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Professional Services acronyms

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As with many industries, working in Professional Services can involve navigating a complex system of jargon and acronyms. Such terms can seem immediately obvious the minute they’ve been explained to you, but there is nothing worse than trying to stay abreast of a conversation that is chock-a-block with abbreviations and specialist terminology. And so, because we’re nice, here are our top five need-to-know Professional Services terms...

QA – Quality Assure (As in – “let me just Q A that for you”)

Quality Assurance is the process by which a report is assessed for accuracy – both from a typos and punctuation point of view, as well as a more rigorous examination of whether the opinion being expressed is sufficiently justified.

However, the term has crept its way into more common usage and has become synonymous with ‘review’. For example, you have just written an email to send to the client and you lean over to your manager and ask ‘do you mind QA’ing this for me?’

M&A – Mergers and Acquisitions

The stuff that keeps financial markets moving, M&A refers to the consolidation of companies – both when one company purchases another (acquisition) and when two companies combine and create a new identity together (mergers). Professional Services professionals spend a lot of time advising on M&A activity and so the term is firmly embedded in the industry.

SME – Subject Matter Expert 

Exactly as the name suggests, an SME is an individual with rich knowledge and understanding of an industry, company or service who is usually solicited for their opinion on a number of matters. For example, when advising a high end retail brand on the tax implications of a decision, an SME in the retail sector would likely be consulted for their view of similar cases and factors that the tax experts may not have considered. 

FDD, VDD and CDD – Financial, Vendor & Commercial Due Diligence

These snappy terms refer to the reports written around the sale of a company or part of a company. Professional Services firms create independent reports on the asset being sold – the FDD is an in-depth report on the company’s financial position whilst both the CDD and the VDD are detailed assessments of the company’s historic performance and future prospects – from both the Vendor's (VDD) and buyer's (CDD) perspectives.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator

KPIs are the metrics used to measure the performance of an activity or an organisation. Typically these are quantifiable metrics that allow a company to understand the extent to which it has been successful against a number of key criteria.