Australian glossary of terms used in running a business, buying or selling a business.

Business for sale


ABN Lookup –  an internet database containing data accessible to the public regarding registered Australian Business Number (ABN) from sole traders, partnerships, companies and trusts.

Accessibility – the inclusive practice of making websites accessible to individuals regardless of their skills or disabilities.

Accounting profit – a profit or loss for a period prior to tax deduction.

Accounts payable – all unpaid short-term invoices (less than 12 months), bills and other liabilities. Eg. Invoices for goods or services, bills for utilities and tax bills.

Accounts receivable – all expected short-term payments (less than 12 months) from clients who have already received goods / services but still have to pay. These customer are also known as debtors and are generally businesses.

Accounts receivable finance – is a type of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable to a third party at a discount. Also commonly referred as factoring.

Accrual accounting – an accounting system that records transactions when they occur, regardless of payment date.

Acquiree – the business that an acquirer takes over after an acquisition.

Acquirer – the entity that takes over the acquiree.

Acrobat Reader – Adobes software for reading and editing PDF files.

ADSL – a technology for providing internet and voice to homes over copper telephone wire.

Agency – an organisation providing a service on behalf of another entity.

Agent – a person authorised to act on your behalf of a business.

Amortisation – the action of writing an asset off over a period of time.

Anti-dumping – laws that prevent dumping of goods exported to Australia.

Apps – apps or applications are the programs used on mobile phones or tablets operating systems.

Assets – are tangible or intangible items of value owned by a business entity. Common assets include cash, property, vehicles, equipment and inventory.

ATO – Australian Taxation Office, Australia’s government body that oversees tax revenue.

Audit – a check by an auditor on an entities financial records to verify its accuracy.

AusIndustry – a division of the Australian Department of Industry, aimed at supporting industry, research and innovation.

Australian Business Number (ABN) – is an identifying number used when dealing with other business entities and the ATO.

Australian Business Register (ABR) – is a register of information provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by businesses and other entities.

Australian Company Number (ACN) – is the identifying number allocated by the ASIC when you register a company in Australia.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) – is Australia’s competition regulator.

Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) – set of privacy principles that regulates the handling of privacy Australian government agencies and businesses.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) – Australia’s government entity that regulates company conduct.

Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA) – a formalised individual agreement negotiated between an employer and employee regarding the terms of employment.

Authentication – verification of identity to garner access to a system generally by providing some form of password.

Automatic Data Capture (ADC) – data input without typing usually by using technologies such as RFID, magnetic strip reads, bar code readers or speech recognition.

Award – the minimum terms and conditions of employment, such as wages/salary, through an industry agreement between employers and employees.


B2B – business to business.

B2C – business to consumer

B2G – business to government

Bad debts – money owe that is unlikely to be paid in the future and therefore written off as bad debt.

Balance sheet – a table detailing a business entity’s assets, liabilities and equity in a particular time.

Balloon payment – it is a final lump sum payment due at the end of a loan. Also known as residual.

Bank reconciliation – cross reference of cash and bank statements to ensure accuracy.

Bankrupt – when an individual is declared in law as unable to pay their debts.

Bankruptcy – where an individual is bankrupt and there is an appointed trustee that manages their assets.

Benchmark – a set of business perfomance metrics.

Benchmarking – comparing your business to best practice within your industry.

Bill of sale – a legal document for transfers ownership of goods from one entity to another.

Bookkeeping – the recording of financial transactions in a business.

Bootstrapping – when a business funds its growth from personal finances and revenue gained from the business.

Bottom line – net profit for a business. Also known as net profit.

Break-even point – is the point when total revenue equals total expenses. See break-even calculator

Budget – a list detailing planned revenue and expenses for a given period.


Cache – stored memory for faster loading to applications and websites.

Capital – capital for business comes in the form of debt and/or equity.

Capital cost – a signicant once-off purchase of plant, equipment, building or land.

Capital gain – net amount gained when an asset is sold over cost of original acquisition and subsequent works.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) – the tax applicable on any capital gains made.

Capital growth – when there is increase in the value of an asset.

Cash – all forms of money.

Cash accounting – an accounting system that records transactions when the money is actually received or paid.

Cash book – a record of all credit, cash or cheque transactions received or paid by a business.

Cash flow – the amount of money going in and out of a business.

Cash incoming – the amount of money from cashflow going into the business.

Cash outgoing – the amount of money from cashflow going out of the business.

Certification – veritification that a busines has been inspected by a third party and that their products, processes, systems or services are compliant.

Certified Agreement (CA) – a written collective employment agreement that sets out wages and working conditions for a set group of employees.

