The Most Annoying Buzzwords Revealed

As accounting and finance professionals hone their communication skills, one trap they must watch out for is relying on buzzwords. Too often lacking meaning and failing to convey specific points, these terms can damage the most otherwise finely crafted presentation.

Our company’s Accountemps division recently surveyed human resources managers on the workplace’s most annoying or overused phrases. Here are some of the (least) favorites:

  • “Out of pocket”

  • “Deep dive”

  • “Forward-thinking”

  • “Dynamic”

  • “Crunch time”

This is the third time Accountemps conducted this survey, with the first in 2004 and the second in 2009. The combined results have revealed early candidates for a buzzword hall of fame, including:

  • “Win-win”

  • “Value-added”

  • “Think outside the box”

  • “Leverage”

  • “Synergy”

Buzzwords are here to stay. They’re so prevalent, Weird Al Yankovic parodied them.



While this takes a lighter view of workplace communication, there is a serious side. Whether preparing a report for other senior executives or giving a corporate update in a staff meeting, accounting and finance professionals must deliver their news with clarity and avoid using tired clichés as a crutch. Too many buzzwords ruin even the most powerful messages.

What buzzword annoys you most? For inspiration and a deep dive into more of the survey results, check out the value-added slideshow below.


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Photo source: Accountemps