Assembly Line Methods

An assembly line is a line of factory workers and equipment that produce a product as it moves consecutively from station to station on the line until completed. Assembly line methods have become considerably more sophisticated since the first moving assembly lines were introduced in the automobile industry in the early part of the 20th century.

Assessment Centers

Assessment centers are used in many different types of organizations to evaluate personnel. Assessment centers may be established for a variety of human resources applications, from recruiting and hiring to determining training needs in the organization.

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. The organization, headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia, promotes economic cooperation among its member states.


The American Accounting Association defines auditing as a systematic process of objectively obtaining and evaluating the accounts or financial records of a governmental, business, or other entity based on established criteria. While auditing focuses largely on financial information, the process also may involve examination of nonfinancial documents that reveal information about a business's conduct.

Australia, Doing Business in

With its 18 million people, Australia (derived from the Latin word australis, or southern) is an integral part of the Asian Pacific region, and shares in the region's economic growth, which is the fastest in the world. Besides being a continent in its own right and about the size of the continental United States, Australia also controls the offshore island of Tasmania, which constitutes a separate state.

Automated Office Security

Automated office security devices protect office resources from hazards such as crime and accidents. These security systems are often developed and implemented following a risk assessment, which determines what internal and external factors pose the greatest threat and proposes means to reduce this threat.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

Automated teller machines (ATMs) are mechanical devices that can provide a variety of routine banking services without the aid of a human teller. While the specific services that ATMs can provide are determined by the institutions that own them and any applicable legal restrictions, ATMs typically allow customers to withdraw cash from their checking or savings accounts and to deposit cash or checks into those same accounts.

Automatic Identification Systems

Automatic identification systems are a broad class of devices that are used primarily in commercial settings for security authorization and inventory/logistics control. Although different devices may employ radically different technologies, they are united in the common purpose of collecting and tracking data about people or objects.


Automation refers to the use of computers and other automated machinery for the execution of tasks that a human laborer would otherwise perform. Companies automate for many reasons.

Balance of Trade

The balance of trade of a nation is the difference between values of its exports and imports. When exports are greater than imports, the nation is said to have a balance of trade surplus.

Balance Sheet

In accounting, a balance sheet is a type of financial statement that provides a synopsis of a business entity's financial position at a specific time, including a company's economic resources (assets), economic obligations (liabilities), and the value of a company after its liabilities are subtracted from its assets (owners' equity). The term "balance sheet" refers to the way assets always equal (or balance) liabilities plus owners' equity.

Balanced Scorecard

The balanced scorecard is a performance measurement tool developed in 1992 by Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Kaplan and management consultant David P.

Banana Republic

"Banana republic" is a derogatory term for countries under the economic control of foreign-owned companies or industries. The term originated in the late 1800s when American fruit companies controlled the economic, political, and social development of many ostensibly sovereign Central American nations.

Banking Act of 1933

The Banking Act of 1933, or the Glass-Steagall Act, was passed by Congress in June of that year in the face of vociferous opposition from the American banking community. More than six decades later, aspects of the act are still unpopular in banking and brokerage circles.

Banks and Banking

A bank is an institution that provides financial services to consumers, businesses, and governments. One major type of bank is the commercial bank, which has fewer restrictions on its services than other types of banks.

Bar Coding

Bar coding is an automatic identification technology that allows data to be collected rapidly and accurately with minimal human effort. Because of these attributes, bar coding has been used for a wide range of applications in almost every aspect of business.


Bartering is the exchange of goods and services without the use of currency. Although bartering has been used in commercial and private transactions since ancient times, its appeal notably increased in the waning years of the 20th century.


Benchmarking is a business strategy that is used primarily by manufacturers, although it is applicable to other business activities as well. While it may involve learning from one's competitors, benchmarking is more focused and narrowly defined than competitive analysis.

Benelux Economic Union (BEU)

The Benelux Economic Union (BEU) was established in principle in 1944 by the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Union did not become fully effective until 1958, however.

Berne Convention

The Berne Convention, formally known as the International Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, is an international copyright agreement signed in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886. Since then, the agreement has been updated and revised numerous times and has responded to technological advances.

Better Business Bureau

Popularly known as consumer advocates, Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) are private, nonprofit membership organizations that attempt to resolve consumer complaints with businesses. They also publish consumer protection warnings and histories of unresolved complaints against companies.

Black Market (Trading)

Sometimes collectively known as the black economy or the underground economy, goods and services are traded on the black market to evade any number of legal requirements. The black market includes informal and otherwise legal transactions that aren't reported to tax agencies, such as personal services that are paid for in cash to circumvent reporting taxable income to the government, as well as inherently criminal transactions, such as the sale of illegal drugs or copyright and trademark infringements.

Board of Directors

A board of directors is the governing body for many types of not-for-profit as well as profit-making organizations. Most not-for-profits have either a membership or owners that are too diffuse to effectively govern as a group.


Bonds are debt instruments issued by corporations and a variety of government entities to raise money to purchase assets and finance deficits. In effect the bond issuer borrows money from the bond purchaser and agrees to pay interest at an established rate over a fixed period.


Bookkeeping is that aspect of accounting that is concerned with the mechanics of keeping accounts, ledgers, and journals, including posting entries and taking trial balances. Bookkeeping provides the necessary support for such accounting matters as the preparation of financial statements, cost reports, and tax returns.


Boycotts are organized, nonviolent efforts to disrupt or cease business transactions with a particular company or group of companies in order to bring about some change of policy or practice. They may be targeted at individual products, entire companies, or political entities, and often signify a social or political cause, such as environmental or civil rights activism.

Brands and Brand Names

Brands are often some of the most valuable assets a company possesses. A brand is a unique marketing identity created for a product, product line, company, or even industry.

Brazil, Doing Business in

Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America and the ninth largest economy in the world. Brazil has a gross national product (GNP) of roughly US$ 800 billion with a purchasing power parity of $ 1.04 trillion and a real growth rate around 3 percent annually.