Value-Added Tax (VAT)

A value-added tax (VAT) is a tax levied on the value added to goods or services produced by businesses. Such a tax is collected in stages from each business that contributes to the final market value of goods and services.

Variable Annuity

Annuities are typically contracts sold by companies whereby the buyer agrees to make payments over a specified period. For example, $100 paid each year for three years is a three-year annuity.

Venture Capital

The term "venture capital" (VC) usually refers to third-party private equity capital for new and emerging enterprises. Companies that specialize in providing this funding are known as venture capital firms or simply venture capitalists.

Virtual Reality Computer Simulation

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated three-dimensional environment that generally provides real-time interactivity for the user. Within this broad construct are many different forms of VR simulations, some quite simple and others extremely sophisticated.

Vocational Education

Vocational education is the training and retraining of individuals for particular crafts or trades, including training for mechanical and technical careers. This instruction can take place at the secondary or postsecondary level, or as part of on-the-job training and retraining programs.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation refers to any programs that seek to restore disabled individuals to their optimal physical, mental, social, vocational, and economic ability. In a legal sense, vocational rehabilitation is a workers' compensation benefit in some states, which involves programs designed to help workers who have become physically or mentally disabled and who can no longer hold the same jobs they had prior to their disabilities.

Warranties and Guarantees

A warranty or guarantee is given to the purchaser by a product manufacturer or provider of a service with the understanding that the manufacturer or provider will replace or repair a defective product or make good an ineffective service within a predetermined span of time. Popularized by national retailers and automobile manufacturers over the last few decades, written or implied warranties have become virtually standard and necessary to secure the trust of consumers.

Warrants (Securities)

Warrants are options to purchase a fixed number of shares for a fixed price, known as the warrant-conversion price. Warrants typically have an expiration date, although some are issued in perpetuity.


The concept of wealth refers to the value of the total quantity of goods or assets in existence at a particular time. Private wealth, or the wealth of an individual, consists of the value of things owned, including money and other claims against goods and services such as stocks and bonds.

White Collar Crime

The term white collar crime was first used in 1939 during an address delivered by Professor Edwin Sutherland of Indiana University to the American Sociological Society. Sutherland sought to expand the definition of crime beyond the generally held belief that crime was an activity, often violent, perpetrated by members of the socio-economic under class.


Wholesaling, also known as distributing, is an intermediate stage between the origin of a good or service and its ultimate distribution to an end user through retail trade channels. Despite the emergence of so-called wholesale clubs aimed at the consumer market, wholesale trade typically involves business-to-business transactions.

Wide Area Networks (WANs)

A wide area network (WAN) is a telecommunications network, usually used for connecting computers, which spans a wide geographical area, such as between different cities, states, or even countries. WANs typically are used by corporations or organizations to facilitate the exchange of data between their computers in dispersed offices.

Women Entrepreneurs

According to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, the number of businesses owned by women jumped 78 percent from 1988 to 1998. By the year 2000, reports estimate over one-half of all small businesses will be owned by women.

Women in Business

From the beginning of time, women have worked at home, as well as outside of the home, to contribute to the greater economic well-being of family. Even in colonial America, characterized by rural and self sufficient communities, women assumed roles in the manufacture and sale of goods.

Word Processing

Word processing technology refers to various kinds of electronic text storage and manipulation devices, primarily through use of a computer software application. Although there are many specific computer programs and other devices available for word processing functions, as a class these have become one of the most basic and ubiquitous tools in the contemporary business world.

Workers' Compensation

Approximately every 19 seconds someone is injured in an on-the-job accident. But whether or not the injured individual has health insurance, if the injury occurred on the job it is very likely that the injury will be cared for and the worker's lost income replaced under the workers' compensation insurance system.


Workforce refers to both the total number of all workers and of workers available to a nation, project, or industry. The U.S.

Working Capital

Working capital is the difference between current assets and current liabilities on a company's balance sheet. Current assets include such things as cash, accounts receivable, marketable securities, inventory, and prepaid expenses.

Workplace Violence Program

The 1990s have seen workplace violence (WPV) receive unparalleled attention in the popular press and among safety and health professionals. Much of the reason for this publicity has been the reporting of data by nationally recognized agencies regarding the magnitude of this problem.

Works Council

An important feature of European labor-management relations, works councils are committees of labor representatives within companies which consult with management and may even have certain decision-making powers. They take on a number of forms, but in general they are seen as democratic bodies that give voice to worker concerns and interests.

World Bank

The World Bank was created along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944. World leaders gathered at the Bretton Woods conference to ensure the economic recovery and economic stabilization of a world economy ravaged by World War II.

World Trade Organization (WTO)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization founded in 1995 to promote global trade in goods, services, and intellectual property. It is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which since 1947 sought to promote international economic growth through the establishment of legally binding rules governing trade between countries.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international group of Internet researchers, software developers, computer manufacturers, and universities founded by the pioneer of the Internet's World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, in 1994. Berners-Lee established the W3C in collaboration with the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and initially received support from the U.S.

Year 2000 Compliance

Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance refers to the complex process whereby governments, businesses, and individuals upgrade computer systems so that 2000 is recognized by those systems as a valid date. The Y2K problem was developed beginning in the late 1960s when the modem computer industry began, i.e., when computers began to be able to store data in addition to processing it.

Yield Curve Analysis

Yield curve analysis involves the measurement of differences in interest rates between notes that have a different term to maturity. To evaluate the term to maturity effect, one examines the same issuer (for example, U.S.

Z Score

The Z Score is a statistical measure used by financial traders to determine whether there is a dependency, or correlation, among their trades. A trader might suspect a dependency if he or she experiences a run of several consecutive profitable trades, or a run of several consecutive unprofitable trades.

Zero Economic Growth

Zero economic growth is an economic condition that may be the result of a nation's public policy, or it may be caused by a recession. When several Asian economies experienced economic and financial crises in 1998, some countries, including Japan, were expected to experience zero economic growth during the following year.