What is the correct abbreviation for millions, billions and trillions in a financial context?

Large number units contain so many figure places that the numbers can be overwhelming to write and interpret. For this reason, there is a tendency to shorthand numbers with letters. This is not necessarily done in the Roman Numerals sense, where one hundred is represented by a C, fifty by an L, ten by an X, five by a V, and one by a I, and so forth. However, the purpose is somewhat similar. But what is the correct abbreviation for millions, billions, and trillions when used in a financial context?

Millions are most commonly expressed with the leading letter, M. Similarly, billions is represented by the letter B. As can be expected, trillions is therefore shorthanded by the letter T. In this way, numbers can be quickly abbreviated. Rather than writing $1,000,000, one can simply write $1M for one million dollars. $5,000,000,000, or five billion dollars, is therefore $5B. Finally, $10,000,000,000, or ten trillion dollars, is $10T. This kind of abbreviation is particularly useful for more complicated numbers that contain decimals. For example, $1,700,000 can be represented as $1.7M. $2,350,000,000 is also written as $2.35B.

These abbreviations are also useful when writing articles in the paper. For example, articles discussing investments or stock market values often use shorthanded numbers to express large values. It would be unrealistic to use large numbers in headlines, but, with abbreviated numbers, the headlines can be easily written and therefore read.


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