Buzzwords. They are an unavoidable component of the business world. It does not matter if you love them, hate them, or feel indifferent. Eventually, you will need to understand them if you want to keep up with the current environment.
In the event that you have just entered the world of work, this content may not be familiar to you yet. If you have been a part of the world of work earlier, this will be all too familiar. In the interest of meeting both these views in the middle, we thought it would be beneficial to conduct a little corporate jargon analysis.
Why did we take up this task? Well, if the chart above wasn’t convincing enough, being recent grads ourselves and joining the workforce helped us realize that the working world has a language of its own. So, we decided to save you all the trouble by creating a list of some of the most used business buzzwords at work. If you didn’t already love us enough, we even broke it down to the field of specialization.
So, the next time you have that inner voice telling you, “I honestly have no idea what we are talking about or what I am doing here”, you can use this list to help you pull through.
Without further ado, here are some of the most commonly used buzzwords/phrases within the workplace:
- FinTech — Not really a new term anymore, Fintech refers to using technology in the financial world, with the advent of the pandemic, this term has become all the more important.
- RegTech — A smart wordplay on regulatory technology, this term refers to leveraging existing technologies through Software as a service (SaaS) to help companies comply with local and federal regulations in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
- Unicorn — This is perhaps the most tantalizing term in the investment industry, referring to a privately held startup which is being valued at 1 billion dollars or more.
- Neobank — These are the Fintech firms that provide banking and other financial solutions in an online virtual space. They do not possess a physical retail presence which helps them to reduce their cost and provide lower fees and better interest rates than typical retail banks. Banks like Mogo, Tangerine, and Motus Bank would be close examples of Neobanks.
- In The Black — Coming “in the black” means returning to profitability. The “Black Friday” sale also gets its name from this industry jargon. It is the day all retail companies come in the black from red.
- Top Line/Bottom Line — The top line refers to the first line in a typical income statement which is the revenue/sales figure while the bottom line refers to the last line in the income statement indicating the profit earned.
- Blockchain & Cryptocurrency — Often considered a taboo, however, in reality, cryptocurrency represents a great opportunity for low-cost international fund transfer and financial integrity. The circulation of this digital, finite and impossible to counterfeit currency required distributed computing and absolute consensus in a network, which is enabled by blockchain technology.
- PropTech — Property technology leverages digital technology to address the needs of the real estate industry. From crowdfunding new projects to virtual reality tours, PropTech provides enhanced solutions to investors, home buyers, and real estate developers.
- Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) — This can be summarized by a quote from Albert Einstein — “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it”
- ETF — Exchange-traded funds, ETF, are perhaps one of the easiest and cost-effective ways for beginners to start investing in the equity market. Just like how a stock represents a tradable unit of a company’s equity, ETF is like a tradable unit of a portfolio of companies’ equity.
- Inventory — The amount of goods (either raw materials, work-in-progress, or finished goods) owned by a company at any particular time for sale.
- Just-In-Time — Aligns raw-material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules to reduce the flow time within the production system and response times to customers.
- Productivity — This measures how efficiently an organization can convert inputs (resources such as labor and capital) into outputs (goods and services).
- Layout Strategy — Developing a cost-effective layout to maximize the use of space, equipment and people with improved flow of material and information.
- Lean Methodology — To deliver better value to the customers by discovering inefficiencies in the process and by eliminating waste.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) — Large, sophisticated software systems used to manage the enterprise-wide resources, which are needed to coordinate all activities involved in delivering products.
- Critical Path — The longest sequence of activities in a network to complete the project in the least possible time.
- Vertical Integration — A strategy adopted to own or control its suppliers, distributors, or retail locations and it allows to increase their control in the value chain.
- Aggregate Planning — To produce the right quantity of a product, at the right time, at the lowest cost, using available equipment and workers.
- Buffer Stock — Excess inventory held as a reserve to reduce the occurrence of stock-out situations during the time of fluctuations in demand and supply.
- Building A Pipeline — The most important question in a Data Science project is, “How are we going to leverage clean and meaningful data to make decisions?” ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) is a solution. This process is commonly referred to as a Pipeline.
- Data Wrangling — This is the process of transforming and mapping data from one “raw” data form into another format. Probably one of the first terms we learn in computer science is GIGO (Garbage-in-garbage-out). So, it is important to clean and process your data before feeding it into algorithms. Here’s a cheat sheet from Rstudio for this.
- Massaging Your Data —This refers to imputing/replacing missing data and rectifying poorly formatted data. The most common ones found here are date formats and decimal formats.
- Calling Catalyst — A “Data Catalyst” is a person with great domain knowledge and can also act as a bridge between the business user and data scientists.
- Feature Engineering — Input variables are called features. The date can be split into day(s) of the week (Monday, Tuesday, …), or decomposed into a calendar or fiscal quarter.
- Turning Data Into Dollars — Deciding how these readings, forecasts, and classifications can result in additional $ earnings or savings to the company.
- Telling A Story — In the analytics world, explaining results is like storytelling. The story needs to be easy to understand and free of jargon. Decision-makers may not be necessarily be data scientists or statistics students to understand the RMSLE score (Note: Lower values of RMSE indicate better fit)
- It’s Not Pouring — Data science projects run on cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google cloud). However, sometimes clusters on the cloud will be overloaded with data processing and requests may take more time to finish. In such cases, the common phrase, “It’s not pouring” is used.
- Is It Stew Ready? — This buzzword is not as common, but what’s more important here is the role of a data steward. A data steward is responsible for utilizing an organizations data governance processes. Before building pipelines, it is important that sensitive data has been appropriately taken care of.
