Glossary of business related terms

Source:  business.vic.gov.au

A

  • ABN Lookup - an online database that contains publicly available information provided by businesses when they register for an Australian Business Number (ABN).
  • ABR public - the former name of ABN Lookup.
  • ACCC - Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
  • Accessibility - the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities.
  • Accounts payable - a record of all short-term (less than 12 months) invoices, bills and other liabilities yet to be paid. Examples of accounts payable include invoices for goods or services, bills for utilities and tax payments due.
  • Accounts receivable - a record of all short-term (less than 12 months) expected payments, from customers that have already received the goods/services but are yet to pay. These types of customers are called debtors and are generally invoiced by a business.
  • Acrobat Reader - stand-alone program or Web browser plug-in from Adobe that lets you view a Portable Document Format (PDF) file in its original format and appearance. The Acrobat Reader is free and can be downloaded from Adobe.
  • Accrual accounting - an accounting system that records transactions at the time they occur, whether the payment is made now or in the future.
  • ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) - a technology for providing high transmission speeds for video and voice to homes over ordinary copper telephone wire.
  • Agency - a government department or representative, either federal or state, or any other kind of government organisation.
  • Agent - a person you authorise to act on your behalf in your business dealings.
  • Apps - short for Applications (small pieces of software) commonly used on mobile phones or tablets.
  • ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
  • Assets - are things you own. These can be cash or something that can be converted into cash such as property, vehicles, equipment and inventory.
  • Astroturfing: Is when someone generates fake feedback External Site to post promotional or negative reviews of their own business. For example, a hotel creating false travel review profiles to make the hotel seem more popular. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) considers this practice unethical and misleading to consumers.
  • ATO - Australian Taxation Office.
  • Audit - a physical check performed by an auditor or tax official on a business' financial records to check that everything is accounted for correctly.
  • AusIndustry - an area of the federal government that aims to help the Australian business and research community become more innovative and internationally competitive.
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) - a single identifying number used when dealing with other businesses and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • Australian Business Register (ABR) - a register of information provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by businesses and other entities when they register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) that can be accessed by the internet. Some of this information is available publicly from ABN Lookup.
  • Australian Company Number (ACN) - the number allocated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) when you register a company under Corporations Law.
  • Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) - an individual written agreement previously available between an employer and employee about terms and conditions of employment.
  • Authentication - a system whereby people gain trusted access to computer-based systems only through adequate proof of identity.
  • Automatic Data Capture (ADC) - a collective term for a group of technologies used for managing information. These include bar-coding, magnetic stripe, Radio Frequency (RF), Tagging and Data Communication, Optical and Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (OCR, MICR), smartcards, and vision and voice recognition systems.
  • Award - the setting out of terms and conditions of employment, along with salary levels, through an industrial agreement between employers and employees.

B

  • B2B - business-to-business e-commerce. Websites designed for businesses to trade with each other over the internet.
  • B2C - business-to-consumer e-commerce. Websites designed to allow consumers to buy goods and services over the internet.
  • B2G - business-to-government e-commerce. Websites designed to allow businesses to trade with government over the internet.
  • Back up - to make a copy of data required for restoring a computer program or file.
  • Bad debts - money owed to you that is unlikely to be paid to you in the foreseeable future.
  • Balance sheet - a snapshot of a business as of a particular date. It lists all of a business' assets and liabilities and works out the net assets.
  • Balloon payment - a final lump sum payment due on a loan agreement. Loans with a larger final 'balloon payment' have lower regular repayments over the term of the loan.
  • Bandwidth - the amount of 'stretch' in a network connection ie. its maximum carrying capacity for data traffic.
  • Bank reconciliation - a cross-check that ensures the amounts recorded in the cashbook match the relevant bank statements.
  • Bankrupt - an individual is bankrupt when they cannot pay their debts and aren't able to reach an agreement with their creditors.
  • Bankruptcy - a process where an individual is legally declared bankrupt and their assets and financial affairs are administered by an appointed trustee.
  • Benchmark - a set of conditions against which a product or system is measured.
  • Benchmarking - the process of comparing your business to similar businesses in your industry.
  • Best practice - improving business operations and services by following standards, codes of practice and benchmarking.
  • Bill of sale - a legal document used in the purchase of property or other assets that details what was purchased, where the purchase took place, and for how much.
  • Bitcoin - A digital cash and payment system that allows you to trade items online using a virtual currency. Read our page on Bitcoin for businesses.
  • Blog - A web log (or blog, as it's known) is a type of website featuring posts by an author or authors, to discuss topics of interest or spread information
  • Bookkeeping - the process of recording the financial transactions of a business.
  • Bot - Internet bots, or web robots, are applications that carry out online tasks automatically. Some bots are used to spam webpages, or find user-inputted contact information.
  • Bottom line - see Net profit.
  • Break-even - when a business' income meets a business' expenses.
  • Bookmark (or favourite) - most Web browsers give you an option of adding a URL to a 'HotList' or by marking it with a 'bookmark'. By doing this, you can store the linking information (the URL) to any Web pages you plan to revisit.
  • BPS (Bits Per Second) - the speed at which a particular modem can transmit data.
  • Broadband - a high bandwidth network (carrying voice audio and data simultaneously) allowing for high-speed internet access.
  • Browser - software that makes it possible for a networked computer to visit webpages - common browsers include Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.
  • Business Activity Statement (BAS) - a form used to report business tax entitlements and obligations including Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Pay As You Go (PAYG).
  • Budget - a listing of planned revenue and expenditure for a given period.
  • Buyout - when one party buys another party's entire stake or share in a business.

