Money: How to write about currency in business writing

By Mary Morel

Some aspects of writing about money are universal, and other aspects are style choices.

In business writing, currency is usually expressed in symbols and numerals (e.g. $10).

Different currencies

When writing about different currencies that use the dollar, you can use:

  • A letter or letters symbolising the country followed by the $ sign (A$10, US$10)
  • A three-letter country code as specified in ISO 4217:1995 (AUD10)
  • $ sign followed by the country symbol ($A10). I don’t like this method as I think it is harder to read, but I see it used in some newspapers

Millions and billions

When writing about millions and billions, many writers use the full word in the text and either m or bn in tables and brackets. For example:

$10 million ($10m)
$10 billion ($10bn)

You need a space before million but not before m or bn.

NB Some writers use M for millions.

Spaces or commas between large numerals

You can use spaces or commas as separators with large numerals. For example:

$10,000 or $10 000.

I think commas are more common than spaces in general business writing.

Four-digit numerals

Four-digit numerals are never separated by spaces, but some writers use a comma. For example:

$5000 or $5,000

Online grammar programs

Learn more about writing styles with my online course Styles for Business Writing (A$39).

View the full list of Online Writing Training courses.


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