Everyone tells you that when you make the leap from being a student to working full-time (or starting a work placement or graduate scheme) that it’s a ‘whole new world’ – and they’re not kidding. One of the aspects you’ll certainly have to get to grips with is the specialised language used by many businesses, especially the acronyms. So let’s take a whistle stop tour of what you can expect and what some of the key terms actually mean, starting at the very beginning.
What’s an acronym?
It’s an abbreviation – shorthand – for a series of words that uses the first letter of each to make a new, shorter word. NATO or North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a good example. Some acronyms are used so commonly that they’ve ‘become’ words – like Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or laser. Some acronyms can’t be said as actual words – like BBC or British Broadcasting Corporation – and should rightly be called initialisms, but lots of people call them acronyms as well.
Why use acronyms?
Sometimes to save time. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a bit of a mouthful and much easier to refer to by its acronym, TTIP. Sometimes it’s to save space on packaging or it could be used to make a technical term more palatable to use in everyday life.
When should I use them?
Best to take your lead from those around you. Sentences with too many acronyms become unintelligible, so steer clear of over-use; at the same time, many businesses have evolved a specialised vocabulary that helps to speed up communication, so you’ll need to know some of the basics.
What are some good examples?
B2B – Business to Business
B2C – Business to Consumer
BD – Business Development
CEO – Chief Executive Officer
CFO – Chief Financial Officer
COB – Close Of Business
COO – Chief Operating Officer
CRM – Customer Relationship Management
CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility
DM – Direct Mail (can also mean Direct Message)
EOD – End Of Day (EO plus another letter is commonly used for End Of Week, End Of Play or End Of Thread for example)
HR – Human Resources
IAM – In A Meeting
FYI – For Your Information
KPI – Key Performance Indicator – a way of measuring something that is crucial to the success of the business
MOM – Month Over Month refers to that month’s figures compared with the previous month’s (also QOQ or Quarter Over Quarter and YOY or Year Over Year)
PA – Performance Appraisal, or it can also stand for Personal Assistant
PDP – Personal Development Programme
P/E – Price to Earnings (refers to the market price per share divided by the actual earnings per share)
P&L – Profit and Loss (summarises the revenue, costs and expenses earned and incurred by a business)
ROI – Return On Investment (also used for ROA or Return On Assets and ROE or Return On Equity)
SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound is a guide used for setting an objective that can be measured
SMB – Small to Medium Business (also sometimes called SME or Small to Medium Enterprises)
SKU – Stock Keeping Unit
TOS – Terms Of Service
YTD – Year To Date
If you want to apply for a PP or find out more about a potential career with ERAC, take a look at our career website.
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