ppa is an abbreviation for the Latin “per procura”, which translates into “in Vollmacht” in Germany.  In English, one might say “on behalf of”.

Whilst it is common in English-speaking countries to see a letter signed with “p.p.” by a secretary, in Germany the letters ppa are used in front of the signature of a person in the company who holds the title of “Prokurist”.  This is usually someone who represents the management, eg. in a limited company (GmbH).

The Prokurist can approve payments, and many other things that are normally only carried out by the highest management.  What he or she can do exactly, is usually agreed in a special contract.  eg. represent the company in court or hire and fire employees.

Other common abbreviations are i.V. (in Vollmacht) and i.A. (im Auftrag), which are used by normal employees to show which role they have in signing a document.  i.A. is the most common, one example of usage being a simple letter to a customer.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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