I'm regularly surprised by the confusion between two common acronyms. For the record:

  • Q & A stands for “question and answer”, as in We'll have a Q&A session at the conclusion of today's panel presentation.
  • QA stands for “quality assurance”, the act of testing to ensure a product, service, or process meets quality standards. The new customer service phone system seemed better, but AT&T still decided to record all support calls for QA purposes.

I hear an extraordinary number of intelligent people, technologists, executives, investors, and politicians screw this up. Typically they say “Q&A” when they mean QA. It's incorrect to say, The early iPhones had a lot of manufacturing problems, Apple clearly skimped on the Q&A process. Apple, for better or worse, doesn't engage in Q&A, but they do have quality assurance, QA, systems in their factories.

Not such a hard distinction, just expand the acronym you're using, be sure it still works in the sentence. Hopefully someone else can shed light on why this one causes trouble for otherwise articulate folks.