all legal guidelines, laws, and contractual obligations. Including something from working situations and environmental affect to equal-opportunity hiring and defending client information. 

COO: chief working officer

Sometimes known as VP of operations, a COO is often the CEO’s proper hand, and is in command of the day-to-day working of the corporate. 

CPA: licensed public accountant

Any monetary adviser who has handed the CPA check and fulfilled some other authorized necessities. CPAs usually take care of questions of accounting, auditing, and taxes, and generally work for companies and institutional shoppers. A CPA certification provides job seekers much more alternatives, and many companies won’t rent an accountant with out one. 

CPC: value per click on

See additionally PPC (value per click on). The agreed-upon fee at which an internet advertiser pays an internet site each time somebody clicks on one among its adverts on that web site. 

CR: conversion fee

An on-line metric that measures what number of web site guests click on on a hyperlink and full a specified process related to that hyperlink, as in comparison with the entire variety of guests to the location. For instance, when somebody clicks on an advert for an internet retailer, then completes a purchase order at that retailer, that counts as a profitable conversion.

CR: credit score

Under the double-entry accounting methodology, a credit score is entered on a steadiness sheet each time there’s a legal responsibility improve or an property lower. In order for the books to be balanced, each CR must have a corresponding debit (DR.)

CRM: buyer relationship administration

The methods, applied sciences, and coaching that an organization makes use of to keep up and enhance its relationship with its clients.

CSO: chief safety officer

Also typically generally known as chief Information safety officer (CISO). The senior most safety government within the firm, accountable for implementing and sustaining methods to guard the digital and bodily property of the corporate, together with proprietary info and the security of the workers themselves. 

CSR: company social duty

The practices by which an organization manages its impact on society exterior of purely enterprise considerations, together with areas reminiscent of environmental affect, racial and sexual range, and company charity.

CSS: cascading model sheet

A means of formatting the commonest design and structure parts of an internet site. A CSS defines issues like textual content sizes and desk configurations multi function place so HTML coders don’t need to recreate them each time they happen. 

C-suite or C-level

Referring to anybody within the management team with a “chief” title, reminiscent of CEO, CMO, and CFO. A C-suite government is somebody in prime administration.

CTA: name to motion

Direct language prompting the person or buyer to take motion, usually offered in internet design as a button or banner. Simple examples embody “Click right here!” “Buy now!” and “Subscribe”

CTO: chief know-how officer

The C-suite government in an organization accountable for technical methods and R&D efforts. Generally, the CTO concentrates on technical initiatives that may assist develop the corporate’s enterprise, versus  day-to-day inside tech points. 

CTR: click-through fee

The variety of customers who click on on an internet site hyperlink, divided by the entire variety of customers uncovered to that hyperlink. The ensuing proportion exhibits simply how nicely a specific advert or hyperlink has carried out over a particular time interval.   


DM: direct message or unsolicited mail

One-on-one exchanges on Twitter, which solely the sender and recipient can see. Source of the phrase “slipping into my DMs.” Can additionally confer with direct advertising and marketing: the distribution of ads and provides by means of the normal, bodily mail system. 

DOE: relying on expertise

An acronym that HR departments and recruiters use to keep away from setting a particular base wage for an open place. As imprecise as the same “market fee,” it permits them room to maneuver throughout wage negotiations. 

DR: debit

In double-entry-accounting steadiness sheets, a debit is entered to point an property improve or a legal responsibility lower. Every debit entered should have an identical credit score (CR) for the books to be balanced.


EBITDA (earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)

Though it seems like one thing a child may say, EBITDA is definitely a exact measure of an organization’s monetary efficiency, bearing in mind the cash it has earned earlier than many long-term capital prices are factored in. EBITDA is used to set future efficiency targets, examine two or extra corporations’ fiscal well being, and to quantify profitability.

EQ: emotional intelligence

The means to learn different folks’s feelings and react accordingly. In enterprise terms, EQ can confer with the diploma an organization’s tradition offers a secure, open atmosphere for workers. 

