August 28, 2016

“What Did They Just Say?” 75 Business Jargon Acronyms Explained


alphabet soup

Business communication is plagued with jargon only those in the know understand. Sometimes it feels like there is another language being spoken when acronyms are being used throughout a conversation, making it that much more difficult to keep up with what is being said.

With so many business jargon acronyms, listing all of them would require a dictionary. But the following 75 acronyms are the most common terms used by businesses, so the next time you hear or see them, you will know exactly what they mean.

75 Business Jargon Acronyms

  1. AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
  2. AOV: Average Order Value
  3. AP: Accounts Payable
  4. API: Application Program Interface
  5. AR: Accounts Receivable
  6. B2B: Business to Business
  7. B2C: Business to Consumer
  8. BR: Bounce Rate
  9. BS: Balance Sheet
  10. CFP: Certified Financial Planner
  11. CLV: Customer Lifetime Value
  12. CMS: Content Management System
  13. CPA: Cost Per Acquisition / Action
  14. CPC: Cost Per Click
  15. CPU: Cost Per Unit
  16. CPU: Central Processing Unit
  17. CR: Conversion Rate
  18. CRM: Customer Relationship Management
  19. CSO: Chief Security Officer
  20. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets
  21. CTA: Call to Action
  22. CTO: Chief Technology Officer
  23. CTR: Click Through Rate
  24. CX – Customer Experience
  25. DNS: Domain Name System
  26. EOD: End of Day
  27. EPC: Earnings Per Click
  28. EPS: Earnings Per Share
  29. FIFO: First in, First Out
  30. FTP: File Transport Protocol
  31. GMS: Gross Margin Sales
  32. HTML: HyperText Markup Language
  33. HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol
  34. HTTPS: HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure
  35. IM: Instant Messaging
  36. IP: Internet Protocol
  37. IPO: Initial Public Offering
  38. IPTV: Internet Protocol Television
  39. ISP: Internet Service Provider
  40. KPI: Key Performance Indicator
  41. LIFO: Last in, First Out
  42. LWOP: Leave Without Pay
  43. MLM: Multi-Level Marketing
  44. MoM: Month on Month
  45. NAV: Net Assets Value
  46. NSFW: Not Safe for Work
  47. P&L: Profit and Loss
  48. P/E: Price to Earnings
  49. PPC: Pay Per Click
  50. PTO: Paid Time Off
  51. QA: Quality Assurance
  52. QR Code: Quick Response Code
  53. RFD: Radio Frequency Identification
  54. ROA: Return on Assets
  55. ROE: Return on Equity
  56. ROI: Return on Investment
  57. RSS: Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication
  58. SaaS: Software as a Service
  59. SEM: Search Engine Marketing
  60. SEO: Search Engine Optimization
  61. SERP: Search Engine Results Page
  62. SLA: Service Level Agreement
  63. SMB: Small to Medium Business
  64. SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
  65. TOS: Terms of Service
  66. TLTR: Too Long to Read
  67. UI: User Interface
  68. URL: Uniform Resource Locator
  69. UX: User Experience
  70. VOD: Video on Demand
  71. VPN: Virtual Private Network
  72. WAHM: Work at Home Mom
  73. XML: Extensible Markup Language
  74. YOY: Year on Year
  75. YTD: Year to Date

This is a small list of the many business jargon acronyms being used, but when you add industry-specific terms and social media, it can quickly get overwhelming. It’s enough to make me SMH (Shake My Head).  But at least this handy reference will give you a place to look up some of those confusing acronyms when they appear.

Until then, TTYL (Talk to You Later.)

Alphabet Soup Photo via Shutterstock

4 Comments ▼
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Michael Guta


Michael Guta Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination.

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4 Reactions

  1. That’s a very thorough list. The only acronym I use that you didn’t cover was ROAS – Return On Ad Spend (and in the PPC industry we have a lot).

  2. Michael Guta

    Hi Robert,
    Thank you. With each industry having its own set of acronyms, you can see how it can quickly cover many pages. Perhaps next time we will make a list that is industry specific.

  3. Aira Bongco

    It is nice that you have these all laid out. Sometimes, there are words that are just so hard to understand and they just assume that you should just know it. It is nice to know all the acronyms in one post.

  4. Great list, Michael.
    I actually learned the meaning of a few acronyms I’m using quite often – LOL.
    I mean… who knows what actually stands behind XML?

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