Common Business Vocabulary & Expressions

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Surviving in the English-speaking business world can be difficult, especially if English isn't your first language. This lesson presents some common business vocabulary and expressions in use today.

Business Language

English is so widely used in the business world that it can be difficult to perform many jobs without at least a basic understanding of the English language. In addition to being able to speak to coworkers, managers and clients, English is also important for writing emails and other business correspondence. For all of these reasons, it's important to know common business vocabulary and expressions.

Keep in mind that there are thousands of business terms and expressions and these can vary greatly depending on industry and business type. The following lists focus only on the most common business vocabulary and expressions.

Common Business Vocabulary

This list includes the names of common business documents.

  • Business plan: a document that details how a business will operate
  • Mission statement: a statement that describes the reason an organization exists
  • Balance sheet: a statement that shows the financial health of a company
  • Meeting minutes: a record of a meeting including who attended the meeting, the items that were discussed, and plans for future actions
  • Invoice: a form that shows the details (quantity, price, etc.) of which products and/or services were purchased
  • Estimate: an educated guess about how much a product or service will cost
  • Timesheet: a form that allows employees to record their working hours
  • Tax forms: the forms that an organization must complete to document and pay local, state and federal taxes
  • Proposal: a document that outlines a potential project or new business
  • Order form: a form that allows individuals to enter the details of an order

This list includes common business terms.

  • Start-up: a business that was recently established
  • Corporation: a company that has shareholders and a board of directors
  • Sole proprietorship: a business that is owned by one individual
  • HR (Human Resources): the department in an organization that is responsible for hiring and firing employees, managing employee pay and benefits, and ensuring the organization follows the proper employment laws and guidelines
  • Marketing: the department in an organization that researches market trends and designs campaigns to promote products and services
  • R&D (Research and Development): the department in an organization that conducts research to develop new products and/or services
  • Recruitment: the process of finding, assessing, and hiring individuals for specific positions
  • Salary: the amount of money a person receives for performing his or her job
  • Compensation: the combination of salary and benefits a company employee receives
  • PR (Public Relations): the department in an organization that creates press releases and handles communications with media outlets and the general public
  • Shareholder: a person who owns shares in a company

This list includes common business phrases.

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