12 Business Abbreviations and What They Mean

In business, it is good practice to be clear in everything that you do. Leaving little to no opportunity for misunderstandings can help your business move efficiently. To make sure that everybody is on the same page, it is important to know different business concepts—and that includes even things as simple as abbreviations.

There are countless abbreviations used in business English. But here are twelve abbreviations that are commonly used and that you are likely to encounter.


Businesses can often be categorized into two types: B2B or B2C. B2B or business-to-business companies are those that offer their products to other businesses. Examples of these are advertising agencies, project management tools (such as Slack or Basecamp), and even office supplies suppliers. B2B relationships are often more long-term, and they take longer to close because they have to go through several layers of approval between both businesses.

On the other hand, B2C or business-to-consumer enterprises sell or offer their services directly to customers, such as retail stores and restaurants. The sales cycles of B2C businesses are much shorter, ending as soon as exchanging goods and payment is finished.


CEO stands for Chief Executive Officer. The CEO is the highest-ranking individual in the company (usually large corporations), and he or she oversees the operations, marketing, and finances of the business. 

Companies usually have several chief officers, such as CTO (chief technical officer), COO (chief operations officer), or CIO (chief information officer). As you can see, the middle letter is the only one that changes here, and it changes based on the assigned work of the position.


In business, CPU means cost-per-unit (not to be confused with the CPU or central processing unit in computer language). It is the total amount a business spends to produce, store, and sell a product. This is an important concept that company owners—especially new ones—must understand before moving forward with their business.


EOD is short for the end of the day (or end-of-day). The term is often used when talking about deadlines. For example, if you need someone to send you a report by the end of the day, you can say, “Hello, please send me the report by EOD. Thank you!”


N/A is an abbreviation for not applicable. It suggests that something is not available or a certain condition, product, or person does not apply in the given situation. For example, if you are finishing a form that asks for information that you are unable to give, you may put N/A.


OOO means out-of-office. It is an abbreviation that you may commonly see in e-mails when messaging someone who is on leave, on vacation, or out of the country. When someone is OOO, that means that you might not be able to reach them or that it may take some time for them to get back to you. When writing your own OOO e-mails—which is good practice; you can set these to automatically send to anybody who messages you—it is important to include the date when you will be back to work.


QC or quality control is an essential part of any business. It is a process that makes sure that every step of the production of a product is reviewed for passing the client or customer’s requirements. Quality control is expected from everybody in the company to ensure that every product is good.


R&D is short for research and development, which can refer to either or both a process or a company department. As a process, research and development are steps taken before starting the production of a product. Here, concepts of the product are introduced, and samples (or prototypes) are studied and tested. Once everything passes the standards of the company, mass production can begin.

The R&D department of a business is in charge of gathering information to improve the product.


ROI or return-of-investment is a way to measure the probability of a gain or loss of an investment in relation to its cost. It is a way to see if an investment will later earn the investor money. An example of when you can compute for ROI is when you are investing in stocks. If you buy a stock today for $100, then sell it a year later when the value increases to $200, then you will have had a large ROI.


SMB’s or SME’s are small-to-medium (or small to mid-sized) businesses or enterprises. These businesses fall below a certain mark in the number of employees they have, revenues they earn, or assets they own. There are no set rules for what an SMB or SME can be defined as because it varies per country. However, SMB’s or SME’s do make up a large part of any country’s economy.


UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are important concepts that business owners need to know, especially if their product or service is digital. Most of the time, both concepts work hand-in-hand. So it is helpful to learn them both.

UI or user interface is a design process that is considered to ensure that whatever digital medium a customer is using—the application, website, or whatever landing page—is beautiful and intuitive (it feels natural to the person using it). UI often deals with fonts, icons, images, and interactive designs.

UX or user experience, on the other hand, refers to how a user or customer feels as he or she interacts with a product. UX design considers all the elements that can affect someone’s experience with using a product. Unlike UI, UX can go beyond digital. UX can be applied to physical products, too. For example, if considering the UX of a hammer, one might consider the feel of the handle or how heavy the metal head is and how these might affect someone’s experience using the hammer.


YTD means year-to-date. It is a period of time from the beginning of the calendar year or the start of a fiscal year until the current date. YTD is a useful way to measure a company’s performance within a year, based on the previous year’s performance or versus its competitor’s performance.

LingualBox goes beyond teaching its students basic English skills. Here, you will also learn important things that can apply to your day-to-day life, such as business concepts. Book a class today!

Jica Simpas is a writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She has over two years of writing experience in producing travel and food-related content. She is currently exploring new writing ventures to expand her practice.