In today’s article I will present you some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms that you should know if you work or want to work in the business world. First of all, what is the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym? As you might already know, an abbreviation is a shortening of a word. On the other hand, acronyms are initials – the first letter of each word is always a capital letter. Let’s have a look at some of the most frequent shortenings of the business world:



  1. attn = attention
  2. re = regarding
  3. Asst. = assistant
  4. Dir. = Director
  5. Mgr. = Manager
  6. dept. = department
  7. dept. = building
  8. Ltd. = limited
  9. Inc. = Incorporated
  10. CEO = Chief Executive Officer.

*The CEO is the most senior executive in a corporation. They run the company and everbody answers to them. CO means Chief Officer, but you may have different departments or areas of the company such as:

  1. CFO = Chief Financial Officer
  2. COO = Chief Operating Officer
  3. CIO = Chief Information Officer


14. ETA = estimated time of arrival

*Used when you call a client and you want to inform them/to find out when the product will arrive.

  1. MSRP = manufacturer’s suggested retail price

*When you talk about big ticket items (such as cars, computers, appliances) and you want to know how much it costs. The company that made the products tells the stores/distributors a price, but then stores may go under the manufacturer’s price if they want to be competitive.

  1. POS = point of sale

*The cash register where you actually pay or put your card.

  1. CPA = chartered public accountant

*An accountant who is recognized by the government. They have a licence and they can sign off and do personal or corporate taxes.

  1. PR = Public Relations

*The term defines the field or the department that spreads information to the public about the organization in the form of press releases or new developments.

  1. ISO = International Organization for Stardardization

*A group that confirms or gives quality certification to different companies by setting quality standards.

  1. ROI = return on investment

*The profitability ratio that helps finance people to determine if a particular investment is going to give them profit or savings.

  1. VAT = value-added tax
  2. MBA = Master of Business Administration
  3. HR = Human Resources
  4. HQ = Headquarters
  5. SOP = standard operating procedure

A lot of these words are not only used in business. You can always ask your friends „What’s your ETA?” when they don’t show up to your party. :)

Autor: Diana Dobrescu

Diana Dobrescu este absolventă a Facultăţii de Litere, departamentul de Limbi şi literaturi moderne şi ştiinţele comunicării – studii culturale, în cadrul Universităţii „Ovidius” din Constanţa. În prezent, Diana Dobrescu urmează cursurile masteratului de „Studii Americane” organizat de Facultatea de Limbi şi Literaturi Străine din cadrul Universităţii Bucureşti.

Diana are experiență în predarea limbii engleze și a limbii române pentru străini. La cursuri, Diana are o abordare modernă și interactivă, prin care reusește să mențină interesul cursanților pe întregul parcurs al lecțiilor.