C

  • Cache - a small, fast, temporary memory store for regularly accessed or recently used data.
  • Capital - wealth in the form of money or property owned by a business.
  • Capital cost - a one-off substantial purchase of physical items such as plant, equipment, building or land.
  • Capital gain - is the amount gained when an asset is sold above its original purchase price.
  • Capital growth - an increase in the value of an asset.
  • Capital Gains Tax - the tax on any gain you make when you sell an asset such as shares, units in a unit trust and property, excluding most homes and motor vehicles.
  • Cash - includes all money that is available on demand including bank notes and coins, petty cash, certain cheques, and money in savings or debit accounts.
  • Cash accounting - an accounting system that records transactions at the time money is actually received or paid.
  • Cash book - a daily record of all cash, credit or cheque transactions received or paid out by a business.
  • Cash flow - the measure of actual cash flowing in and out of a business.
  • Cash incoming - money that is flowing into the business.
  • Cash outgoing - money that is flowing out of the business.
  • Certification - the formal process of making certain that an individual is qualified in terms of particular knowledge or skills.
  • Certified Agreement (CA) - a collective agreement made directly between an employer and a group of employees, or between an employer and a union or unions representing employees.
  • Channel - a way of delivering something to its destination, whether it's a message to be communicated or a physical product to be delivered.
  • Chart of accounts - an index of the accounts a business will use to classify transactions. Each account represents a type of transaction such as Asset, Liability, Owner's equity, Income, and Expense.
  • Chattel Mortgage - is similar to a hire-purchase agreement although the business owns the asset from the start. Chattel mortgages require regular ongoing payments and typically provide the option of reducing the payments through the use of a final 'balloon' payment.
  • Cloud Computing - Known as using 'the cloud', this is a way of providing on-demand access to resources, data storage, and applications or infrastructure over the internet.
  • Codes of practice - set out specific standards of conduct in an industry. Can be mandatory or voluntary.
  • Collective bargaining - two or more competing businesses negotiate a deal for the sale or purchase of products or services within a common customer or supplier.
  • Company - a legal entity separated from its members (shareholders).
  • Compliance - procedures that are undertaken at regular intervals or on an ongoing basis to ensure that the regulations and/or laws laid down by an authoritative body are kept.
  • Consultant - an individual, partnership or corporation engaged to provide professional independent and expert advice or services.
  • Content Syndication - a business.gov.au service allowing partner sites to publish a complete range of government news and information for businesses on their own website.
  • Contingency - a planned response to a future circumstance.
  • Contingency plan - a plan or series of actions to carry out when an unlikely event occurs.
  • Contract - a legally enforceable agreement made between two or more parties. A contract may be a verbal contract or a written contract, or may be partly verbal or partly written.
  • Contractor - someone who contracts to provide supplies or perform work at a certain price or rate.
  • Collateral - see Security.
  • Commercial bill - (also known as a bill of exchange) is a form of commercial loan that can be offered on an interest only basis, or reducing basis. Commercial bills typically require some sort of security and suit short-term funding needs such as inventory.
  • Contingent liability - a liability that only needs to be paid if a particular event or circumstance occurs.
  • Cookie - a coded file sent to a web server to record visits. Used to identify users and customise information based on previous visits.
  • Copyright - a law that protects original works of art, literature, music, films, sound recording, broadcasts and computer programs from copying and certain other uses.
  • Corporations Law - the legal regulation of companies, securities and futures industries in Australia.
  • Cost of goods sold - the total direct costs of producing a good or delivering a service.
  • Credit - a lending term used when a customer purchases a good or service with an agreement to pay at a later date eg. an account with a supplier, a store credit card or a bank credit card.
  • Creditor - a person or business that allows you to purchase a good or service with an agreement to pay at a later date. A creditor is also anyone who you owe money to, such as a lender or supplier.
  • Credit limit - a dollar amount that cannot be exceeded on a credit card or the maximum lending amount offered for a loan.
  • Credit rating - a ranking applied to a person or business based on their credit history that represents their ability to repay a debt
  • Credit history - a report detailing an individual's or business' past credit arrangements. A credit history is often sought by a lender when assessing a loan application.
  • Crowd funding Is a way of financing your business idea through donations of money from the public. This is usually done online, through a crowd funding website.
  • Current asset - an asset in cash or that can be converted into cash within the next 12 months.
  • Current liability - a liability that is due for payment in the next 12 months.

