COB vs. EOD? What's the Difference and How Do You Use Them?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 15, 2021

An illustration of a clock is shown during the daytime, with a window showing the sun.

Acronyms are an efficient way for business professionals to communicate with one another. When a supervisor assigns a task, they may detail whether it's due at the close of business (COB) or the end of the day (EOD). It's important to know the difference between COB and EOD to avoid missing any important deadlines.

In this article, we review what COB and EOD are, explain when to use them and share examples of how to use each one.

What is COB?

COB stands for "close of business" that professional organizations use when referring to the end of the business day. Many professionals base COB hours on times that businesses traditionally close in the United States, which is typically 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Employers commonly refer to this time when establishing a deadline. For example, if a supervisor says to complete a task by COB on Friday, the assignment's deadline would be 5 p.m. EST Friday.

COB is also the time that the stock markets close in New York City, which is typically why many business professionals regularly use and understand this acronym. Some employers use COB interchangeably with similar acronyms, like the end of business (EOB), which typically has the same meaning.

What is EOD?

EOD stands for "end of the day," which refers to the end of the business day. Some employers may use EOD and COB interchangeably, but they have a few key differences. When supervisors assign tasks to complete by EOD, they're usually expecting employees to complete them by the end of the business day in their own time zone. If someone assigns a task to someone in a different time zone, then it's usually due by the end of the business day in the sender's time zone.

Related: Fiscal Year vs. Calendar Year: Definitions and Benefits

What do employers consider a business day to be?

A business day usually refers to the traditional operational hours of an organization, which are usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. When organizations mention business hours, they're usually talking about these traditional times. Even if an organization is open in the evenings, most professionals rarely consider those to be business hours.

When to use COB versus EOD

There are many instances when you or your manager may use COB or EOD depending on the situation.

Common instances when it's best to use COB include:

Speaking to clients in different time zones

If you work with clients with offices in a different state, it may be best to use COB when mentioning the time you'll submit assignments or when you need any information from them.

Since you're in different time zones, you can avoid confusion by using COB as a neutral time for both you and them to submit assignments or schedule meetings. This is typically a great option to use in this instance, as COB is a well-known acronym that most professionals regularly use.

Referring to the end of the day in EST

There may be moments when you must complete and submit projects to clients who operate on Eastern Standard Time. The best way to quickly communicate these deadlines is to ask for documents by COB. It's also an effective and convenient acronym to use when asking clients located in EST to submit their notes or information by the end of the day in their time zones.

Instances where it's most appropriate to use EOD are:

Assigning deadlines to employees

Since EOD usually refers to your time zone, or the sender's, it's best to use it when communicating deadlines to people familiar with your specific time zone. This is why many professionals typically use EOD to set assignment deadlines to complete at the end of certain business days. It's a quick and effective way to list several assignments and their due dates without writing wordy sentences.

Submitting projects to local clients

If one of your clients is in the same city, state or time zone as you, it can be convenient to mention that you'll send projects to them by EOD. Since you're both in the same time zone and are aware of the time zone you're referencing, there shouldn't be any confusion about when they'll receive their assignments from you.

Related: Top 5 Ways To Communicate More Effectively With Customers

Additional workplace acronyms you can use

Depending on where you work, you may see professionals use acronyms you're unfamiliar with when listing a deadline. They may use these in place of the acronyms COB or EOD or they may feature these acronyms alongside them. Additional common workplace acronyms can include:

  • EOB (end of business day): This is a combination of both COB and EOD and can represent the end of an employee's workday. It's also commonly used interchangeably with both of these acronyms.

  • COP (close of play): This acronym is often used instead of COB, as it has the same meaning but more directly refers to the closing of the financial markets.

  • EOP (end of play): Many professionals use this acronym in place of COB. It's similar to COP, as it also refers to the financial markets closing.

Related: 100 Business Abbreviations and Their Definitions

Examples of using COB vs EOD

Common examples of instances where you'd use COB or EOD in the workplace include:

Example: speaking to out-of-state clients

If you're communicating deadlines or requesting information from clients who live in other time zones, you can use COB and consider specifying the time if they're a new client or if you're using COB when communicating with them for the first time to avoid any confusion.

Example: "Our team will submit the budget proposal for our upcoming marketing strategy by COB (5 p.m. EST)"

Example: setting deadlines with clients in EST

Another effective time to use COB is when setting deadlines with clients located in EST. Since COB already refers to 5 p.m. EST, there should be little to no confusion when establishing deadlines by COB.

Example: "Please provide us with your business address by COB Friday so we can send over the paperwork for you to sign."

Example: assigning deadlines to employees

Since you're located in the same time zone as the employees you work with, you can use EOD to establish deadlines for them to submit projects. Using this acronym is a great way to quickly list out assignments and their due dates without taking up too much room or time. Here's an example:

Upcoming tasks to finish this week are:

  • Write blog post draft: due Monday EOD.

  • Apply edits to blog post: due Wednesday EOD.

  • Publish blog post: due Friday EOD.

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