EOD: finish of day

Text/electronic mail shorthand usually used to a) inform an worker you oversee that you simply anticipate them to complete a process earlier than they go away the workplace for the day or b) promise to get again to an worker you oversee earlier than you allow the workplace for the day. Option A is usually fudged; possibility B is usually forgotten. 

EOM: finish of message

A fast technique to inform the recipient of a communication that there isn’t any extra to learn. Often utilized in emails on the finish of a topic line to point that there isn’t any want to truly open the physique textual content: Everything it’s essential to know is within the topic line. 

EOT: finish of thread

Used on social media to point that  explicit dialogue has ended at that time, and whoever is studying can cease scrolling down for extra. 

EOW: finish of week

Used to set a deadline or promise a deliverable by EOD Friday (historically the least productive few hours of the usual work week.)

EPS: earnings per share

The amount of cash an organization makes for every share of its inventory, calculated by dividing a corporation’s web revenue by its variety of widespread shares. Used by buyers as a measure of an organization’s profitability. 

ESP: electronic mail service supplier

An organization that gives electronic mail internet hosting providers for different organizations and people. Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail are traditional examples.


FIFO: first in, first out

The methodology of processing gadgets in a queue from oldest to latest. Can be utilized to the whole lot from funding methods to stock accounting to laptop information processing. See additionally LIFO.

fixed-term employment

A contract of employment for a specified time period with a set fee of pay. Fixed-term contracts are normally for one 12 months, with an choice to renew afterward, and are typically utilized by an organization to check out an worker earlier than hiring them on a everlasting foundation.

FTE: full-time worker

Any worker who works a full work week (historically 40 hours or extra). Full-time workers are normally (however not all the time) eligible for full firm advantages, together with medical insurance, sick days, and trip time.

FTP: file transport protocol

A way for transferring recordsdata between computer systems by establishing a separate devoted server for that goal. Used particularly by internet designers to implement modifications to a web site.  

FWIW: (for what it’s price) 

Shorthand for: “What I’m about to say may very nicely be ineffective to everybody concerned. Or it might be extremely vital. I’m leaving that solely as much as you.”


GA: Google Analytics

The dominant web-analytics service on the web, GA permits web sites to trace their site visitors and analyze what customers are doing on their web site. Currently, the important thing device guiding how corporations design and improve their web sites to optimize efficiency and attain.

GC: normal counsel

The head lawyer for an organization or authorities division, in command of all authorized issues, together with contracts with different corporations, danger evaluation, compliance, and disaster administration. Also typically generally known as a chief authorized officer (CLO).


HTTP: Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The client-server protocols by means of which just about all Internet site visitors is performed. HTTP permits “shoppers” (normally browsers like Firefox or Chrome) to speak with “servers,” the computer systems that host web sites.

HTTPS: Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

An extension of HTTP that encrypts communication between consumer and server, creating one other degree of safety in web transactions.

hybrid resume

A resume that places the skills-and-accomplishments part first, earlier than the work-experience part. Useful for job seekers with no work historical past, with a number of employment gaps, or who’re getting into a brand new area. 



A kind from the Department of Homeland Security that verifies an worker’s id and confirms that they will legally work within the United States.

IAM: in a gathering 

Shorthand for: “I’m unavailable now;” “I can’t decide up the cellphone proper now;” “I’ll name or textual content you later;” or “I’ll by no means get again to you so long as I stay.”  

IM: immediate messaging

Written communication happening over the web in actual time, whether or not for private or enterprise causes. Examples of IM platforms embody Slack, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Discord, and any customer-service chat perform on a consumer-facing enterprise web site. 

IMO (for my part): Great for whenever you’re introducing an concept that you really want credit score for (if it works) or that you really want to have the ability to dismiss simply (if it doesn’t). IMHO ups the ante by making it your “humble opinion.”

IP: web protocol

The guidelines governing how packets of data are despatched between computer systems on the web. The primary basis of all on-line communication.


