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Business gateway - Business terms
Category: Business and Law > Business
Date & country: 21/01/2010, UK
Words: 759

Ab initio (ab init)
From the beginning. If a term or condition of a contract was illegal or invalid when it was signed, then the contract was void 'ab initio'.

In contract law an unconditional agreement to an offer which creates a contract. There is no contract before acceptance and the offer can be withdrawn, but once the offer is accepted the contract is binding on both sides. Acceptance can be shown by words or conduct. If the person who receives the offer wants to impose conditions, these have the eff...

Access control
A way of controlling who has access to equipment, data, information, systems or applications. This can include physical controls, such as locks on doors, PIN entry systems, turnstiles and window bars, as well as logical controls such as user names, passwords and file permissions for access to computer systems and networks.

Account sales
A term used when goods imported on consignment are valued for customs purposes by reference to the price they achieve when sold in the European Union (EU). Account sales commonly apply to importations of perishable goods.

Accounting reference date (ARD)
Date on which a company's financial year ends. This is normally 12 months after the previous accounting period ended or, for new companies, at the end of the twelfth month in which a company incorporated.

Accounting reference period (ARP)
Period covered by a company's annual accounts, usually one year.

Accounting Standards Board (ASB)
Produces formal statements of accounting standards that apply to all companies.

Accounts payable
Money owed by a company or individual for the goods or services they have received.

Accounts receivable
Money owed to a company or individual for the goods or services they have provided.

Receipt, by a person registered or liable to be registered for VAT, of goods that have been supplied by a registered person in another European Union (EU) Member State and removed from there to the UK.

Ad valorem duty
Duty expressed as a percentage based on the customs value of the goods, eg 10 per cent ad valorem means that the duty payable is 10 per cent of the customs value of the goods.

Additional costs
The price you negotiate with overseas customers also needs to include some additional costs. For example, transportation costs may include the cost of special packaging and labelling, while the detailed documentation you generally need may involve extra costs.

Additional premium
A premium payable by the insured as a result of a change in policy cover or declaration adjustment to reflect increased exposure or sums insured.

A person who investigates claims on behalf of insurers.

The appointment of a licensed insolvency practitioner over a defaulting company either by a court, by a holder of a floating charge over the company's assets, or by the company itself. Administration has the primary purpose of rescuing the company by trading it back into solvency.

Insolvency practitioner holding office in administration.

Advance fixing certificate (AFC)
A form of export licence for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods. AFCs set the rate at which export refunds will be paid on exported products. Because AFCs must be applied for in advance of export, both the exporter and the Rural Payments Agency will know how much money will be paid in export refund over the life of the certificate.

Advising bank
Bank operating in an exporter's country that handles letters of credit (see Letter of credit) for a foreign bank by notifying the exporter that the credit has been opened in its favour. The advising bank lets the exporter know exactly what the conditions of the letter of credit are but isn't necessarily responsible for payment.

Agency agreement
In contract law, an agreement that defines the power of the agent to act on behalf of the principal. This agreement is normally kept private between them.

For the purpose of the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)agent service, an agent is a third party that is authorised to transact online on behalf of a VAT-registered client. Examples include accountants and book-keepers appointed by individual clients.

In contract law, a person or organisation appointed to act on behalf of another person or organisation, known as the principal. The level of the agent's authority to deal is subject to agreement between the principal and the agent. However, unless told otherwise, third parties can assume that the agent has full powers to deal.

Agent ID
An agent ID is given to an agent when they enrol in an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) online service for the first time. The agent supplies the details for half of the ID, the second part is generated by the government gateway. It is the agent ID that clients use to appoint agents to transact on their behalf.

Aggregate limit of indemnity
The maximum amount an insurer will pay under a policy in respect of all accumulated claims arising within a specified period of insurance.

Aggregates levy
This is a tax on the commercial exploitation in the UK of rock, sand and gravel.

Agricultural component (AC)
A Customs (import) charge applicable to goods processed from certain basic agricultural products.

