From ABN to UX: 90+ Business Acronyms you Need to Know

Ever wondered what ABN means, or the difference between EBA and EBAS?

Small business owners in Australia encounter a wide variety of acronyms. From setting KPIs to dealing with the ATO to registering an ABN, understanding business acronyms can save time, reduce misunderstandings and enhance communication.

For busy SMEs, acronyms are more than just shorthand. They’re basically a language in their own right, helping to get a message across ASAP.

That said, overusing business acronyms can start to sound like jargon or even cause confusion

So, while these 90+ acronyms are handy to know, we encourage responsible use.

General business acronyms

Acronym Meaning Explanation
1:1 One-to-one meeting Usually a meeting between an employee and their manager.
ABN Australian Business Number A unique identifier for businesses in Australia.
ACN Australian Company Number A unique identifier for companies in Australia.
ASIC Australian Securities and Investments Commission The Government agency overseeing company registration, securities and investment markets in Australia.
ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics The Government agency responsible for collecting and publishing Australian statistics.
ATO Australian Taxation Office The Government agency that collects and administers taxes in Australia.
CCI Chamber of Commerce and Industry Local networks promoting business interests in their state, such as the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIWA).
B2B Business-to-business A transaction (or marketing) between two businesses.
B2C Business-to-consumer A transaction (or marketing) between a business and a consumer.
CC Carbon Copy Sending a copy of an email or message to another person, often to keep them informed.
COB close of business The end of the business day, generally understood to be 5pm.
DEI Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The policies and initiatives that promote an equitable and inclusive workplace.
DM / IM Direct Message / Instant Message A term borrowed from social media to mean sending a message through a chat system like Slack.
ESG Environmental, Social and Governance An increasingly important framework for assessing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and investing in responsible companies.
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival The time someone expects to complete a task, though not usually a hard deadline.
EX Employee Experience An emerging way to assess employee engagement and well-being.
FTE Full-Time Equivalent Used to calculate a company’s staffing requirements. An FTE day in Australia is 7.6 hours.
HECS-HELP Higher Education Contribution Scheme - Higher Education Loan Program A Government scheme for students to defer tuition fees until after they graduate and start earning.
HQ Headquarters The business’s base of operations.
KPI Key performance indicator A measurable value that is used to track the performance of a business or process.
M&A Mergers and Acquisitions Combining two firms into one, often by one buying out the other’s shares.
MOM / YOY Month-Over-Month / Year-Over-Year Used to show the change (usually in percentage) from one month/year to the next.
NDA Non-Disclosure Agreement A legal contract used to protect sensitive information and business interests.
OOO Out Of Office Letting you know someone is not in the office – although not always on holiday.
QA Quality Assurance Dealing with quality management of end products.
R&D Research and Development The people or processes responsible for developing new ideas or products.
RDO Rostered Day Off Also Paid Time Off (PTO), leave time accrued by an employee.
Re: Referring to Most commonly used in email subject lines to refer back to a previous topic.
RFP Request for Proposal Usually seen in tender or contract bids, this document outlines how a supplier should pitch.
SLA Service Level Agreement A contract that outlines the expected service/support offered by a service provider.
SME Small to Medium-Sized Enterprise A business with annual turnover between $10m and $250m.
SWOT Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats A framework for assessing business viability or new product development.
T&Cs Terms and Conditions The fine print in a contract or agreement.
TBC / TBD To Be Confirmed / Determined Details that will be locked in later.
TOIL Time Off In Lieu Taking time off (in lieu of pay) to make up for working overtime.
TOS Terms of Service Details a service provider’s responsibilities and a user’s rights.

Software and Technology acronyms

Acronym Meaning Explanation
AI Artificial Intelligence Machines that mimic human thinking, either to create content (generative AI) or analyse large data sets.
CRM Customer Relationship Management Software that helps businesses manage customer records and interactions.
eCommerce Electronic Commerce Buying and selling goods and services online.
ERP Enterprise Resource Planning Software to manage core business processes, such as accounting, manufacturing and human resources.
HRIS Human Resources Information System Software that helps businesses manage human resources data and processes.
HTML Hypertext Markup Language The standard programming language used to build websites and online experiences.
IT Information Technology Encompassing everything to do with managing technology in the workplace.
OS Operating System A computer’s foundation program, like Windows, AppleOS or Linux on a computer, and iOS or Android on mobile devices.
SaaS Software as a Service Software hosted by the vendor and accessed over the internet.
URL Uniform Resource Locator Also known as a website address, URLs help you navigate the internet.
VPN Virtual Private Network An encrypted online connection used to protect company information when an employee works offsite or from home.

