Are acronyms acceptable in a business environment?
The general rule is this: If a customer / client sends you correspondence with acronyms, or emoji’s, it means one of 3 things;
- They are young… Very young.
- They don’t know how to communicate on a business level which might be an indicator of immaturity, or a genuine lack of understanding of how to communicate with someone that you are conducting business with.
- Or they just don’t care.
The communication going the other way should not include acronyms unless the acronym is a generally used and commonly understood short form for a professional organization or term used in finance / your industry.
Emoji’s… Never. Ever.
There are, however, some exceptions, but they are few and far between.
Imagine telling a friend in an email that you overheard a conversation and that you were “SMH”. SMH means “shaking my head”. Your friend saves that email, then down the road wants to introduce you to someone, or refer someone to you, and flips your email out and the person who you were shaking you head at is that person, related to that person, or is best buds with that person.
It might seem small, but it’s not.
The same holds true for people in business who send out emails without taking the time to edit them for punctuation, or spelling, or grammar. I am certainly not saying that each and every email has to be perfect, but it reflects on you, the time you spend gathers the facts and it tells the person receiving the email that you don’t think enough about them to take the time and ensure that it makes sense and it clear.
If you’re asking for information, make sure that is clear.
If you’re looking for it back by a certain time, make sure that is clear.
If you want to get to the point and are comfortable sending an email demanding something right away, then don’t be surprised if you find that business relationship to be a little cold. Common sense should tell you that everyone likes to be asked in a respectful manner and given more than a second to provide a response.
Getting back to acronyms, here are some of the acceptable acronyms:
ASAP – As soon as possible.
NSFW – Not safe for work.
These are okay, but not recommended.
FYI – For your information – can be used – but make sure that you know what that means. Generally it means, this is for you (the receiver of the email) and you can do with the information what you please).
FYI Only. This means, this email is for you, but do not share it with anyone! Sharing it could cause huge problems, usually for the personal who wrote or forwarded the email.
Here are some other Business terms you might see used.
DR – debit
CR – Credit
ROI – Return on Investment
CRA – Canada Revenue Agency
IRS – Internal Revenue Service
ITC – Input Tax Credit
GST – Goods and Services Tax
PST – Provincial Sales Tax
HST – Harmonized Sales Tax (both the Provincial tax and the Goods and Services Tax)
VAT – Value Added Tax (like the GST/HST)
WSIB – Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
ITA – Income Tax Act
ETA – Excise Tax Act
BIA – Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
CY – Current Year
PY – Previous Year
FB – Facebook
IG – Instagram
LI – LinkedIn
YT – YouTube
SC – Snapchat
WP – Word Press
While there is no short form for Twitter, there are some Twitter-related short forms that are often used in more mainstream communications nowadays, such as:
DM – Direct Message
MT – Modified Tweet (Used when re-sharing a Tweet where you alter the text by shortening it to fit within the character limit or removing the poster’s handle if they have a private account).
PM – Private Message – When someone PM’s you in Twitter, they send a private message to you that no one else can see.
RT – Retweet – When you publish somebody else’s Tweet, in its entirety, to your own feed.
Internally, business units tend to use their own terminology when discussing internal matters. For example,
B2B – Business to Business – Refers to companies who sell to other companies.
B2C – Business to Consumer – Refers to businesses who sell directly to individuals.
CMS – Content Management Systems are a tool used for editing, scheduling and publishing any written material for the web.
CPC – Cost per Click – the dollar amount an an advertiser pays for every person who clicks on an ad.
CR – Conversion Rate – The conversion rate is the number of people who take an action divided by the number who could have.
CTA (also C2A) – Call to Action – A statement that asks the reader to do something.
KPI – Key Performance Indicators – A metric used to measure success in achieving goals, ie/ measurement of engagement, conversions, shares or clicks, etc.
PV – Page Views
UGC – User Generated Content – content created in order to generate views, comments, etc.
IT – Information Technology
Internal Acronyms to get you through an email with your IT Department
ESP – Email Service Provider
ISP – Internet Service Provider
HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language
RSS – Really Simple Syndication
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
API: An “application programming interface” is a set of rules for how pieces of software interact. Your social media management tools use the APIs of Facebook, Twitter and the other networks to post and schedule.
SEM – Search Engine Marketing – How businesses leverage search engines for marketing purposes.
TOS – Terms Of Service
UI – User Interface
NOA – Notice of Assessment
LFP – Late Filing Penalties
LRP – Late Remitting Penalties
P&I – Penalties and Interest
TPR – Taxpayer Relief
VDP – Voluntary Disclosure Program
T1 – Personal tax return (Individual)
T2 – Corporate Tax Return
RP – Payroll Accounts
RT – GST/HST Accounts
Are there other terms which are commonly used in your field of business which you could add to the list, or do you have any stories of odd or unusual acronyms or emojis you have been sent. If so, please share the stories below.