Channel – a path in which a product, service or advertisement can reach its end user.

Chart of accounts – a list of all acccount made available for recording transactions in the general ledger.

Chattel mortgage – is a finance agreement in which the financier provides funds for an entity to purchase an asset which will be used as collateral during the duration of the loan.

Cloud Computing – is when a network of servers is used to remotely store, manage and process data and information instead of using a PC. Also known as the Cloud.

Codes of practice – specific mandatory or voluntary standards of conduct set for an industry.

Collateral – it is when an asset is used by a financier as backup in exchange for a loan. Also known as security.

Collective bargaining – negotiation of wages and employment terms and conditions by an organised body of employees or union.

Commercial bill – it is short term debt issued by an organisation. Also known as a bill of exchange.

Company – a legal entity owned by shareholders and run by its directors.

Compliance – conforming to rules, laws and regulations set out by regulatory bodies.

Content marketing – form of marketing by creating online materials such as blogs, social media posts or videos, tools to promote a product of service.

Content Syndication – method of republishing content on other websites to garner more reach.

Contingency – a future event that cannot be predicted with certainty.

Contingency plan – a plan to mitigate the potential risk of a future event.

Contingent liability – a liability that may or may not need to be paid depending on a future event.

Contract – agreement made in writing or verbally between two or more parties that is legally enforceable.

Contractor – someone who has been paid to provide a service.

Cookie – a file sent by a website to record and track visitors.

Copyright – a law protecting original works from other being copied or misused.

Corporations law – legal regulation for companies in Australia administered by ASIC.

Cost of goods sold – total costs of producing a good or service.

Credit – purchase of a good or service with an agreement to pay it at a later date.

Credit history – a report detailing an individual’s or business’ history with credit usually through a third party credit reporting agency.

Credit limit – the maximum amount of credit that a lender will extend to a debtor.

Credit rating – a numerical ranking that details the creditworthiness of an inidividual or business based on their credit history representing their ability to repay debt.

Creditor – a entity that allows you to purchase of a good or service with an agreement to pay it at a later date. Also any individual or business that you owe money to.

Crowdfunding – a method of financing a business idea through gathering funds from private individuals mainly online via crowdfunding websites.

Current asset – cash or other assets that are expected to be converted into cash within 12 months.

Current liability – liabilities orr payment due within the next 12 months.


Debit – an accounting entry which details an increases an asset or expense account, or decreases a liability or equity account.

Debt – any money owed to a third party.

Debt consolidation – when several loans are combined with the purposes of lowering the overall interest rate and/or fees.

Debt finance – capital raised by a company by selling debt in the form of bonds, bills or notes.

Debtor – an individual or business that owes you or your organisation money.

Debtors finance – is a type of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable to a third party at a discount. Also commonly referred as factoring.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) – an entity that can receive tax deductible gifts

Default – failure to pay a debt obligation.

Demographics – a segment of the population.

Depreciation – the expensing of an asset over a period of time over during its useful life.

Digital signature – an electronic signature that is used to authenticate the identity of the sender/signer of an electronic document.

Digital signature certificate – a document issued by a certificate authority which contains the public key for a digital signature used as credentials.

Disbursements – payment that a business makes or in legal terms

Discount – a reduction to a price or service. Also known as Mark down.

Domain name – It is the name of a website such as, www.(domain).com.

Double-entry bookkeeping – a bookkeeping method that records each transaction in two corresponding sides; debit and credit.

Download – the transfer of data from a web server.

Drawings – money paid for from a business account to the owners.

Drip pricing – is when one price is presented at the start with incremental increases to the overall price depending on options selected.


E-business – online business conducted over the internet.

E-commerce – the selling of products or service over the internet

E-marketplace – an online marketplace allows buyers and sellers to carry out transactions via a platform over the internet.

E-procurement – the B2B procurement of supplies and services over the internet.

Eco-efficiency – products and services produced with less waste, pollution and environmental cost.

Emergency management – coordinated effort to help manage risks to a business.

Employee share schemes (ESS) – where a company gives its employees the opportunity to buy shares iof the company.

Encryption – the scrambling of information in a file so that it can only be read by those who have the decoding key.

Encumbered – the asset used as security or collateral for a loan restricts the sale of that asset.

Environment management – managing the business impact on the environment.

Environmental Management System (EMS) – a business system used to manage current and future environmental impact.

Equity – the value of shares issued by a company.

Equity finance – money provided in exchange for part ownership of the business.

Excise duty – a tax levied on specific types of goods in Australia.


Facility – a predetermined arrangement where borrower has the flexibility to draw down on debt to a certain level.