D

  • Debt - any amount that is owed including bills, loan repayments and income tax.
  • Debtor - a person or business that owes you money.
  • Debt consolidation - the process of combining several loans or other debts into one for the purposes of obtaining a lower interest rate or reducing fees.
  • Debt finance - money provided by an external lender, such as a bank or building society.
  • Debtor - a person or business that owes you money.
  • Debtors finance - See Factoring.
  • Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) - a legally endorsed entity that is entitled to receive income tax deductible gifts.
  • Demographics - the characteristics of a segment of the population eg. customers.
  • Depreciation - the process of expensing an asset over a period of time. An asset is depreciated to spread the cost of the asset over its useful life.
  • Default - a failure to pay a loan or other debt obligation.
  • Digital signature - an electronic signature used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or the signer of an electronic document.
  • Digital Signature Certificate - an electronic 'credit card' that establishes credentials when doing business or other transactions on the internet.
  • Disbursements - money that is paid out by a business.
  • Discount - a reduction applied to a full priced good or service. See also Markdown.
  • Domain name - identifies an organisation's address on the internet, either a website address (the domain name follows the 'www') or an email address (the domain name follows the '@' symbol in the email address).
  • Download - transfer of data from a server to your computer's hard drive.
  • Double-entry bookkeeping - is a bookkeeping method that records each transaction in two accounts, both as a debit and a credit.
  • Drawings - personal expenses paid for from a business account.

E

  • E-business - business conducted over the internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners.
  • E-commerce - the buying and selling of goods and services on the internet.
  • Emergency management – a range of tools, processes and procedures coordinated to help manage risks to a business.
  • E-marketplace - an electronic marketplace (e-marketplace) allows buyers and sellers to carry out transactions via the internet.
  • E-procurement - the business-to-business purchase and sale of supplies and services over the internet.
  • Eco-efficiency - producing goods and services with less energy and fewer raw materials, resulting in less waste, pollution and cost.
  • EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) - exchange between businesses of computer-readable data in a standard format.
  • Employee share schemes: An employee share scheme External Site (ESS) is where you give your employees the opportunity to buy shares in your company. It is also known as an 'employee share purchase plan' or an 'employee equity scheme'.
  • Encryption - the coding or scrambling of information in a file so that it can only be decoded and read by someone who has the correct decoding key.
  • Encumbered - an encumbered asset is one that is currently being used as security or collateral for a loan.
  • Entrepreneur: Generally, this term is used to describe a person who starts and grows a unique or innovative business operation.
  • Environment management - managing your impact on the environment, and to what extent.
  • Environmental Management System (EMS) - a business system implemented to manage current and future environmental impact. An EMS integrates environmental management into a business' daily operations, long term planning and other quality management systems.
  • Equity - the value of ownership interest in the business, calculated by deducting liabilities from assets. See also owner's equity.
  • Equity finance - is money provided to a business in exchange for part ownership of the business. This can be money invested by the business owners, friends, family, or investors like business angels and venture capitalists.
  • Excise duty - an indirect tax levied on certain types of goods produced or manufactured in Australia including petrol, alcohol, tobacco and coal.

