Small Business Encyclopedia

About Encyclopedia

No matter what business topic you're interested in, you'll find our category list is an easy way to navigate our small-business encyclopedia. From Accounting and Advertising to Location and Operations, every topic offers information on the terms that matter most. And if you can't find what you need here, our "Terms A - Z" list makes tracking down terms a snap.

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Terms starting with: a

Absenteeism

Definition: An employee's deliberate or habitual absence from work

Accountant

Definition: A person whose work it is to inspect, keep or adjust accounts

Accounting

Definition: A business's bookkeeping system that tracks the money coming in vs. the money going out

Accounts Payable

Definition: A company's outstanding debts, or liabilities, to vendors for purchases of goods and services made on credit

Accounts Receivable

Definition: The money due from all customers for merchandise or services delivered on credit. The total figure would be shown on the balance sheet as an asset

Accrual Accounting

Definition: Accounting method that records revenues and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when cash is exchanged. The term "accrual" refers to any individual entry recording revenue or expense in the absence of a cash transaction

Acquisition

Definition: The purchase of one corporation by another, through either the purchase of its shares, or the purchase of its assets

Advertising

Definition: To call the public's attention to your business, usually for the purpose of selling products or services, through the use of various forms of media, such as print or broadcast notices

Advisory Boards

Definition: A group of individuals who've been selected to help advise a business owner regarding any number of business issues, including marketing, sales, financing, expansion and so on; a body that advises the board of directors and management of a corporation but does not have authority to vote on corporate matters

Affiliate Marketing

Definition: A way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies ("affiliates") who market the company's products for a commission

Alliances

Definition: Joining forces with another company or individual to combine talents or strengths in order to attract more business

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

Definition: A separate tax system designed to keep high-earning corporations and individuals from reducing their taxes to a level that the federal government considers too low

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Definition: A federal law enacted in 1990 that makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to refuse to hire qualified people with disabilities if making "reasonable accommodations" would enable the person to carry out the duties of the job

Angel Investor

Definition: An individual who invests his or her own money in an entrepreneurial company

Arbitration

Definition: A formal dispute resolution process that's legally binding on the parties

Assets

Definition: The value of any tangible property and property rights owned by a company less any reserves set aside for depreciation. Assets don't reflect any appreciation in value unless they're sold for the greater value.

Attorney

Definition: A person who's been formally trained in the law, especially one whose profession is advising others in matters of law or representing them in lawsuits

Auto Insurance

Definition: A contract for an automobile in which one party agrees to pay for another party's financial loss resulting from a specified event (for example, a collision, theft or storm damage)

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