Air waybill (AWB)
A waybill that covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified destination. This is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport that serves as a receipt for the shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed and obligates itself to carry the consignment to the airport of destination according to...

Aircraft spare parts depot (ASPD)
Location at which imported spare parts for certain aircraft can be stored without payment of customs duty or import VAT. Only spare parts for eligible aircraft can benefit from the ASPD regime. In order to be considered eligible, an aircraft must be: (i) registered outside the UK (aircraft based in the Channel Islands and Gibraltar are considered t...

Airport of receipt (AOR)
The cargo community system (CCSUK) airport at which a transit shed operator creates a consignment record for uncleared imported goods.

Alcohol ingredients relief (AIR)
Various alcoholic beverages are to be relieved from excise duty when used, within certain limits, as ingredients for specified classes of food.

Allotment of shares
The process of allocating shares between shareholders usually pro rata or according to some prior agreement. The allotment may have conditions, which must be satisfied before the shares are issued, eg payment for them. This precedes the actual issue of shares.

Always-on technologies such as broadband can receive data constantly, rather than having to use a modem to dial up each time access is required. This kind of access is paid for on a rental or leased-line basis, rather than according to the amount of time spent using the connection.

Additional Maternity Leave

The writing off of the cost of goodwill or other intangible assets over a period of time.

Animal health imports controls
Many types of live animal and animal products are subject to health controls on import to the European Union (EU). Animals susceptible to rabies are subject to health controls on entry to the UK, even if they arrive from other EU member states (except the Irish Republic). In the UK, all animal health controls are enforced by the Department of the E...

Annual accounts
Must be submitted to Companies House with the auditor's report, or an accountant's report for companies with turnover of less than £5 million and a balance sheet of less than £2.8 million. The accounts consist of a directors' report signed by a director or the company secretary, a profit and loss account, a balance sheet signed by a director, the a...

Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Annual meeting of company shareholders where the financial statements for the previous financial year are presented. AGMs can also be used to appoint directors and auditors and allow shareholders to ask board members questions.

Annual percentage rate (APR)
The APR gives a more accurate idea of how much you are being charged when you borrow money. It allows you to compare the total cost of borrowing money for different types of loan, and lengths of time.

An income-producing investment bought from an insurance company, which pays a guaranteed annual income throughout your lifetime. Annuities are usually bought with the proceeds of a pension fund.

If a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges in its home market, it's said to be dumping the product. Member countries of the World Trade Organisation may be able to impose certain measures on other members that dump products on their markets.

Anti-dumping duty (ADD)
A customs duty on imports, providing protection against the dumping of cheap goods in the European Union (EU) by foreign producers.

Anti-virus software
Software that scans internal/external drives, emails and attachments for malicious viruses and worms, and removes them or prevents them entering your computer system. Because of the rate at which new viruses emerge you should select software that is capable of being updated on a regular basis, usually by means of a download from the manufacturer's ...

Association for Payment Clearing Systems -A non-statutory association of major banks and building societies. Its function is to manage the main networks which allow banks and building societies to exchange payments on behalf of their customers.

A small application, written in the programming language Java, that is intended for use within a web browser and cannot be run as a stand-alone application. Typically an applet extends the capabilities of the browser by providing interactive animations or other simple tasks.

Application service provider (ASP)
An ASP builds, hosts, runs and sells access to applications over the Internet. This allows individuals and companies to outsource various functions by leasing or renting applications and software.

Approved Code of Practice (ACoP)
ACoPs provide detailed guidance on how to comply with the relevant health and safety legislation. You are strongly advised to follow the steps set out in the ACoP. Should you be taken to court, the onus will be on you to demonstrate that any alternative arrangements are as effective in protecting health and safety as the methods set out in the ACoP...

Approved Supply List
The Approved Supply List contains many commonly used hazardous substances. Suppliers must identify these substances with a warning label and provide you with a safety data sheet.

Articles of Association
Set out the main rules for the way a company is to be run. Statutory Tables A to G set out what the articles should cover. Table A acts as the default for all companies limited by shares.

Asian dollars
US dollars deposited in Asia and the Pacific Basin.