Factoring – it is when a factor company buys a business’ outstanding invoices at a discount. Also known as debtors finance or accounts receivable finance.

FAQ – frequently asked questions.

Finance – money in the form of debt used for funds for an individual or business.

Financial statement – records that explain the business activities and the financial performance of a company.

Financial year (FY) – a 12-month period between from 1 July to 30 June used for accounting/tax purposes in Australia.

Firewall – internet security to protect a network against hackers.

Fixed asset – a long term physical asset used by a business to generate income.

Fixed cost – a cost that remains fixed regardless of the amount of goods or services produced or sold.

Fixed interest rate – an interest rate that remains the same for the entire term of a loan.

Float – when a private company first offers shares in the company to the public. See Initial public offering.

Forecast – future prediction of business activity.

Franchise – a business model where a franchisee purchases the right to trade in goods or services using the branding, processes and goodwill of the franchisor.

Franchise agreement – a legal contract detailing the terms and conditions of a franchise business between the franchisor and franchisee.

Franchisee – the entity that purchases the right to operate a franchise outlet from the franchisor.

Franchisor – the entity that owns a franchise and agrees to sell the rights via a franchise agreement to a franchisee.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – international agreements which reduce barriers of trade and investment between countries.

Freedom of Information (FOI) – laws that allow access to publicly available information or data held by the government.

Fringe Benefits – non-cash benefits such as a company car, mobile phones, which are included as part of a salary package.


Gateway – hardware or software that acts as a bridge between two applications or networks.

Goods & Services Tax (GST) – a tax of 10 per cent that applies to the sale of most goods and services in Australia.

Goodwill – an intangible asset is defined by the value of a business’ reputation. See our goodwill calculator.

Gross income – money earned prior to taking out taxes and other deductions.

Gross profit – (also known as net sales) the difference between sales and the direct cost of making the sales.

Guarantor – a person who is legally responsible for the debt if the borrower cannot pay it.


Hacker – someone who can make unauthorised access to networks, systems and websites.

High-end – high quality or expensive products or services.

Hire-purchase – a loan contract for an asset where after an initial deposit, the borrower will pay repayments before paying a residual amount at the end to own the asset. See rent to buy.

Homepage – the opening page of a website.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) – standard language used to display format text in a web browser.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) – method of sending web pages over the internet and appear at the start of a web address.

Hyperlink – links you to a specific website URL.


Independent contractor – a self-employed individual hired to do work for a business but is not an direct employee of that business.

Information & Communication Technology (ICT/IT) – broad term covering telecommunications, computers, hardware, software, and audio-visual systems.

Information economy – an economy where their productivity and competitiveness is based on the exchange of knowledge information and services.

Initial public offering (IPO) – when a private company floats on a stock exchange and raises equity capital by offering shares to the public for the first time. Also known as a float.

Input tax credit – you can claim an input tax credit for any GST included in the price of goods and services used in business.

Insolvent – when a business or company cannot pay their debts.

Instalment Activity Statement (IAS) – like Business Activity Statement (BAS) but for businesses not registered for GST and for individuals who are required to PAYG.

Intangible assets – non-physical assets such as goodwill and intellectual property rights which have no definitive value.

Intellectual Property (IP) – valuable intangible property that is derived from research, creativity which is be protected through the use of patents, copyrights and trademarks.

Interest – the cost of borrowing money on top of paying back the principal sum.

Interest rate – the percentage at which interest is charged on top of the loan. Rates may be fixed or variable.

Internet – the global computer network connected using standardised protocols.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) – a telecommunications company that connects its customers to the internet.

Inventory – a complete list of goods a business sells.

Investment – an asset purchased for the purpose of generating a return such as shares or property.

Invoice – a document detailing a list of goods and services provided and the cost.

Invoice finance – financing based on the strength of a business’ accounts receivable. Similar to factoring.

IP address – unique numerical address assigned to every computer connected to the internet.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) – communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video and data.





LAN (Local Area Network) – a group of PC’s linked together in a localised network with the aim to share data.

Legal name – an entity’s that appears on all official paperwork.

Liability – an amount owed due to a financial liability.

Licence – a legal document that allows an individual or business with official permission to conduct a specific activity.

Line of credit – an agreement from a lender which allows the borrower to withdraw money from an account up to a specific limit.

Liquidate – to wind up a business or to convert assets into cash.

Liquidation – the process of liquidating a business.

Liquidity – the ease at which at assets can be converted into cash.

Loan – a finance agreement where the borrower borrows money and pays it back in reopayments which include the principal, fees and interest over time.

