Is that M because that Thousand and also MM for Million, or K for thousand and also M because that Million? I’m questioning for a friend. posted by Darrel Lamb, CPCU, AFSB

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If she confused about the letter designations that stand because that thousands and also millions, you’re no alone. And it’s not your fault. In fact, it’s among our most commonly asked questions. Here’s why you’re confused and what to do around it.

Western people has had actually two an effective influences — the traditions of the Greeks and also the Romans, and also there is often conflict. The Greeks would describe the god that the sea together Poseidon, whereby the Romans would call him Neptune. For the Romans, the god the wine would be Bacchus, and also for the Greeks it would certainly be Dionysus. This differences bring themselves into numerous parts of our culture, including financial analysis.As a young banker in the mid-80s, i learned what had actually been teach for many decades before, that we abbreviate thousands in our evaluation with a letter M. If we wanted to represent millions, we would display that as MM. Because that this, we have to credit the Romans. M is the Roman numeral for thousand and also MM is intended to convey one thousand-thousand — or million. To take it it further; one billion would be shown as $1MMM or one-thousand million.However, reality be known, if there were an ancient Roman here and also we asked that to interpret our usage of roman inn numerals, us would uncover that technically MM means two thousand and also MMM way three thousand, for this reason there space flaws in this tradition. This reminds me that the old joke about an ancient Roman that goes right into a bar, holds up two fingers in a tranquility sign to the bartender and also says, “Five beers, please.”Wait a minute, girlfriend say. I recognize I have seen jobs posted that pay $50K, and also K is meant to stand in because that thousand. And you would be correct, thanks to the Greeks. K comes from the Greek indigenous kilo which way a thousand. The Greeks would an in similar way show million as M, quick for Mega. So if us stay continuous with the Greek abbreviations, climate billion would certainly be shown as a letter G (Giga). Think that your computer expressing bytes of memory together kilobyte, megabyte or gigabyte. However, when it involves billion, us don’t really see G or MMM together the abbreviation because that billion. Us are an ext likely to watch a headline the reads the government spent $60B on a brand-new project. They space using B because that billion. What deserve to I say? B because that billion no Greek or Roman; that is simply the an initial letter of the word billion. So lot for consistency.I observed a headline newly in The day-to-day Journal of commerce that read the new downtown write-up office was to be developed for $89M. In the human being of accounting and financial analysis, that reads $89 thousands dollars, however we understand from context that the title writer supposed $89 million dollars. We sometimes need to code switch and also use context to identify what the writer is informing us. I referenced the 2021 connected Press Stylebook offered by the bulk of journalists to see if the guide would sweet in on exactly how to abbreviate thousands or million. When writing, the guide advises, use numbers only because that anything much less than a million, yet spell out “million,” “billion,” and ‘trillion” for numbers the 1 million or greater, such together 2.4 billion. Furthermore, connected Press proposal abbreviating millions together “M” and also billions together “B” in headlines.Agents will likewise commonly check out us interact M as thousands as soon as we quote surety prices or certified dealer commissions. For example, the standard class B price starts in ~ $25/M because that the very first $100M; climate $15/M for the following $400M; climate $10/M for the next $2MM. Those rates are expressed per thousand and the MM denotes millions. Likewise, we might quote you a single and aggregate contractor heat of authority. The line might be expressed, because that instance, as $5MM single and $15MM aggregate. If you are an agent or a contractor, you may have seen an email from your surety underwriter that states something like, “The customer should boost their bank line to $1MM.” girlfriend now understand that year of tradition have actually trained us to display one million dollars this way.While the fields of accounting, banking and finance have adopted the roman tradition, other areas such as computer system programming and the high-tech industry have adopted Greek-influenced abbreviations. Together we mix our traditions, it occasionally becomes challenging to know what someone intends come convey express thousands or millions in an abbreviation.

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That is an imperfect world.At Old Republic Surety we seek to provide you transparency and also clarity in our communications. If you see an abbreviation that is confuse or unclear, you re welcome reach the end to your regional underwriter or branch for clarification, also if girlfriend are just asking for a friend.