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 functions as the preparation of financial statements, cost reports, and tax returns.


The term "boundaryless" has come to describe the business organization of today and the future as well as its employees. A boundaryless organization is the opposite of a bureaucracy with numerous barriers and divisions.


Brainstorming is a group problem-solving technique that is intended to help members develop innovative new approaches to a problem in an unthreatening environment. First developed by A.F.

Brand Equity

Brand equity refers to the intangible value that accrues to a company as a result of its successful efforts to establish a strong brand. A brand is a name, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes the company's goods or services in the marketplace.

Brands and Brand Names

A brand is a name, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes a seller's goods or services in the marketplace. More than 500,000 brands are registered globally with pertinent regulatory bodies in different countries.

Break-Even Analysis

Break-even analysis is used in cost accounting and capital budgeting to evaluate projects or product lines in terms of their volume and profitability relationship. At its simplest, the tool is used as its name suggests: to determine the volume at which a company's costs will exactly equal its revenues, therefore resulting in net income of zero, or the "break-even" point.

Budget Deficit

A budget deficit is the amount by which an individual, business, or government's income falls short of the expectations set forth in its budget over a given time period. In most cases, those who experience a budget deficit must borrow funds to make up the difference between projected and actual income and expenses.

Budget Surplus

When the actual amount of cash a business receives is greater than the amount that it had planned to receive in the budgeting process, the business is said to have a cash surplus. An unplanned surplus is a very favorable situation for a business or any other entity, particularly if the budget was accurately and thoughtfully prepared.

Budgets and Budgeting

A budget is a comprehensive, formal plan that estimates the probable expenditures and income for an organization over a specific period. Budgeting describes the overall process of preparing and using a budget.

Business Appraisers

Appraisers are agents who establish the value of businesses, personal property, intellectual property (such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights), and real estate through a process known as valuation or appraisal. The demand for valuation of business enterprises has increased in the last several years in many industry sectors for a variety of reasons, including the rise in corporate restructuring, rising incidences of litigation (such as divorce, in which value and possession of closely held businesses may be hotly contested), changing employee-compensation packages, continued purchases of existing businesses, and the proliferation of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), which require annual appraisals of value.

Business Associations

Business associations are membership organizations engaged in promoting the business interests of their members. These associations typically perform activities that would be unduly costly or time-consuming for an individual company to perform by itself, including lobbying, information gathering, research, and setting industry standards.

Business Brokers

Business brokers act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers of a business. They may represent either party in the transaction, and do not take possession of goods or property, or deal on their own account.

Business Cycles

A business cycle is a sequence of economic activity in a nation's economy that is typically characterized by four phases—recession, recovery, growth, and decline—that repeat themselves over time. Economists note, however, that complete business cycles vary in length.

Business Education

Business education is a term that encompasses a number of methods used to teach students the fundamentals of business practices. These methods range from formal educational degree programs, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA), to school-to-work opportunity systems or cooperative education.

Business Ethics

Most people involved in business—whether functioning as a small business owner, employee, or chief executive officer of a multinational company—eventually face ethical or moral dilemmas in the workplace. Such dilemmas are usually complex, for they force the person making the decision to weigh the benefits that various business decisions impart on individuals (including him or herself) and groups with the negative repercussions that those same decisions usually have on other individuals or groups.

Business Expansion

All successful small business startups eventually face the issue of handling business expansion or growth. Business expansion is a stage of a company's life that is fraught with both opportunities and perils.

Business Failure and Dissolution

Business failure is defined as the closing of a business that results in financial loss for at least one of the business's creditors. An associated term, business dissolution, refers to the formal termination or closure of a business as well, but with dissolution, financial loss (for the business owners or for the business's creditors) is not necessarily a part of the equation.

Business Hours

The term "business hours" refers to the "open" and "closed" schedule that every business decides upon for its operations. Small and large businesses adhere to a wide range of business hours, depending on many factors, including target customer expectations and demands, technology, and seasonal fluctuations in business.

Business Incubators

Business incubators are business assistance programs that provide entrepreneurs with an inexpensive start-up environment and a range of administrative, consulting, and networking services. In essence these programs—which may be managed by economic development agencies, local governments, for-profit businesses, or colleges and universities—serve as homes for new companies.