F

  • Facility - a predetermined arrangement such as an account offered by a financial institution to a business (e.g. a bank account, a short-term loan or overdraft).
  • Factoring - (also known as debtors finance and accounts receivable finance) — is when a factor company buys a business' outstanding invoices at a discount. The factor company then chases up the debtors. Factoring is a way to get quick access to cash, but can be quite expensive compared to traditional financing options.
  • FAQ - frequently asked questions.
  • Finance - money used to fund a business or high value purchase.
  • Financial year - a twelve month period typically from 1 July to 30 June.
  • Financial statement - a summary of a business' financial position for a given period. Financial statements can include a profit & loss, balance sheet and cash flow statement.
  • Firewall - internet security to protect a LAN (Local Area Network) against hackers.
  • Fixed asset - a physical asset used in the running of a business.
  • Fixed cost - a cost that cannot be directly attributed to the production of a good or service.
  • Fixed interest rate - when the interest rate of a loan remains the same for the term of the loan or an agreed timeframe.
  • Float - is when a private company offers shares in the company to the public for the first time. See Initial public offering.
  • Forecast - a prediction of future financial transactions. Forecasts are often used to help plan a more accurate budget.
  • Fringe benefits - non-monetary benefits such as company cars and mobile phones, included as part of a salary package.
  • Fully drawn advance - is a long term loan with the option to fix the interest rate for a period. These loans are usually secured and can be used to fund a new business or equipment.
  • Firewall - internet security to protect a LAN (Local Area Network) against hackers.
  • Fixed asset - a physical asset used in the running of a business.
  • Fixed cost - a cost that cannot be directly attributed to the production of a good or service.
  • Franchise - a business model where a franchisee purchases the right to trade in goods or services, within the terms of a franchise agreement.
  • Franchise agreement - a legal contract setting out the operational terms and conditions of a franchise business. This usually covers franchisor and franchisee responsibilities, lease agreements, intellectual property, marketing and payments.
  • Franchisee - a person or business that legally purchases the right to operate a franchise outlet.
  • Franchisor - a person or business that owns a franchise and agrees to sell the rights, within the terms of a franchise agreement.
  • Free Trade Agreement (FTA) - an agreement between two or more countries to improve the flow of goods and services between borders, and eliminate or significantly reduce tariffs and trade barriers.
  • Freedom of Information (FOI) - the principle that the community should have access to information in the possession of the government and big business, in order to be better informed about their operations and practices.
  • Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) - a tax paid by employers on behalf of their employees, on non-salary benefits including company cars and mobile phones.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - a method for transferring files over the internet.
  • Fuel tax credits - credits provided to businesses for the fuel tax (excise or Customs duty) that's included in the price of fuel used for business activities, machinery, plant, equipment and heavy vehicles.

G

  • Gateway - either hardware or software that acts as a bridge between two applications or networks so that data can be transferred between a number of computers.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST) - a broad-based tax of 10 per cent on the sale of most goods and services in Australia.
  • Goodwill - an intangible asset that represents the value of a business' reputation.
  • Gross income - the total money earned by a business before expenses are deducted.
  • Gross profit - (also known as net sales) the difference between sales and the direct cost of making the
  • sales.
  • Guarantor - a person who promises to pay a loan in the event the borrower cannot meet the repayments. The guarantor is legally responsible for the debt.

H

  • Hacker - a person who uses their computer and internet knowledge to obtain unauthorised access to other peoples' or organisations' computer networks, systems and websites.
  • High-end - expensive or high quality products or services.
  • Hire-purchase - a type of finance contract where a good is purchased through an initial deposit and then rented while the good is paid off in instalments plus interest charges. Once the good is fully paid the ownership of the good transfers to the purchaser. See also Rent to buy.
  • Homepage - the opening page or entry page of a website.
  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - the language used to create and define a web page.
  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) - a method of sending web pages over the internet. These letters often appear at the start of a website address eg. http://www.business.gov.au.
  • Hyperlink - a highlighted word (or graphic) within a hypertext document (web page). When you click a hyperlink, it will take you to another place within the same page, or to another page.

