What Does M and MM Mean in Accounting?

Definition

Roman numerals are often used in accounting to help abbreviate and designate numbers. For example, the Roman numeral MM is frequently used to designate that the units used in presenting information (financial and non-financial) in millions. The Roman numeral M is used to indicate units in thousands. For example, an annual salary of $60,000 might appear as $60k instead of $60M.

Alternative notations to MM

The use of two m’s to denote millions is becoming less common. Frequently, in finance and accounting, an analyst will use k to denote thousands and a capitalized M to denote millions.

For example, $100k x 10 = $1M

Unfortunately, there isn’t a consistent approach to labeling units. The least ambiguous approach is to simply write them out in words, such as “$ thousands.” This is Corporate Finance Institute’s recommended method, to avoid any potential confusion.

M With a Bar

In Roman numerals, a million is M with a horizontal bar over the letter. A horizontal bar over any Roman numeral multiplies its value by 1,000: C becomes 100,000, X becomes 10,000 and M with a bar becomes 1,000 times 1,000, or 1 million.

We don’t know for sure why the Romans used letters or why they chose the letters they did. One theory says the use of M was because Romans measured a mile as a thousand paces. Another theory is that it is a misprinting of the Greek letter phi.

The barred M was necessary because the Romans didn’t use zero, and they didn’t like using more than three identical letters in a row. If you can’t go above three M’s in a row, you can’t get to 4,000, which would be MMMM. The bar solved the problem.

Using the MM Abbreviation

Rather than use the barred M, however, accounting went with MM as an abbreviation for a million. For example, 1MM equals 1 million, $34MM equals $34 million and so on.

Using M or MM is pretty simple. If the company sells 26,000 units, the accountant can record that as 26M units. If net income runs to $6,500,000, it goes on the books as $6.5MM. The MM abbreviation works whether the entry is in dollars, some other currency or millions of items or customers.

While you can make MM stand for millions of anything, it’s important that the reader knows whether you’re talking about dollars, euros, units shipped, etc. If, say, you use it for both units and dollars in the same document, separate the different categories so your readers don’t get confused.

MM Vs M

Alternative Approaches

If a financial statement has a lot of large figures, the accountant may simply dispense with abbreviations. Stating at the top of the report that “all figures are in millions of dollars” should take care of it. Both approaches are allowed under standard accounting rules. What matters is that readers look at the figures and understand the amounts.

There are also other options besides using MM as an abbreviation for a million. Instead of writing $36,000,000 as $36 MM, for example, you can go with:

  • $36 million
  • $36M
  • $36 MN

It’s also common to see K used for 1,000 and B for a billion. To avoid confusion, use any and all abbreviations consistently throughout all your financial records.

MM Means Other Things

Like most simple abbreviations, MM stands for a number of things in the business world other than millions:

  • Materials management
  • Marketing manager
  • Manufacturing methods
  • Memorandum
  • Man month
  • Manufacturing methods

If you think there’s any possibility of your use of MM being confusing or being misinterpreted, you’re safer writing out the numbers or using “millions.”

Related Readings

Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful:

  1. Time Management Strategies to Buy You More Time
  2. Fundamental Attribution Error and How it’s Destroying Your Relationships
  3. How Being Competent Can Improve Team Performance

Testimonials

Our Clients Love the Professional Leadership Institute

Your team will, too! Check out some reviews from our students.
The PLI program was invaluable to our network.
The range of topics delivered, the open dialogue, experience, and examples that PLI brought to each session were outstanding and provided a path for our Franchisees and Managers to look at leadership, coaching, and connecting with their teams in a new light. Many have implemented these strategies in their bakeries and have seen immediate results.
Michelle C.
COBS Bread
Highly recommend to help your team move forward
We have locations around BC and Alberta, so getting people on the same page can be very difficult... Until now. Our entire management team and location managers take the same great courses and then meet monthly online with our coach to apply it to our situation. People are engaged, the courses are excellent, we love our coach, and we are all learning together!
Jason Fawcett
President, Kelson Group
The result has been a transformation of our culture. 
We decided to implement PLI's strategies across the country in over 150 locations and over 3500 employees.  The result has been a transformation of our culture.  People's lives have been positively impacted - professionally and personally.  Morale is high and sales and profits are up as a result.
Daryl Verbeek
Daryl Verbeek
We’ve learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all
The roadmap laid out set our business up to quintuple in sales.  We've learned how to fix ongoing personnel issues once and for all, attract top talent, and spend our time focused on results, not internal staffing problems.  I highly recommend PLI to you - it's worked for us!
John DeJong
Satisfied Client
I had no idea that running a business could be this fun!
In less than 18 months of working with Trevor, he has transformed my business from being average to exceptional, where mediocrity is not acceptable, where being great is standard.  Working with PLI has allowed me to realize my dream of not simply owning a job, but owning a business.
Justin Bontkes
Principal, Caliber Projects
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year
Our culture has taken major steps forward this year with Trevor’s help.  He is funny, relatable, and his tools are very very practical and have helped us focus and upgrade our teams throughout our retail network. Trevor recently spoke to an employee group, and one person remarked, “I could listen to Trevor all day.”   We would highly recommend Trevor.
Stan Pridham
Founder, KMS Tools
The results have been remarkable
At first, we resisted, “This just won’t work with a law firm.” But we persisted and the results have been remarkable: our client base and profits have steadily improved, and staff engagement and morale is the healthiest its ever been.
Doug Lester
Partner, RDM Lawyers
Helped our fast-growing business become what it is today
I've experienced PLI's approach first hand and it's been crucial to sustaining our growth.  I can't imagine a business that wouldn't benefit greatly from his help.
Brian Antenbring
Founder, TEEMA
Provided practical ways to make positive changes
Trevor was incredibly well-received by the entire organization. He was able to articulate people issues that many of our franchisees were experiencing and provided them with practical ways to make positive changes. We have implemented the Star Chart tool across the organization and see it as vital to building happy, effective teams.
Aaron Gillespie
President, COBS Bread
Scroll to Top

Start Learning Today

For Individuals

Unlock your potential and accelerate your career with sought-after management and leadership skills.

 

Transform Your Organization

For Teams

Book a consultation to discuss your challenges and discover how we can help you build a winning team.

 

Sign Up For Weekly Tips!

Get Weekly Coaching Tips Straight To Your Inbox Every Monday.