Effective and professional language skills are essential in today’s business world. Speaking, writing, reading and listening are all vital functions of language skills, and developing these skills in your required business language is vital if you’re going to keep up with the ever-growing international market.

❝The limits of my language are the limits of my world❞ once said Ludwig Wittgenstein, the great Austro-English philosopher. In business, you need to push through your limitations and communicate with others all over the world, which is why a corporate language learning strategy is becoming more and more important. Having a strong language strategy is paramount in global business and its management.

With this glossary, you will have a strong reference that will help you understand the basics of business and investments:


The balance sheet documents a company’s financial health at specific points in time, usually at the end of the quarter or fiscal year. The left side leaves you with what you own, whereas the right side shows what you owe. Your asset values should equal those of your liabilities and equity. The balance sheet includes assets, liabilities, and equity and follows the accounting equation:

Assets = liabilities + equity.


An asset represents an economic resource owned or controlled by, for example, a company. An economic resource is something that may be scarce and has the ability to produce economic benefit by generating cash inflows or decreasing cash outflows. An asset can also represent access that other individuals or firms do not have. Furthermore, a right or other type of access can be legally enforceable, which means economic resources can be used at a company’s discretion. Their use can be precluded or limited by an owner.

For something to be considered an asset, a company must possess a right to it as of the date of the company’s financial statements. Assets can be broadly categorized into current (or short-term) assets, fixed assets, financial investments, and intangible assets.


Equity typically referred to as shareholders’ equity (or owners’ equity for privately held companies), represents the amount of money that would be returned to a company’s shareholders if all of the assets were liquidated and all of the company’s debt was paid off in the case of liquidation. In the case of acquisition, it is the value of company sales minus any liabilities owed by the company not transferred with the sale.

In addition, shareholder equity can represent the book value of a company. Equity can sometimes be offered as payment-in-kind. It also represents the pro-rata ownership of a company’s shares. Equity can be found on a company’s balance sheet (mentioned above) and is one of the most common pieces of data employed by analysts to assess a company’s financial health. To calculate shareholders’ equity, subtract total liabilities from assets:

Shareholders’ equity = total assets−total liabilities


Three types of profit margins are gross profit, net profit, and operating profit margin. Calculate your profit margins by dividing profit by revenue. Profit margins show a company’s growth potential and answer how much each dollar of sale generates into profit.

Profit margin = (profit / revenue) x 100%

Note: more revenue does not always translate to higher margins and more profit kept from sales.


Return on Investment (ROI) is a ratio measuring performance efficiency relative to how much a company spent on investments. Calculate ROI by dividing net profit by the investment cost.

ROI = (net profit / investment cost) x 100%


Cash flow is a measure of the amount of cash generated (or lost) through a business’s operations. It’s different than net profit, as net profit includes non-cash expenses (such as depreciation), and excludes some uses of cash (such as capital expenditures for new equipment, or repayment of outstanding debt).


B2B – Business-To-Business, or in normal communications ‘business to business’. This refers to a commercial trading model by which a business supplies other businesses, and by implication does not generally supply consumers, i.e., domestic private customers (which would be B2C).
A B2B provider is therefore a provider of business services or products, for example, company auditors, manufacturers of industrial machinery, conference organizers, corporate hospitality, advertising agencies, trade journals, wholesalers, warehousing and logistics, management consultancies, mining, farming, industrial chemicals, papermills, etc.


B2C -short for business-to-consumer- is a retail model where products move directly from a business to the end user who has purchased the goods or service for personal use. It is often contrasted with the B2B (business-to-business) model, which involves exchanging goods and services between businesses instead of between businesses and consumers.
The term B2C is applicable to any business transaction where the consumer directly receives goods or services, such as retail stores, restaurants and doctor’s offices.


The act or strategy of growing a business/brand by developing its range of products, services, investments, etc., into new market sectors, horizontally or vertically. Diversification strategies, especially of large scale, typically involve considerable risk and investment because by implication the organization is seeking to become successful in a new unfamiliar field. Risk affects the existing business as well as the new one, in terms of finances, resources, time management, and brand/reputation, particularly where branding is similar between existing and new activities, all of which are often overlooked. Failures are often characterized by under-funding, poor planning, inadequate resourcing, and over-optimism/arrogance of leaders, believing that success or dominance in one sector will automatically enable easy success in a new sector; a dangerously faulty assumption.


The most commonly used indicator of stock market performance is based on prices of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks, primarily major industrial companies. The Average is the sum of the current market price of 30 major industrial companies’ stocks divided by a number that has been adjusted to take into account stock splits and changes in stock composition.


An investment index tracks the performance of many investments as a way of measuring the overall performance of a particular investment type or category. The S&P 500 is widely considered the benchmark for large-stock investors. It tracks the performance of 500 large U.S. company stocks.


The fixed amount of money that an issuer agrees to pay the bondholders. It is most often a percentage of the face value of the bond. Interest rates constitute one of the self-regulating mechanisms of the market, falling in response to economic weakness and rising in strength.


A strategy that looks past the day-to-day fluctuations of the stock and bond markets and responds to fundamental changes in the financial markets or the economy. A long-term investment is an account on the asset side of a company’s balance sheet (see above) that represents the company’s investments, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash. Long-term investments are assets that a company intends to hold for more than a year.

Being a long-term investor means that you are willing to accept a certain amount of risk in pursuit of potentially higher rewards and that you can afford to be patient for a longer period of time. It also suggests that you have enough capital available to afford to tie up a set amount for a long period of time.


National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations system, which is owned and operated by the National Association of Securities Dealers. NASDAQ is a computerized system that provides brokers and dealers with price quotations for securities traded over-the-counter as well as for many New York Stock Exchange-listed securities.


Corporate governance refers to the (ideally visible, transparent, published) policies and practices by which an organization is directed and managed at the executive level, with particular focus on the executive board’s accountabilities to shareholders and other stakeholders, especially concerning the avoidance of risk, and the competence, ethics and propriety of the leadership, typically a chairman and board of directors.


A method of funding and underpinning a project or business venture which became increasingly popular and visible in the 21st century, whereby users or other interested people are involved as investors at project inception, and therefore agree and commit to supporting the development of one sort or another. A good example of crowdfunding is raising capital and support from a local community for the construction of nearby wind turbines, which generally otherwise encounter local hostility instead of support. The concept of crowdfunding provides a clear illustration of the benefit of involving people as stakeholders, rather than positioning people as ‘reluctant customers’ or obstacles to be confronted and overcome.


Commonly abbreviated to GDP, Gross Domestic Product is a very frequently used term in business and economics, and basically refers to a nation’s total production at market values. GDP can be calculated in many different ways but the most popular interpretation is a population’s total income, plus other items such as corporate profits and taxes on products/services.


This refers to the (generally very usual and unavoidable) stages that a product/service passes through from invention/development to maturity to decline until it becomes obsolete, usually because it has been superseded by competitive/replacement offerings, and/or to a lesser degree the product/service has saturated the market.


A vertical market is a market encompassing a group of companies and customers that are all interconnected around a specific niche. Companies in a vertical market are attuned to that market’s specialized needs and generally do not serve a broader market. As such, vertical markets typically have their own set of business standards. They may also have high barriers to entry for new companies.


Revenue refers to the income generated from a business’s operations and activities. One way to calculate revenue is by multiplying the price of an item by the quantity sold. Revenue is money brought into a company by its business activities. There are different ways to calculate revenue, depending on the accounting method employed.

Revenue = Number of Units Sold x Average Price.


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