Asset cover
The ratio of net assets to total debt. Used by banks to judge the security of lending.

The things that you own, such as buildings, vehicles, shares and money in the bank. The opposite of your assets are your liabilities.

A term interchangeable with insurance but generally used in connection with life cover as assurance implies the certainty of an event and insurance the probability.

Audit report
The result of the review of the annual accounts by the auditors. It must accompany the accounts when filed at Companies House. An unqualified report means that the auditors found nothing wrong with the accounts. If the auditors are concerned that the accounts are not a true reflection of the state of the company the report will be qualified by thei...

Accountants appointed to review and report upon the annual accounts of a company. Only accountants qualified as members of one of the professional bodies recognised by legislation can act as auditors.

Authorised operator
A trader authorised by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to operate one or more simplified export procedures: simplified declaration procedure (SDP) and local clearance procedure (LCP) and/or a designated export place (DEP). It also includes an exporter or third party allowed to make full export declarations to the Customs Handling of Import and Export F...

Authorised Waste Carrier
Authorised Waste Carriers are permitted to handle and dispose of waste. They include council waste collectors, waste carriers and brokers registered with the Environment Agency or the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and holders of waste management licences.

The amount available in your account after payment of service charges not including withdrawals or debits, or deposits not credited.

Balance sheet
A financial statement at a given point in time. It provides a snapshot summary of what a business owns or is owed (assets) and what it owes (liabilities).

The capacity of data that a line or channel can carry in a given amount of time. Digital bandwidth is measured in bps or bits per second. The bandwidth of your Internet connection will have a significant impact upon your download times. For example a typical webpage will take approximately 14 seconds to download using a standard 56kbps modem, compa...

Bank giro credit
This is the most common form of paying money into a bank account or making a transfer from one account to another.

Banker's draft
This is a cheque issued by a bank itself. Often used for making large purchases, like a car. You would get this by transferring money out of your account to your bank. In return, the bank gives you one of its cheques - a banker's draft. This means that the draft will not bounce. However, if you are selling something, you should never hand your prod...

Banker's reference
A banker's opinion about your or another customer's ability to enter into, or repay, a financial commitment.

Banking Code
The voluntary code followed by banks and building societies for consumers in the UK. The Code sets minimum standards for good banking practice. Banks and building societies in the UK subscribe to the Code.

A debtor that is judged legally insolvent. A person can become bankrupt upon voluntary petition or one invoked by their creditors. The debtor's remaining property is then administered for the creditors or is distributed among them.

Banned and restricted goods
Restricted goods require a licence or certificate before they can be imported into, or exported from the UK whereas banned goods cannot be imported even under licence.

Base rate
The interest rate set by the Bank of England which is used as the basis for the rates banks offer and charge customers.

Basic products
In the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a product of the soil, of stock farming and of fisheries, shown in Annex I to the Treaty of Rome. The term also covers goods which are the result of first stage processing of certain basic products.

Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Cost -Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Cost must be used by businesses regulated under Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) and Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC).

(Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) Government department that works to create the conditions for business success and help the UK respond to the challenge of globalisation.

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform -Government department that works to create the conditions for business success and help the UK respond to the challenge of globalisation.

Binding European retrieval of Tariff information -The correspondence handling and management system used by the Tariff Classification Service. It is used to produce binding Tariff information classification decisions for issue to importers and exporters and liability rulings for issue to Customs staff.

Best Available Techniques (BAT)
Best Available Techniques must be used by businesses regulated under Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) to ensure that pollution is avoided.

Best practicable means (BPM)
Best practicable means is an attempt to prevent a statutory nuisance occurring or to counteract its effects. The term 'means' includes: the design, installation and maintenance of plant and machinery, the manner and periods of operation of plant and machinery, the design, construction and maintenance of buildings and structures.

British International Freight Association -Body representing the UK international freight services industry. British International Freight Association (BIFA) can provide you with a list of freight forwarders and customs clearing agents.