Loan to value ratio (LVR) – the ratio of a loan relative to the market value of the asset that will be purchased.


Malware/Spyware – software designed to steal your internet usage data and sensitive information.

Margin – the difference between the selling price of a good or service and the cost.

Margin call – when the value of an asset falls below a certain LVR, the lender may need funds to bring it back down to an acceptable LVR. See Loan to value ratio (LVR).

Mark down – a discount applied to a product price. See also Discount.

Mark up – the amount added onto of cost price of goods to determine its selling price.

Market position – the position an organisation is in relative to the competition usually based off sales.

Maturity date – when a loan’s term ends and the final payment is due.

Memorandum of association – a formal document prepared in the formation and registration process of a company to define its relationship with shareholders.

Memorandum of understanding (MoU) – a formal agreement between two or more parties.

META – the special HTML tag are snippets of text that describe a page’s content.

Milestone – a goal with a target date.

Mission statement – a statement outlining why an organisations exists, its purpose and overall goals.

Mitigation – taking steps to eliminate or reduce possible risks on a business.

Modem – the hardware that connects a computer to the internet via an ISP.

Multimedia – data conveyed through multiple forms such as plain text, video, graphics or audio.


National Employment Standards (NES) – minimum set of standards for employee entitlements to leave, public holidays, notice of termination and redundancy pay.

National Privacy Principles (NPPs) – regulates how organisations manage personal information.

Net assets – total assets minus total liabilities. Also known as net worth, owner’s equity or shareholder’s equity.

Net income – the net amount earned by a business after tax and deductions.

Net profit – is the total gross profit minus all expenses. Also known as bottom line.

Net worth – total assets minus total liabilities. See Net assets.

Network – a way of connecting computers to share data.


Off-the-shelf – a complete product that is readily available.

Overdraft facility – where a lender allows an entity to overdraw an account.

Overdrawn account – an account that has exceeded its maximum limit.

Overheads – fixed costs that are do with operating a business.

Owner’s equity – total assets minus total liabilities. See Net assets.


Paid Parental Leave – a Australian national scheme that provides new parents some paid time off work.

Partnership – where there are two or more individuals have a formal arrangement to manage and operate a business and share its profits.

Patent – an exclusive right granted to an owner to sell their particular good or service that is new or innovative.

Pay As You Go (PAYG) instalments – a system for sending regular payments towards your expected annual income tax liability.

Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding – a legal requirement to withhold portion of payments made to employees and contractors and send it to the ATO .

Payroll tax – a local tax calculated on the amount of wages paid.

PDF (Portable Document Format) – a file format for presenting documents.

Permit – the granting of permission by an authority to carry out a pre-specified activity.

Personal property – any property that an entity can own.

Personal Property Security Register (PPSR) – it is Australia’s national register of security interests in personal property.

Petty cash – cash for small miscellaneous purchases.

Phishing – Spam emails designed to appear trustworthy in an attempt to trick the reader into handing over personal information.

Plant and equipment – fixed assets that are used in the operation of a business.

Portal – a gateway for users that offers a range of services.

Predatory pricing – when a business sets an unrealistically low price to drive a competition out of the market.

Principal – the original amount borrowed.

Procurement – the purchase of goods and services to use for production, sales or distribution activities.

Product disclosure statement (PDS) – the terms and conditions of a financial or insurance related product.

Product liability insurance – insurance that covers for damage or injury caused due to failure of a product sold by that business.

Professional indemnity insurance – insurance that covers a business when their client suffers a loss as result of their advice.

Turnover (staff) – the rate at which staff take or leave in an organisation.

Profit and loss statement – a financial statement detailing sales and expenses and is used to determine gross and net profi. Also known as income statement.

Profit margin – see margin.

Projection – see forecast.

Protocol – established communications protocol over the internet.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) – a system to provide authentication based on digital certificates and signatures.

Public liability insurance – insurance that covers against claims for property damage and bodily injury.


Quarantine – controls imposed on items brought to or from foreign countries.


Research and development (R&D) – research and development to conduct so that businesses can innovate, create new products and develop new solutions.

RAM (Random Access Memory) – used by programs to perform tasks while a computer is on.

Rates – property taxes charged by local government on properties in their municipal area.

Receipt – a document customers receive to confirm payment.

Record keeping – the process of storing information that explain certain business transaction for tax purposes.

Refinance – to get a finance a new loan over a former loan.

Registrations of Interest (ROI) – getting interested parties to register their interest to conduct business or public works.

Rent to buy – a loan contract for an asset where after an initial deposit, the borrower will pay repayments before paying a residual amount at the end to own the asset. See hire-purchase.