I

  • Independent contractor - a person who is self-employed and hired to do work for a business, but is not an employee of that business.
  • Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) - privacy standards which regulate how Australian and ACT government agencies manage, collect, disclose and store personal information in their records.
  • Input tax credit - a credit for any Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the price paid for goods and services used in a business.
  • Insolvent - a business or company is insolvent when they cannot pay their debts as and when they fall due.
  • Instalment Activity Statement (IAS) - a form similar to the Business Activity Statement (BAS) but for businesses not registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) and for individuals who are required to pay Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments or PAYG withholding.
  • Intangible assets - non-physical assets with no fixed value, such as goodwill and intellectual property rights.
  • Interest - the cost of borrowing money on a loan or earned on an interest-bearing account.
  • Interest rate - a percentage used to calculate the cost of borrowing money or the amount you will earn. Rates vary from product to product and generally the higher the risk of the loan, the higher the interest rate. Rates may be fixed or variable.
  • Internet - A network infrastructure connecting lots of computers worldwide, allowing them to share information.
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) - An Internet service provider, usually a tele-communications company, that provides an internet service to users.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) - laws that protect the property of your mind or intellect when creating something new or original including an invention, brand name, book, film, trade secret or artistic design.
  • Inventory - an itemised list of goods or materials a business is holding on hand. Also called stock. See our Managing inventory topic.
  • IP address - the unique numerical address assigned to every computer connected to the internet.
  • ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - a digital telephone system that can provide high-speed (up to 128 Kbps) transmission of voice and data.
  • ISP (Internet Service Provider) - an organisation that allows users to dial into its computers to connect to the internet, for a fee.
  • Initial public offering (IPO) - when a company first offers shares on the stock market to sell them to the general public. Also known as floating on the stock market.
  • Inventory - an itemised list of goods or materials a business is holding for sale.
  • Investment - an asset purchased for the purpose of earning money such as shares or property.
  • Invoice - a document provided to a customer to request payment for a good/service received.
  • Invoice finance - is finance offered based on the strength of a business' accounts receivable. This form of financing is similar to factoring, except that the invoices or accounts receivables remain with the business. See also Factoring.

J

  • Javascript - a set of programming commands created by Netscape for inclusion in web pages.

K

  • Knowledge management - the collection, classification and dissemination of information about a company, its products and its processes.

L

  • LAN (Local Area Network) - a group of personal computers linked together in order to share programs and data.
  • Legal name - the name of the entity that appears on all official documents or legal papers. It may be different from the trading name.
  • Liability - a financial obligation or amount owed.
  • Licence - a legal document that grants a business or person with official permission to conduct a certain activity.
  • Line of credit - an agreement allowing a borrower the ability to withdraw money from an account up to an approved limit.
  • Liquidate - to quickly sell all the assets of a company quickly and convert them into cash.
  • Liquidation - the process of winding up an insolvent company. An appointed administrator will do this by ceasing business operations, selling assets, and paying creditors and shareholders.
  • Liquidity - how quickly assets can be converted into cash.
  • Loan - a finance agreement where a business borrows money from a lender and pays it back in instalments (plus interest) within a specified period of time.
  • Loan to value ratio (LVR) - your loan amount shown as a percentage of the market value of the property or asset that will be purchased. The ratio helps a lender work out if the loan amount can be recouped in the event a loan goes into default.

