British Business Titles vs. American Business Titles

Written by christine lebednik
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Business titles can be classified into two categories: titles that identify companies, and titles given to a particular job and to the person who performs that job. The degree of difference between British business titles and American business titles varies depending on the category of the business title.

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Job Titles

For the most part, job titles in the United States and in Great Britain are the same or quite similar, as shown at the 1job website. A few exceptions do exist, however. For example, the British use the job title "audio typist" or "audio secretary." This British job corresponds to the job title used in the United States of transcriptionist. A British "audio secretary" job title may describe a secretarial job of which transcription is one component. In such an instance this could correspond to one of several American job titles practised in health care facilities, such as medical secretary. Another distinction in British job titles involves professional nurses. The British system ranks nurse skill levels by letter grade levels, such as "Grade D" and "Grade E". Correspondingly, the American system ranks professional nurses by differing certification levels, such as Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse and Nurse Practitioner.

British Company Names

Titles of company names in British usage must qualify under various regulations. All British company names must end with one of the terms "Limited," "Unlimited" or "Public Limited," for example, as described at the UK Incorp website. While sometimes an American company name ends with the term "limited," the use of the term, abbreviated "Ltd.," is relatively infrequent among American companies. New British companies also cannot use a name already in use by another company on the British business index.


Etiquette plays a significant role in British business communications. For example, British business people take punctuality quite seriously, have great respect for rank and have an understated approach to business communications. This type of etiquette also extends to the use of titles in British business communications. With the exception of clergy and medical doctors, individuals conducting business within the British environment use only such identifiers as Mr., Mrs., or Miss and do not identify themselves by a job title when interacting with others. The one other potential exception involves an individual who holds a knighthood, who even in business may get addressed as "Sir Mortimer Jones," for example. This contrasts with the use of business titles in the United States, where most individuals holding a professional-level position may expect to be addressed in business communications by their business or highest-level academic title.

American Qualifiers

American business titles for companies can use certain qualifiers, although they differ from the British terms. American businesses commonly uses the term incorporated, abbreviated "Inc.," in company titles, provided the business qualifies as a corporation. Other terms American businesses, particularly in the medical and legal fields, use in their company titles include Professional Corporations (PC), Limited Liability Companies (LLC) and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), as described at the Indiana Board of Law Examiners website.

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