Financial acronyms

Acronym Meaning Explanation
BAS Business Activity Statement A quarterly tax return that Australian businesses must lodge with the ATO.
COGS Cost of goods sold The cost of the goods that a business has sold in a given period.
DGR Deductible Gift Recipient A charity or not-for-profit organisation that is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations.
EBAS Electronic Business Activity Statement A type of business activity statement that can be lodged online.
EBA Enterprise Bargaining Agreement An agreement between an employer and employees on wages and working conditions.
EBITDA Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation A measure of company performance in a given period.
EFT Electronic Funds Transfer Transferring money electronically from one bank account to another.
EPS Earnings Per Share Calculating a company’s profitability by dividing annual earnings by the number of shares.
FBT Fringe Benefits Tax A tax on certain benefits that employers provide to their employees, like a gym membership or car parking.
GST Goods and Services Tax A 10% consumption tax applied to most goods and services sold in Australia.
P/E Price/Earnings ratio Used to determine if a company’s share price is correctly valued.
PAYG Pay As You Go Tax paid regularly, such as weekly or fortnightly, based on expected tax repayments.
ROI Return on Investment A measure of profitability for an investment or business initiative.
SG Superannuation Guarantee A scheme requiring employers to make superannuation contributions for employees
TFN Tax File Number A unique tax identifier for anyone working in Australia.

Marketing acronyms

Acronym Meaning Explanation
A/B test A and B versions of marketing material Experimenting with two (or more) versions of a marketing campaign to see which one performs better.
API Application Programming Interface A set of rules that define how two software applications communicate with each other.
CAC Customer Acquisition Cost The average cost of acquiring a new customer.
CLV Customer Lifetime Value The total revenue that a customer is expected to generate over the course of their relationship with a business.
CMS Content Management System The place you store, access and manage files for a website or other online platform.
CPA Cost Per Action The amount that a business invests for each desired action, such as a purchase or a sign-up.
CPC Cost Per Click The amount of money a business pays an ad vendor (like Google) for each click on their ad.
CPL Cost Per Lead The amount of money that a business invests for each lead that it generates.
CRM Customer Relationship Management A software solution that helps businesses manage their customer interactions.
CRO Conversion Rate Optimisation Improving the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as purchasing or signing up for a newsletter.
CTA Call To Action A statement that tells the reader what to do next, like “Click here to learn more” or “Sign up for our newsletter.”
CTR Click-Through Rate The percentage of people who click on a link.
CX(M) Customer Experience (Management) A customer’s interactions with a business, and how the business manages those interactions (including customer data).
DM Direct Mail Marketing materials sent directly to a customer’s physical address.
MQL Marketing Qualified Lead A prospective customer who meets certain criteria to be deemed interesting enough to pursue.
PPC Pay-Per-Click Advertisers are charged each time a user clicks on a link.
SEM Search Engine Marketing A type of online advertising that uses paid search ads to reach potential customers.
SEO Search Engine Optimisation The process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search engine results.
SMM Social Media Marketing The use of social media platforms to promote a product or service.
UX User Experience The overall experience that a user has when interacting with a product or service.

Job titles

Acronym Meaning Explanation
CEO Chief Executive Officer Responsible for overall management and direction.
CFO Chief Financial Officer Responsible for financial management and reporting.
CHRO Chief Human Resources Officer Responsible for overall people management.
CIO or CTO Chief Information or Technology Officer Responsible for technology, information systems and infrastructure.
CMO Chief Marketing Officer Responsible for marketing and advertising strategies.
COO Chief Operating Officer Responsible for day-to-day operations.
HR Human Resources The department responsible for hiring, people management and training.
PR Public Relations A person, department or external consultant dealing with publicity and media relationships.

Would you believe this is just the shortlist of SME acronyms?

Whether you’re a new sole trader or seasoned entrepreneur, there is always a lot to learn in the ever-changing world of business. Hopefully this list helped to answer some of your questions about common SME acronyms, like “What does ABN mean?” and “Why does the CFO want PAYG info by EOD?”.

Registry is here to help small businesses. Our online business services give you a simpler way to manage everything from ABN registration to business name renewal to web hosting

You won’t find jargon here. Just affordable, easy-to-use business services.

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