Classification of someone as employed or self-employed depends on several factors, including degree of independence, the freedom to hire others to do the work taken on, the freedom to work for others, and the assumption of risks. Courts have held that the individual does not necessarily have to provide the equipment to do the job, as in the case of independent television and film mixers working on equipment owned by client production companies.

Service Industries

Definitions of which activities constitute the service sector vary somewhat, but by all definitions services are a massive and growing segment of the U.S. economy.

Service Marks

Service marks are a special type of trademark designating a service instead of a product. In practice, the terms "service mark" and "trademark" are often used interchangeably; the terms "trademark" and simply "mark" may also be used to indicate both product and service marks.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a term used to describe a variety of illegal, discriminatory actions—from unwelcome sexual advances to verbal conduct of a sexual nature—that create a hostile or abusive work environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as follows: "Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment.

Simple Interest

Interest can be an expense or a revenue. Interest expense is the cost of borrowed money.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)

A simplified employee pension (SEP), also known as an SEP-IRA (individual retirement account), can be defined as a pension plan for small business owners and their employees and the self-employed. Created by Congress and monitored carefully by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), SEPs are designed to give small business owners and employees the same ability to set aside money for retirement as traditional large corporate pension funds.

Sinking Fund

To raise funds for expansion, product development, research, and other purposes, companies some times borrow money by issuing bonds, which are long-term promissory notes issued by companies to investors. Bond agreements or indentures generally require corporations to make regular interest payments—often semiannually—during the term of the bond.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Administration (SBA) was established with the passage of the Small Business Act of 1953. The SBA succeeded the small business loan program of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Small Businesses

Small businesses and entrepreneurs form the backbone of the American economy. Without one, there would not be the other.

Socialism and Communism

While once used interchangeably, socialism and communism now have discrete meanings and each term is open to various interpretations. Nevertheless, communism generally refers to the theories and ideas stemming from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and their successors.


Software is the collective term for computer programs, which are instructions in code telling a computer what to do in response to specific user inputs. Software is part of a functioning computer system, which also consists of hardware, the actual computer machinery and equipment.

Sogo Shosha

A sogo shosha is a form of industrial organization and a kind of vertically integrated trading company that originated in Japan and for the most part has remained unique to Japan. At the center of these organizations is a trading company that arranges financing, coordinates activities, and handles marketing functions for the companies in its group of companies.

Spectral Analysis

Spectral analysis is an advanced mathematical technique for studying phenomena that occur in cycles. As used in business and economics, it is concerned with forecasting outcomes based on time-series data, such as quarterly sales, exchange rates, stock prices, or growth in the gross domestic product.


Speculation is when a person or firm takes a long (ownership) or short (sell something without previous ownership) position in an investment. The person or firm is then called a speculator.


Spin-offs occur when a parent corporation distributes all or most of its holdings of stock in a subsidiary to the parent's shareholders based on the proportion to their holdings in the parent company, i.e. on a pro rata basis.


A spreadsheet, at its most basic level, is essentially a matrix of rows and columns, used to record amounts and perform calculations. Spreadsheet rows and columns are composed of individual cells where users enter data.

Stakeholder Theory

Stakeholder theory has been articulated in a number of ways, but in each of these ways stakeholders represent a broader constituency for corporate responsibility than stockholders. Discussions of stakeholder theory invariably present contrasting views of whether a corporation's responsibility is primarily (or only) to deliver profits to the stockholders/owners.

Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC)

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system is a hierarchical coding structure developed by the U.S. government and used widely in govemment and private-sector data.


Standardization refers to the creation and use of guidelines for the production of uniform, interchangeable components, especially for use in mass production. It also refers to the establishment and adoption of guidelines for conduct.

Statistical Analysis for Management

Statistical analysis provides a framework for organizing data, analyzing data, and examining business problems in a logical and systematic way. With the tremendous strides in computer technology that have taken place, businesses have greater access to and more data than ever before.

Statistical Office of the European Community

The Statistical Office of the European Community, also known as Eurostat, is a Directorate-General of the Commission of the European Communities, which in turn is an institution of the European Union. The European Union is an economic, political, social, and monetary union of 15 western European nations.

Statistical Process Control

Traditional quality control is designed to prevent the production of products that do not meet certain acceptance criteria. This could be accomplished by performing inspection on products that, in many cases, have already been produced.

Stochastic Processes

In probability theory, random phenomena that result from processes governed by probabilistic laws (such as the growth of a bacterial colony or the fluctuation of electric current in a circuit) are stochastic processes, according to Emanuel Parzen in Stochastic Processes. From a mathematical perspective, stochastic processes are collections of random variables and they involve events or phenomena with random outcomes.

Stock Index Futures

A contract for stock index futures is based on the level of a particular stock index such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The agreement calls for the contract to be bought or sold at a designated time in the future.

Stock Market

In financial terms the word "market" has a meaning that is conceptual: a market is the interaction of offers to buy ("bids") and offers to sell ("asks"). Physical location is a detail, and the market may not have a single location—buyers and sellers may never meet face to face.


An entrepreneur with a good idea can do nothing without capital to act on that idea. As a start, the entrepreneur can use personal resources to form a sole proprietorship.

Strategic Alliances

A strategic alliance is a business arrangement in which two or more firms cooperate for their mutual benefit. Firms may combine their efforts for a variety of purposes including, but not limited to, sharing knowledge, expertise, and expenses as well as to gain entry to new markets or to gain a competitive advantage in one.

Strategic Pay/New Pay

The terms "strategic pay" and "new pay" became established through book titles—Edward Lawler's Strategic Pay in 1990, and J. R.