Repossess – the process of a lender taking back ownership of an assets from the borrower due to default.

Request For Quote (RFQ) – when the government reaches out to obtain quotes for goods or services.

Request For Tender (RFT) – when the government reaches out to obtain tender for goods or services.

Retail lease – a legal contract between a business and a landlord which sets the terms of which the business can occupy a landlord’s premise.

Retention of title – a clause in contracts where a buyer may receive property, but not full ownership until the full price is paid.

Return on assets (ROA) – a calculation that uses a business’ net profit relative to the price of the asset. View our return on assets calculator.

Return on investment (ROI) – a calculation that uses a business’ net profit to work out the return of a business in the form of a percentage.

Revenue – the cash flow generated through sales before expenses or deductions. Also known as turnover.

Risk management – process of making an honest evaluation of the true risks to a business.


Stock at valuation (SAV) – a stock at valuation sale means that the asking price is exclusive of inventory or stock. See full explanation of a SAV sale.

Software as a services (SaaS) – method of delivery of software where it is provided online through a subscription.

Scam – a deception designed to obtain money or information from targeted victims.

Search engine – an online portal which helps users to find specific websites or information on the internet.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – it is the process of improving a website’s search ranking online.

Security – assets that a lender can take ownership when loan default occurs. Also known as collateral.

Session cookie – a cookie that exists during a session until the browser is closed.

Shareholder’s equity – assets less liabilities. See net assets.

Single-entry bookkeeping – a bookkeeping method used that relies on a one sided accounting entry to maintain records.

Small Business Fair Dismissal Code – compliance that small businesses must follow when ending employment.

Smartcards – cards that contain a computer chip to be used for a variety of purposes but mainly for payment.

SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) – a small to medium enterprise is an organisation that has less than 200 employees.

Self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) – unlike regular super funds, an SMSF is self-managed by its members.

Social Media – online networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Sole trader – a business structure where the business shares the same legal entity as its owner.

Spam – an unwelcome email message usually sent en masse.

Spider – an automated program which crawls the internet for information.

Stamp duty – a state and territory government tax paid by the buyer on the purchase price of an asset.

Stock – goods, materials or product on hand.

Stocktaking – process involving a physical count of goods held by a business used to verify records.

Streaming media – continuous broadcast of music and video over the internet.

Succession – is the process for finding new leaders who can replace the old leader once they leave.

Successor – the people who have taken over or succeed from another.

Superannuation – money put in a superannuation fund for retirement.

Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) – a government policy requiring employers to contribute 9.5% of their employees’ wages to a complying superannuation fund.

Sustainability – the ability for an activity to be maintained at a certain rate.


Tariff – tax levied by the government on imported goods or services.

Tax File Number (TFN) – an identifying number allocated to taxpayers and used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for taxation purposes.

Tax invoice – an invoice for the supply of goods or services which must include an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Tender – the process which government agencies and companies follows to seek quotes for goods or services.

Third party – party which is not one involved in an agreement or legal case.

Trade mark – the registration of a recognisable sign, design, or expression which provides the owner the legal right to licence, use or sell it within Australia.

Trading name – the name which an entity is known as by its suppliers or customers.

Trust – trust is a fiduciary relationship in which the trustor, gives the trustee, the right to hold title to assets for the benefit of the beneficiary.

Turnover (financial) – the cash flow generated through sales before expenses or deductions. Also known as revenue.

Turnover (staff) – the rate at which staff take or leave in an organisation.




Variable cost – a cost dependant on the quantity of goods produced and may increase or decrease.

Variable interest rate – when the interest rate for a loan changes depending on its duration and market conditions.

Venture capital – investment in a new venture or start-up business.

Virus – a malicious piece of code which make unauthorised changes to a computer or server.

Vision statement – a statement that expresses an organisation’s main goals or vision.


Walk in walk out (WIWO) – a walk in walk out sale is when the buyer takes over the business with few conditions attached. See full explanation of a WIWO sale.

Withholding tax – the tax that an employer withholds from employees’ wages to pay directly to the government.

Worker’s compensation – form of payment to employees due to being injured or sick due to their work

Working capital – the cash available for a business’ day-to-day expenses.

World Wide Web (www) – the way of accessing information using the internet.

Worm – a virus that replicates itself within or in other computers.


XML (Extensible Markup Language) – is a markup language much like HTML and was designed to store and transport data.


Year end – the end of either the financial year or calendar year.

Year To Date (YTD) – from the beginning of the financial year or calendar year to a specified date.


ZIP – the .ZIP format allows for file compression.

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