Business Information Sources

Business information encompasses a broad spectrum of sources that people involved in the world of commerce can turn to for data on and discussion of business-related subjects. These sources, which can range from daily newspapers and nationally distributed financial magazines to professional associates, colleagues, and social contacts, can be invaluable in helping small business owners to tackle various aspects of operations, such as marketing, product forecasting, and competitive analysis.

Business Insurance

Business insurance is a risk management tool that enables businesses to transfer the risk of a loss to an insurance company. By paying a relatively small premium to the insurance company, the business can protect itself against the possibility of sustaining a much larger financial loss.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance (also known as business income protection, profit protection, or outof-business coverage) is a type of policy that provides a company with funds to make up the difference between its normal income and its income during a forced shutdown. Businesses can be forced to cease or limit operations due to an accident or injury that causes the disability of an owner or key employee, a legal liability claim, or a property loss—which might result from a fire, natural disaster, theft, or vandalism.

Business Literature

The term "business literature" encompasses the broad range of written materials that companies use to market their goods and services. Examples of business literature include publications as disparate as product catalogs, service brochures, and corporate newsletters.

Business Name

A business name is any name, other than that of the owner, under which a company conducts business. One of the first decisions entrepreneurs must make when starting a new business involves coming up with an appropriate and marketable business name.

Business Plan

A company's business plan is one of its most important documents. It can be used by managers and executives for internal planning.

Business Planning

Business planning, also known as strategic planning or long-range planning, is a management-directed process that is intended to determine a desired future state for a business entity and to define overall strategies for accomplishing the desired state. Through planning, management decides what objectives to pursue during a future period, and what actions to undertake to achieve those objectives.

Business Proposals

Business proposals are documents that attempt to persuade targeted clients to buy a particular service or product. These documents, which are used in academia and government as well as business and industry, may range from relatively short (a few pages) proposals to "formal" documents of 50 or more pages.

Business Travel

Business travel is a significant expense for companies of all shapes and sizes. Indeed, business observers cite travel costs as one of the largest expenditure areas for many companies, along with payroll, data processing, and a few others.

Business-to-Business Marketing

Business-to-business marketing (often referred to as B2B) is the development and marketing of services and products to business, governmental, and institutional markets at the local, national, or international level, rather than private retail consumers. The vehicles of business-to-business marketing are fundamentally the same as those that are used to reach the consumer market.

Buying an Existing Business

The decision to buy a business is an extremely important one, for such an acquisition almost inevitably brings significant changes in the buyer's financial situation and personal life. Such purchases, then, should not be made before first thoroughly investigating all aspects of the business under consideration and the impact that ownership of that enterprise would likely have on the buyer's personal and professional life.

C Corporation

When a small business incorporates, it is automatically a C corporation, also called a regular corporation. The most basic characteristic of the corporation is that it is legally viewed as an individual entity, separate from its owners, who are now shareholders.


Cannibalization is a phenomenon that results when a firm develops a new product or service that steals business or market share from one or more of its existing products and services. Thus one product may take sales from another offering in a product line.


Capital, in the most basic terms, is money. All businesses must have capital in order to purchase assets and maintain their operations.

Capital Gain/Loss

A capital gain or loss results from the sale, trade, or exchange of a capital asset. Simply stated, when the resulting transaction nets an amount lower than the original purchase value, or basis, of the capital asset, a capital loss occurs.

Capital Structure

Capital structure is a business finance term that describes the proportion of a company's capital, or operating money, that is obtained through debt and equity. Debt includes loans and other types of credit that must be repaid in the future, usually with interest.

Career and Family

Over the past several decades, American society has undergone significant changes in its attitudes toward balancing work and family life. These attitudes have been influenced by changing demographics; a dramatic increase in the percentage of women who choose to work in non-household related areas; rising costs in the realm of housing, transportation, clothing, and food; changing societal and personal priorities; and a host of other factors.

Career Planning and Changing

A change in career, whether initiated voluntarily or involuntarily, can be a time of significant anxiety. Even if one is excited about future career plans, a certain degree of apprehension is perfectly natural.

Cash Conversion Cycle

The cash conversion cycle (CCC) is a key measurement of small business liquidity. The cycle is in essence the length of time between cash payment for purchase of resalable goods and the collections of accounts receivable from the sale of such goods to customers; as such, it focuses on the length of time that funds are tied up in the cycle.

Cash Flow Statement

A cash flow statement is a financial report that describes the source of a company's cash and how it was spent over a specified time period. Because of the varied accrual accounting methods companies may employ, it is possible for a company to show profits while not having enough cash to sustain operations.