M

  • Malware/Spyware - Malicious software programs - including viruses, adware, or keyloggers - that can track your browsing history, record your personal information, or send you spam. These programs are small, hard to detect, and often installed with other free software that has been downloaded.
  • Margin - the difference between the selling price of a good or service and the profit. Margin is generally worked out as a gross margin percentage which shows the proportion of profit for each sales dollar.
  • Mark up - the amount added to the cost price of goods to help determine a selling price. It's the difference between the cost of a good or service and the selling price, but doesn't take into account what proportion of the amount is profit.
  • Market position - the position an organisation, product or service has in the market, usually in relation to its competition.
  • Margin - the difference between the selling price of a good or service and the profit. Margin is generally worked out as a gross margin percentage which shows the proportion of profit for each sales dollar. See also Mark up.
  • Margin call - when the value of a property or asset falls below a certain LVR. For higher risk loans such as margin loans, the lender will request further payment to bring the LVR back to the agreed percentage. See also Loan to value ratio (LVR).
  • Mark down - a discount applied to a product during a promotion/sale for the purposes of attracting sales or for shifting surplus/discontinued products. See also Discount.
  • Mark up - the amount added to the cost price of goods, to help determine a selling price. Essentially it is the difference between the cost of the good/service and the selling price, but it does not take into account what proportion of the amount is profit. See also Margin.
  • Maturity date - when a loan's term ends and all outstanding principal and interest payments are due.
  • Memorandum of association - a formal document (including the company name, address, objectives, and capital) that constitutes the charter of incorporation of a company.
  • Memorandum of understanding (MoU) - a formal agreement in principle between two parties.
  • META tag - a special HTML tag that contains keywords that represent web page content. These are used by search engines to build indexes.
  • Micro-business: A micro-business External Site is a business with fewer than five employees and generally includes self-employed individuals. It is also known as a micro-enterprise.
  • Milestone - a goal or objective with a target date.
  • Mission statement- a statement outlining how an organisation intends on achieving its vision.
  • Mitigation - taking steps to reduce or eliminate the impact of possible risks on a business.
  • Modem - the hardware that connects a computer to an ISP through the telephone network.
  • Multi-Use List (MUL) - a list of pre-qualified potential suppliers of nominated goods and/or services, who have satisfied the conditions for inclusion. MULs are used by Australian Government agencies to select suppliers during a tender or other procurement process.
  • Multimedia - documents or platforms that combine different kinds of data such as plain text, video, graphics or audio.

N

  • National Employment Standards (NES) - a set of minimum employee entitlements to leave, public holidays, notice of termination and redundancy pay.
  • National Privacy Principles (NPPs) - regulate how private sector organisations manage personal information. They cover the collection, use, disclosure and secure management of personal information.
  • Net assets - (also known as net worth, owner's equity or shareholder's equity) is the total assets minus total liabilities.
  • Net income - the total money earned by a business after tax and other deductions are taken out.
  • Net Profit - (also known as your bottom line) is the total gross profit minus all business expenses.
  • Network - a way of connecting computers to share data and resources with others. A Local Area Network (LAN) is a common type of network.
  • Net Worth - See Net assets.

O

  • Off-the-shelf - a complete ready-made product that can be purchased by the general public.
  • Organisation & Business Names search - a search of Australian corporate and registered business names and incorporated associations on ASIC Connect.
  • Overheads - the fixed costs associated with operating a business such as rent, marketing, utilities and administrative costs.
  • Overdraft facility - a finance arrangement where a lender allows a business to withdraw more than the balance of an account.
  • Overdrawn account - a credit account that has exceeded its credit limit or a bank account that has had more than the remaining balance withdrawn.
  • Overheads - the fixed costs associated with operating a business such as rent, marketing, utilities and administrative costs. See also Fixed costs.
  • Owner's equity - See Net assets.

P

  • Paid Parental Leave - a national scheme to provide eligible working parents with 18 weeks of Government-funded pay at the National Minimum Wage.
  • Partnership - a type of structure where two or more people start a business and can legally share profits, risks and losses according to terms set out in a partnership agreement.
  • Patent - an exclusive right granted to an owner to sell their particular device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful.
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments - a system for paying instalments towards your expected income tax liability on your business and investment income for the current income year.
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding - a legal requirement to hold back a portion of payments made to employees and other businesses, which is then paid to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • Payroll tax - a state and territory government tax on industry, calculated on the amount of wages paid.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format) - a file format for presenting documents containing any combination of text, graphics, and images, to be read by the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Permit - a legal document granting permission to carry out a planned action.
  • Personal Services Income (PSI) - income that is mainly a reward for an individual's personal effort or skills.
  • Petty cash - cash for the purposes of small miscellaneous purchases such as postage.
  • Phishing - Spam emails, designed to look like emails from an official or trusted source, that try to trick the reader into giving their personal or banking information
  • Plant and equipment - a group of fixed assets used in the operation of a business such as furniture, machinery, fit-out, vehicles, computers and tools.
  • Predatory pricing - when a business sets an unrealistically low price for the purpose of forcing a competitor to withdraw from the market.
  • Drip pricing: External Site Is when one price is presented at the beginning of an online shopping experience and gradually, incremental fees and charges are added (or 'dripped') as you progress, for example, when buying a plane ticket. Drip pricing can result in the customer paying a higher price for a service or product than they first thought. As a business owner, you are required to show fees and charges at the beginning of an online shopping process and not gradually add them in.
  • Principal - the original amount borrowed on a loan or the remainder of the original borrowed amount that is still owing (excluding the interest portion of the amount).
  • Procurement - the purchase of goods and services from outside suppliers by an organisation, for use in production, sales and distribution activities.
  • Product disclosure statement (PDS) – the terms and conditions of an insurance or other financial product.
  • Product liability – is insurance that covers a business for damage or injury caused to another business or person, through the failure of a product sold by that business.
  • Professional indemnity – is insurance that protects a business if their client suffers a loss as a direct result of their advice.
  • Profit - the total revenue a business earns minus the total expenses. See also Revenue.
  • Profit and loss statement - (also known as an income statement) is a financial statement listing sales and expenses and is used to work out the gross and net profit of a business.
  • Profit margin - see Margin.
  • Projection - see Forecast.
  • Portal - a gateway for internet users that offers a range of services such as news, search engines and links to other sites.
  • Protocol - an established method of exchanging data over the internet.
  • Portal - a gateway for internet users that offers a range of services such as news, search engines and links to other sites.
  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) - a system to provide authentication, confidentiality and non-repudiation in online transactions, based on digital certificates and signatures.
  • Public liability - insurance that protects a person against claims for property damage and bodily injury.
  • Public liability insurance – is insurance that protects a person against claims for property damage and bodily injury