Bill of exchange
Written document in which a supplier is guaranteed payment of a specified amount by a drawee. The drawee is generally the customer, but is likely to be the customer's bank if the bill of exchange is used with a term letter of credit. The bill can request immediate payment ('at sight' or 'on demand'). It can specify payment at a later date ('the ter...

Bill of lading (B-L)
Document generally issued by a carrier which acts as a receipt for goods received for carriage. In addition it provides evidence of the terms of contract between a shipper and a transport company under which goods are moved between specified places for a specified charge. A bill of lading can also act as a transferable document of title to goods - ...

Binding Tariff information (BTI)
System for implementing the Common Customs Tariff. The information is issued to economic operators by the customs authorities of the European Union (EU) member states. Thus, traders will know, in advance, the tariff classification of the goods they intend to import or export. This information is introduced into a database run by the European Commis...

Bits per second (bps)
The unit used to measure the speed of data transfer. It is often normally expressed in thousands, kbps, or millions, mbps.

Blue chip securities
Shares of large, reputable and actively traded companies with a record of regular dividend payments. Many of the shares making up the FTSE 100 are blue chips.

A method of connecting mobile electronic devices that uses radio waves without the need for cables.

Bona fide
In good faith (Latin). In company law, this usually implies an amount of trust that the parties are acting without any hidden or ulterior motive.

A written promise to repay a debt at an agreed time and to pay an agreed rate of interest - issued by governments, companies, banks etc. Interest rates may be variable or fixed.

Bonded warehouse
A place approved by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the deposit, keeping and securing of goods liable to excise duty, without payment of that duty. This term is often applied to a Customs warehouse - incorrectly, since no bond is usually required for these.

Border inspection post (BIP)
Control point at the place of importation into the European Union (EU) where products of animal origin (POAO) and live animals are subject to the veterinary checks regime.

Breach of contract
Failure by a party to a contract to uphold their part of the deal. A breach of contract will make the contract void or voidable.

British Bankers' Association (BBA)
A not-for-profit organisation which represents the banking industry in the UK. It is funded by subscriptions from its 330 member and associate member banks covering 60 different countries. The BBA's mission is to work with its members to create an environment in which they can compete. To do this, the BBA represents banks as corporate bodies, rathe...

British Chamber of Commerce (BCC)
An organisation comprising a national network of local chambers of commerce spread throughout the UK. There are also a number of British chambers of commerce in other countries. Chambers of commerce provide a range of business services for members.

British Standards
A British Standard is a document that sets out a technical specification or other precise criteria for materials, products, systems and services. British Standards can indicate that materials and products meet a certain safety or environmental standard.

Any system of connection to the Internet that is characterised as high-speed - ie can carry data at speeds of more than 128kbps.

An intermediary who acts as an agent for insurers and on behalf of the insured, and who is regulated by a professional body and codes of practice.

Software that enables users to search and view information on the Internet.

This is an estimate of income and outgoings, usually completed for a period of at least one month, but can be for the whole year.

A mistake in a computer program that results in the program or system not working correctly. Later versions of the program typically contain corrections or fixes.

A third party providing a service to National Export System (NES) authorised traders to act as their direct representative for the submission of pre-shipment and supplementary declarations.

Business Angels
Individuals who invest their money in growing businesses with the expectation of a high return on that investment.

Capacity to contract
The ability in law to be a party to a contract. Some persons have limited capacity - minors under 18, the mentally disabled and someone who is drunk or affected by drugs. A company's capacity is defined by the objects clause in its Memorandum of Association. Most other organisations, eg unincorporated clubs, do not have capacity and their members m...

The funds in a business contributed by its owners.

Capital gain
This is the profit made between the buying and selling of assets such as shares, unit trusts or property.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)
This is a tax on profit made from the disposal of assets such as shares, unit trusts, property other than your home, and antiquities over and above your CGT exemption in any one year.

Capital growth
This is the rise in the value of an initial investment and any income that has been added to it.

Cargo Community System (CCS-UK)
The computerised cargo processing system that controls goods in an inventory linked environment. It consists of a central database and a 'switch' to transfer messages between the various computer systems connected to it.