KISS: (preserve it easy, silly)

An acronym to remind folks to not overcomplicate their concepts, options, designs, and arguments. Originated within the U.S. Navy to confer with airplane design, which works higher when stored easy. 

KPI: key efficiency indicator

A KPI is a technique to gauge the success of an worker, a staff, or an organization at reaching predefined enterprise targets throughout a specified time period. KPIs could be something from web earnings to buyer interactions to variety of articles posted on-line.  


LET: leaving early at present

Probably not smart to make use of this acronym when writing to your supervisor, however turns out to be useful when addressing somebody equal or decrease to you on the totem pole. 

LIFO: final in, first out

The methodology of processing gadgets in a queue from latest to oldest. Like its reverse, FIFO, LIFO could be utilized to the whole lot from promoting shares to stock administration to laptop information dealing with. 

LMK: let me know

A fast means of claiming, “Get again to me someday sooner or later.” Used by somebody who doesn’t want to listen to again by any particular time.

LWOP: go away with out pay

When an worker takes day without work from a job however isn’t paid for that point. Usually initiated on the worker’s request, LWOP permits a employee to place their employment on maintain with out utterly shedding their job, whereas permitting the corporate to economize on their wage. 


MoM: month over month

The change in enterprise progress from one month to the following, normally expressed as a proportion.

MTD: month to this point

The interval from the start of the calendar month to the present date. Can be utilized in measuring short-term progress, efficiency, or information assortment.


NAV: web property worth

The distinction between the worth of an organization’s property and the price of its liabilities. Used by buyers to assist confirm an organization’s widespread inventory worth, it can be utilized to mutual funds and different monetary securities.

NIM: no inside message

Similar to EOM, NIM in a topic line tells the recipient they don’t need to open the physique of the e-mail, as the complete message is contained within the topic line.

NRN: no reply essential

In different phrases, “Please don’t write again.” Great for avoiding these lengthy tail ends of electronic mail conversations when everybody thanks one another.

NSFW: not secure for work

The workplace equal of a triple-X score. Doesn’t essentially need to contain pornography. Usually does.

NWR: not work-related

An acronym that tells the recipient that no matter follows will both be a welcome distraction from a boring process or an unwelcome interruption when they’re really being productive. 


OKR (goal and key outcomes)

An announcement of particular, measurable targets for a complete staff or firm to achieve for. Used to focus particular person effort and present motivation. OKRs are normally set increased than can realistically be achieved. Reaching solely 70% to 75% of your OKR is taken into account a hit, whereas reaching 100% of your OKR means you set your objective too low.

OOO: out of workplace

Text shorthand to point somebody isn’t at present within the office. Never observe this with a proof level, or folks will suppose you’re watching fireworks. 

OS: working system

The programming platform on which a specific laptop or cell gadget runs functions. The most typical desktop methods embody Windows, macOS, and Linux.  Android and iOS are the 2 dominant cell working methods. 

OT: off-topic

Used to acknowledge you that you’re about to introduce an abrupt change of topic and don’t wish to give the recipient cognitive whiplash.

OTP: on the cellphone

Used when you possibly can’t IM — see IM (immediate message) — with somebody, both as a result of a) you’re really on the cellphone, b) you’re texting with another person, or c) you’re seven movies deep right into a YouTube gap of outdated “Parks and Rec” bloopers.


P-card: buy card

A cost card given to an worker for use particularly for enterprise purchases and interactions. Used by corporations to each get monetary savings and stop fraud.  

P/E: value to earnings

An organization’s inventory value divided by its earnings per share. Tells buyers what the market is prepared to pay for a inventory based mostly on previous earnings, and helps decide whether or not a inventory is over-or under-valued.

P&L: revenue and loss

An everyday monetary assertion displaying an organization’s income minus varied overhead prices reminiscent of lease, payroll, value of products, and so forth. Investors analyze P&Ls to get a way of the corporate’s money circulation.