Q

  • Quarantine - controls, regulations and isolation imposed on goods, animals or plants brought to or from foreign countries in order to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

R

  • RAM (Random Access Memory) - used by applications to perform necessary tasks while a computer is on.
  • Rates - property taxes charged by local government on properties in their municipal area.
  • R&D: Stands for 'Research and Development'. Businesses conduct research and development to innovate, create new products and find better ways of doing things.
  • Reasonable Benefit Limit (RBL) - the largest benefit which superannuation fund members are allowed to receive on a concessional tax basis by the government, either on a lump sum or on a pension.
  • Receipt - a document provided to a customer to confirm payment and to confirm a good/service has been received.
  • Record keeping - the process of keeping or recording information that explain certain business transactions. Record keeping is a requirement under tax law.
  • Refinance - when a new loan is taken out to pay off an existing one. Refinancing is often done to extend the original loan over a longer period of time, reduce fees or interest rates, switch banks, or move from a fixed to variable loan.
  • Registrations of Interest (ROI) - the canvassing of interested parties who might be available to conduct business or public work on behalf of the government.
  • Retail lease - a legally binding contract between a business and a landlord that sets out the terms by which a business can occupy a landlord's shop or premises.
  • Request For Quote (RFQ) - a process the government undertakes to obtain quotes for the provision of goods or services.
  • Request For Tender (RFT) - a process the government undertakes to obtain tenders for the provision of goods or services.
  • Risk management – a systematic process of making a realistic evaluation of the true level of risks to your business.
  • ROI: Stands for 'return on investment'. It's a way of thinking about the benefit (return) of the money you've invested into the business. To calculate ROI, divide the gain (net profit) of the investment by the cost of the investment - the ROI is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.
(Net profit) / (Cost) x 100 = ROI

Example

Annie buys $1000 worth of stocks and sells the stocks a year later for $1500. The net profit is $500.
Return on Investment = (500 / 1000) = 0.5 x 100 = 50%
Annie's ROI on the stocks is 50%.