Cash Management

Cash management is a broad term that refers to the collection, concentration, and disbursement of cash. It encompasses a company's level of liquidity, its management of cash balance, and its short-term investment strategies.

Casual Business Attire

Casual business attire—also known as the "business casual" style of dress—revolutionized the American office environment in the 1990s. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 95 percent of U.S.

Census Data

Census data are numerical facts collected by the government on a regular basis relating to population, geographic trends, and the economy. Census data are used in a multitude of different ways.

Certified Lenders

Certified lenders are banking institutions that qualify for inclusion in a streamlined lending program maintained by the Small Business Administration. Certified lenders are also institutions that have been heavily involved in regular SBA loan-guaranty processing and have met other criteria stipulated by the SBA.

Certified Public Accountants

Certified public accountants (CPAs) provide a broad range of financial services to small businesses. These services include preparation of financial statements and tax returns, providing advice on various aspects of business (operations, management, etc.), and assisting in the development and installation of effective accounting systems.

Chambers of Commerce

A chamber of commerce is a voluntary association whose membership is comprised of companies, civic leaders, and individual business people. Its members seek to promote the interests of business, typically in a broad-based way.

Charitable Giving

Many small business owners engage in charitable giving, either as private individuals or in their corporate capacity. This charitable giving can take many forms, including sponsorship of local charitable events, donations of excess inventory, and sustained philanthropy in one or more areas through the establishment of a formal foundation or council.

Child Care

Child care has emerged as an important issue for both employers and employees in recent decades. Indeed, a mid-1990s U.S.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a U.S. federal law designed to limit the collection and use of personal information about children by the operators of Internet services and Web sites.

Choosing a Small Business

The individual who decides to establish his or her own small business stands on the cusp of an exciting and potentially rewarding period of life. But he or she also faces a number of decisions that will likely have a considerable impact not only on the ultimate success of the entrepreneurial venture, but also the very character of the individual's life.

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act of 1970 is a U.S. federal law intended to reduce air pollution and protect air quality.

Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act is a U.S. federal law that regulates the discharge of pollutants into the nation's surface waters, including lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and coastal areas.

Closely Held Corporations

Closely held firms are those in which a small group of shareholders control the operating and managerial policies of the firm. Over 90 percent of all businesses in the United States are closely held.


Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies or institutions that manufacture products or deliver services to a particular field or industry. Clusters typically include companies in the same industry or technology area that share infrastructure, suppliers, and distribution networks.


Collateral is an item that is pledged to guarantee repayment of a loan. Collateral items are generally of significant value—property and equipment are often used as collateral, for example—but the range varies considerably, depending on the lending institution and variables in the borrower's situation.

Collegiate Entrepreneurial Organizations

Collegiate entrepreneurial organizations (CEOs) are comprised of students, primarily from graduate business schools, who form groups for the purpose of educating members on small business matters, such as running a start-up and obtaining financing. They hold meetings, sponsor speakers and educational events, and serve as a storehouse of information on entrepreneurial matters.

Communication Systems

Communication systems are the various processes, both formal and informal, by which information is passed between the managers and employees within a business, or between the business itself and outsiders. Communication—whether written, verbal, nonverbal, visual, or electronic—has a significant impact on the way business is conducted.

Community Development Corporations

Community development corporations (CDCs) are locally based organizations that work to help the residents of impoverished areas to improve their quality of life. Such organizations exist in virtually all major urban areas of the United States today.

Community Relations

A comprehensive, ongoing community relations program can help virtually any organization achieve visibility as a good community citizen. Organizations are recognized as good community citizens when they support programs that improve the quality of life in their community, including crime prevention, employment, environmental programs, clean-up and beautification, recycling, and restoration.

Comp Time

Comp Time, or Compensatory Time, is an alternate way of rewarding overtime work. Instead of paying an hourly employee time-and-a-half for work done over the time allotted in the normal work week, employers would allow an hour and a half of time off for each hour of overtime worked.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis is the practice of analyzing the competitive environment in which your business operates (or wishes to operate), including strengths and weaknesses of the businesses with which you compete, strengths and weaknesses of your own company, demographics and desires of marketplace customers, strategies that can improve your position in the marketplace, impediments that prevent you from entering new markets, and barriers that you can erect to prevent others from eroding your own place in the market.