PA: efficiency appraisal

Traditionally given yearly or semiannually, a efficiency assessment permits an employer to evaluate an worker’s contribution to the corporate’s efforts, get suggestions from workers on the work tradition, and give raises or bonuses.  

pink collar

A play on “blue-collar,” pink-collar jobs are comparatively low-paying positions which might be traditionally related to girls, reminiscent of secretaries, nurses, receptionists, lecturers, and dental hygienists.  

PIP: efficiency enchancment plan

A framework for correcting issues with an worker’s efficiency, normally written up as an official memo, with actionable steps and expectations.  

POC: level of contact

The particular person you go to with questions, considerations, concepts, or complaints a few designated challenge or enterprise. POCs could be between departments (“Jenny is the POC on the sales-force restructuring”), corporations (“Jenny is our POC over at Apple”), or manufacturers and their clients (“Jenny is the POC in customer support.”) 

PPC: ppc

See CPC. The price an internet advertiser pays to an internet site every time somebody clicks on one among its adverts. 

PTE: part-time worker

An worker who works fewer hours than the complete work week. May not be eligible for sure advantages and could also be thought-about an unbiased contractor, relying on the corporate.

PTO: paid day without work

Time away from work for which an worker is paid. PTO advantages embody trip days, sick days, private days, maternity and paternity go away, and so forth.

PV: web page view

The variety of occasions a web page is loaded or reloaded in a browser throughout a specified time period. Regularly used as a measure of the recognition of an internet site or particular content material. 


QA: high quality assurance

The monitoring of a enterprise course of to verify that high quality requirements are being met. Usually the duty of a particular division inside an organization. 


Re: referring to

A helpful holdover from the times when memos have been despatched on paper, “Re:” (normally utilizing a colon) lets the particular person you’re writing to shortly find the topic you wish to talk about of their extremely compartmentalized work-hours mind.

RFD: request for dialogue

The enterprise equal of elevating your hand in school, an RFD could be something from an electronic mail asking for a gathering to a posting on a project-specific message board. It’s citing a brand new topic or remark and asking for it to be addressed.

RFP: request for proposal

A doc an organization sends out to potential contractors that publicly pronounces what the corporate is on the lookout for, outlining the challenge’s specs, and giving a deadline for submission of a proposal. 

ROA: return on property

A measure of an organization’s price in comparison with its complete property, calculated as a proportion. This quantity takes into consideration a corporation’s money owed and is utilized by buyers to gauge profitability. 

ROE: return on fairness

A measure of an organization’s price in comparison with its shareholders’ complete fairness, calculated as a proportion. This quantity does not take note of a corporation’s money owed. It’s utilized by buyers to match efficiency to different corporations in the identical trade.

ROR: Ruby on Rails

A framework of prewritten code that streamlines and standardizes server-side internet apps. Used by websites like Airbnb, Twitch, Github, and Hulu. The cool youngsters simply name it “Rails.”

ROS: run of web site

An possibility for web site advert placement wherein an advert can seem anyplace on the location, whatever the site visitors that location receives. Usually a less expensive possibility for the advertiser. 

RSS: wealthy web site abstract or actually easy syndication

An online feed that permits customers to simply and mechanically entry updates to web sites. Often used for distributing new content material reminiscent of articles, blogs, and podcasts to your organization’s buyer neighborhood. 

RT: retweet

Reposting another person’s tweet in your Twitter stream. Universally understood as a public settlement with and vote of confidence within the unique tweet. The social media equal of yelling, “Hey, hearken to what this particular person has to say!” Brands use RTs to assist form their public picture (and typically injury it).


SaaS: software program as a service

When a program is offered utilizing the subscription mannequin, versus a one-time-payment, and the majority of the software program is saved on-line. Zoom, Dropbox, Slack and just about any cloud-based service is an instance of the SaaS mannequin.

website positioning: SEO

The artwork (or science) of constructing positive your content material seems on the primary web page of outcomes on Google (or some other search web site. But primarily Google.) By researching and analyzing key phrases and search information, web sites tailor their content material to attain increased rankings in search algorithms.