S

  • Scam - a deliberate and targeted deception designed to obtain money or information from victims.
  • Security - (also known as Collateral) is property or assets that a lender can take possession of, in the event that a loan cannot be repaid.
  • Shareholder's equity - see Net assets.
  • Search engine - a computer software program which enables a user to find items on a database or the internet.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - Search engine optimisation covers ways of improving your website's search ranking online, which makes it more accessible and easy to find by users.
  • Session cookie - a cookie that exists only until you shut down your browser.
  • Small Business Fair Dismissal Code - a code of compliance small businesses must adhere to when ending employment.
  • Smartcards - credit card-sized devices containing a computer chip, to be used for a variety of payment options - credit, debit and stored-value electronic cash - as well as storage of financial and personal information.
  • SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) - The term SME is used to refer to micro-businesses, small businesses and medium sized firms. A small business has less than 20 employees, a medium business has between 20 and 199 employees and SMEs have less than 200 employees.
  • SMSF: Stands for self-managed superannuation fund External Site. An SMSF is a way of saving for your retirement. Unlike other super funds, an SMSF is self-managed, which means you're responsible for making sure the super fund complies with super and tax laws.
  • Social Media - a group of technology including blogs, online networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn) and online collaboration tools often used to expand a network/market reach on a large scale. See our Social media topic.
  • Sole trader - a type of structure where a business has no separate legal existence from its owner.
  • Spam - an unwelcome electronic mail message usually sent to a large number of recipients.
  • Spider - an automated program which searches the internet.
  • Start-up: A start up is a company that wants to grow fast. They often have a unique business idea, are trying to innovate and are interested in solving one particular problem.
  • Stamp duty - a state and territory government tax paid by a buyer on the purchase price of the property or asset. See our Stamp duty page as this tax varies across state and territories.
  • Stock - the actual goods or materials a business currently has on hand. This is often called inventory. Read our Managing inventory topic.
  • Stocktaking - a regular process involving a physical count of merchandise and supplies actually held by a business, completed to verify stock records and accounts.
  • Streaming media - a continuous broadcast of audio or video files over the internet made possible through the use of three software packages: the encoder, the server and the player.
  • Succession - when a party/parties take over from another.
  • Successor - a person/persons who take over or succeed from another.
  • Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) - a government policy requiring employers to pay a charge if they do not contribute a prescribed level and standard of contributions to complying superannuation funds.
  • Sustainability - development that takes full account of the environmental consequences of economic activity and utilises resources that can be replaced or renewed.
  • Single-entry bookkeeping - a bookkeeping method used within a cash accounting system and records one side of each transaction.
  • Superannuation - money set aside for retirement, that must be paid into a complying superannuation fund.

T

  • Tariff - a type of tax levied by the federal government on imported goods or services.
  • Tax File Number (TFN) - a number allocated to taxpayers and used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to monitor income and taxation details.
  • Tax invoice - an invoice for the supply of goods or services which must specify that it is a taxed invoice and must include an Australian Business Number (ABN). If the invoice is not in the specified format the recipient cannot claim GST Input Tax Credits.
  • Tender - a process a government agency or company follows to seek quotes for required goods or services.
  • Third party - persons who are not a party to a contract.
  • Trade mark - the registration of a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these, which gives the owner the legal right to use, licence or sell it within Australia.
  • Trading name - the name that an entity trades under, or is knows as, by its suppliers or customers. It may be different from the entity's legal name.
  • Trust - a relationship where a business is transferred to a third party who has legal control and has a duty to run that business to benefit someone else.
  • Turnover (financial) - the amount earned before expenses, tax and other deductions are removed.
  • Turnover (staff) - the rate at which staff take-up and leave a position in an organisation.

U

  • Unconscionable conduct - a business takes advantage of another in a way that offends the conscience, or acts in a way that is clearly unfair or unreasonable.
  • Unique selling position - a characteristic of a business or a product/service that sets it apart from the competition.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - the global address of a document and other resource on the world wide web.

V

  • Variable interest rate - when the interest rate of a loan changes with market conditions for the duration of the loan.
  • Variable cost - a cost that changes depending on the number of goods produced or the demand for the products/service.
  • Venture Capital - capital invested in a start-up business that is thought to have excellent growth prospects but does not have access to capital markets because it is a private company.
  • Virus - a malicious piece of computer code which make unauthorised changes to a computer, distributed via the internet or email.
  • Vision statement - an inspiring statement that expresses an organisation's main ambitions or goals.

W

  • Withholding tax - tax deducted at the source on interest, dividend and royalty payments made to non-residents, and certain investments or payments to residents where the recipient has not provided their Tax File Number to the payer.
  • World Wide Web (www) - The World Wide Web (WWW, or 'the web') is a way of accessing information using the internet. Browsers use the WWW to access web pages.
  • Worker's compensation - a payment made to an employee affected by a work related injury or illness, to compensate for the loss of earning capacity, medical and rehabilitation expenses.
  • Working capital - the cash available to a business for day-to-day expenses.
  • Worm - a virus that replicates itself on other computers.

X

  • XML (Extensible Markup Language) - a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the internet.

Y

  • Year end - the end of an accounting period, either financial year or calendar year.
  • Year To Date (YTD) - a date often displayed on financial statements based on the beginning of the financial year or calendar year to a specified date.

Z

  • ZIP - software files compressed into .ZIP format so that they take up less space.