- I Don’t Git It — Yes, understandably a horrible phrase, but also a very creative one. Github is a web-based platform used for version control. Git simplifies the process of collaborating with other people and makes it easier to work on projects together. Get some hands-on Github as you will hear this word often.
- 360-Degree Appraisal—Do you feel just one person judging your performance could be potentially biased? Well, many HR professionals agree with you and that’s why they came up with this method of appraisal. Using this method, your performance is rated by your peers, your supervisors, your employees, and even your customers.
- Turnover— This term refers to the number of employees leaving the organization, either voluntarily or not. This is a ratio that most companies try to keep low because of the costs associated in attracting and hiring new employees.
- Attrition— The expected loss of employees due to causes such as death, retirement, and resignations. Most companies make their hiring forecasts based on this, among many other considerations.
- Constructive Dismissal—This refers to changes introduced by an employer that constitute a substantial change to the working conditions of the worker. It can consist of, although not limited to, reducing pay and benefits, demotion and forced transfer.
- Skills Inventories—Bank of information detailing the employees’ attributes that is used to consider candidates for internal promotions or future positions.
- Succession Planning— Part of the HR planning process, success planning consists of filling future gaps on senior or key jobs. It’s one of the cases where skills inventories can help an organization identify and prepare potential candidates to step into these roles.
- Behaviour Modelling Training—It’s a training method based on imitation. The learner observes the trainer on how a certain task is done and then (s)he tries to imitate it under supervision.
- Training Administration — This is the coordination of materials, space, trainers and trainees before, during, and after the training program.
- Occupational Injury— It refers to any workplace-related wound, cut, fracture, and other related injuries.
- Work Refusal — Workers have the right to refuse work that they believe is unsafe. This belief must be reasonable, and an investigation must be performed to ensure the task assigned is safe.
- Accrual-Based Accounting — This method states that companies should recognize revenues and expenses at the time of the sale. It is efficient and provides a better indicator of your current financial position.
- Bad Debt Expense (BDE) — If you make a sale on credit, there’s a chance you may not receive payment. BDE is an entry on the income statements that allows you to write off money you did not receive, giving you a more accurate bottom line.
- Cash-Based Accounting — This method states that companies should recognize revenues and expenses when they’re received or processed. While this is a straightforward accounting method, it actually does not meet GAAP standards.
- Material Misstatement — Information in the financial statements that is sufficiently incorrect such that it may impact the economic decisions of someone relying on those statements. If such errors do not exist, we say, “The financial statements are free from material misstatements”. Also, if the information is not sufficiently incorrect, it is understandably “immaterial”.
- At Arm’s Length — Arm’s length transactions are transactions between people who have no relationship other than that of buyer and seller (i.e they are not related). The price is the true fair market value of the goods or services sold.
- Depreciation — This term indicates how much value an asset has left and when an asset must be replaced, as it measures the decline in value of an asset. The various methods of calculating depreciation include straight-line, double-declining balance and units of production.
- General Ledger (GL) — It refers to the complete recording of all financial transactions of a company over its lifetime, tracking assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and owners’ equity. The transaction details are then compiled and summarized at various levels to produce a trial balance, balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows and more financial reports.
- Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) — Rules, standards and principles that accountants and businesses use when accounting, combining authoritative standards and accepted practices
- Value — There are two types of value: Book Value (BV) and Fair Market Value (FMV). The book value of an asset is its original purchase cost, adjusted for any subsequent changes, such as impairment or depreciation. Market value is the price that could be obtained by selling an asset on a competitive, open market (ie based on supply and demand).
- Working Capital — This is the amount of money a company has available to invest or spend on necessary items for the business.
- Move The Needle — The phrase is used when considerable effort is required to make a huge change or difference that is noticeable.
- Content Is King — This catchphrase for content in marketing is used a lot. Content is definitely key and having a content strategy is essential, if you want to succeed in today’s digital marketing landscape.
- Retargeting — Placing product or service advertisements to people who were on your site earlier but didn’t make any purchases. It’s a great tool to bring customers back to your site.
- Hyperlocal — This is a marketing tool used as GPS data to geographically target audiences and provide location-specific advertising.
- Clickbait — Unconventional headlines crafted for the sole purpose of driving clicks. Clickbait titles usually capture the audience’s interest by driving mystery, when the content cannot carry itself.
- Real-time Engagement — This involves communicating and building relationships with customers through active and constant interaction. A few good examples here would be weekly chat sessions, live streaming an event, or posting a holiday special photo.
- Omnichannel Marketing — Basically your modern marketing blitzkrieg, which involves reaching your target audience via multiple channels. These could be online, social media, brick and mortar stores, and mobile platforms, while also ensuring in providing a unified message and seamless experience.
- SoLoMo — It refers to Social, Local, and Mobile. This epic marketing trio that sounds somewhat like a zip code abbreviation drives better customer engagement and brand loyalty.
- Growth Hacking — This is often referred to as marketing strategies utilized by most small businesses, start-ups, and new businesses. Growth hacking consists of free marketing tools like social media, blogging, SEO, and content marketing.
- User Generated Content (UGC)— Brands are often looking to incorporate UGC into their brand promotions. When brands showcase their customers’ art work and testimonials, it builds a positive relationship and shows users that companies actually care.
We acknowledge that these words represent only a small sample of buzzwords relating to the different industries, however, probably the most important ones. Each industry has very specific jargon and business buzzwords. What’s more interesting is that even each company within an industry can be potentially using different buzzwords.
In today’s world, whether you’re pitching a new product or networking within your industry, business buzzwords can give you an edge over other people, provided that the right terminology is used in the proper context.
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