SM: social media

Web platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok, wherein folks put up content material, talk, and react. Brands use social media to promote, promote, construct communities, and usually work together with present and potential clients. Occasionally, a model will use social media to utterly destroy itself. 

SMART: particular, measurable, attainable, sensible, time-bound

A goal-setting methodology that breaks down the 5 parts it is best to incorporate into every objective you set for your self, whether or not you’re a skilled looking for a brand new place or a CEO creating an organization technique.

SMB: small-to-medium enterprise

An organization whose dimension falls beneath a sure threshold, in terms of variety of employees, income, or property. Just what that threshold is is dependent upon the nation and the trade. SMBs are thought-about an vital indicator of an financial system’s well being and are large contributors to new job creation. 

SME: material knowledgeable

A acknowledged grasp of a specific ability set or space of information, employed solely for that experience. The go-to authority on a specific area of interest space inside an organization or trade. 

SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, threats

A typical framework for analyzing an organization’s aggressive well being, bearing in mind each inside and exterior situations and assessing progress potential. 


TED: inform me, clarify to me, describe to me

A reminder to salespeople to ask open-ended questions, which elicit extra details about a buyer’s wants than extra particular questions do.

TL;DR: too lengthy, didn’t learn

A one-line abstract of the extra detailed info that follows. The fundamental level you wish to get throughout to whoever doesn’t have the time to learn the complete memo or proposal.

TLTR: too lengthy to learn

An appropriately succinct technique to inform somebody that the e-mail, report, or proposal in query must be significantly edited. Works equally nicely as constructive criticism or a stone-cold rejection. 

TOS: terms of service

The authorized language that defines your organization’s relationship to its clients. Vitally vital that the authorized division goes over it with a fine-tooth comb, despite the fact that most individuals won’t ever learn it.

TYT: take your time

In different phrases: “Don’t rush to get this again to me, as I most likely gained’t take a look at it for a minimum of a month.” 


UI: person interface

The internet pages and packages that permit customers to work together with an internet site, whether or not to purchase a product, join a service, search out customer support, or anything. Refers to each the bodily design and performance. (See additionally UX)

UV: distinctive customer

Any one who visits a web site throughout a specified time period, as decided by their distinctive IP tackle. Unique customers are solely counted as soon as, so whether or not somebody lands on a web site then instantly leaves (see bounce fee) or stays for an hour and clicks on 20 completely different pages, they’re counted as one UV. 

UX: person expertise

The precise expertise that the UI produces for the person. Companies will design and replace their person interfaces in an effort to create the optimum UX for his or her clients.  


VPN: digital non-public community

A program that routes web site visitors by means of nameless, encrypted servers. This theoretically ensures nobody can monitor or entry your organization’s info or communications except they’ve entry to the VPN.



Federal tax-withholding kind that workers and unbiased contractors fill out initially of employment. Provides your employer with  info to pay you on the books and withhold the correct quantity of taxes, if relevant.

WFH: make money working from home

Self-explanatory, particularly throughout a pandemic. Sometimes used for “works for me,” which appears acceptable given how most individuals really feel about working from home.

WIIFM: what’s in it for me

The response you might need when somebody suggests a brand new workflow or platform however the profit to you is unclear. In gross sales, it is also used to border the method to a potential buyer, who will most likely ask themselves the identical query. If a salesman can present a solution, they’re nicely on the best way to closing the deal.

WOM: phrase of mouth

Organic publicity that outcomes solely from interactions between customers of your organization’s product. Publicity you don’t need to pay for.

WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get

Coined to point a graphic design program that would precisely duplicate on display the completed printed product. These days, nevertheless, just about all such packages are WYSIWYG, so the acronym may also confer with packages that assist you to design webpages with none information of HTML. 


YTD: 12 months to this point

Any time period beginning initially of the calendar 12 months (Jan. 1) and ending on the day you utilize the time period. Often used when reporting earnings, expenditures, or some other quantifiable enterprise information.

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