Financial Glossary – B
B2B – stands for Business-to-Business. It is a business model in which the seller only sells to other companies rather than individual consumers. When it sells to individual consumers, we call it B2C, i.e., business-to-consumer.
B2C – stands for Business-to-Consumer. In this business model, sellers sell directly to individual consumers rather than companies. When the seller targets other companies, we call it B2B, i.e., business-to-business.
B2G – stands for business-to-government. It refers to companies providing services or selling goods to the government, government agencies, or the public sector. Defense contractors, for example, are mainly involved in B2G activities.
Baby Boomers – men and women born between 1946 and about 1964, during the period of rapid economic growth following the Second World War. During this period, birth rates were considerably higher – that is why it is called the baby boom era. More than 76 million babies were born in the United States during the baby boom.
Backdoor Listing – a way for unlisted companies to become publicly listed, i.e. to be listed in a formal stock exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, or the London Stock Exchange. The unlisted company seeks out a listed shell company and acquires it – this gets it into the stock exchange ‘through the back door’.
Backdoor Selling – the art of asking carefully crafted questions to people in a company in order to glean information that can give the seller (supplier) an edge over the competition. Backdoor selling is a technique used by companies in a competitive bidding situation. Sales people usually target employees in other departments – those not involved in purchasing – because they are more likely to innocently divulge sensitive information. Backdoor selling, or back door selling, may also mean violating a business agreement with a customer – for example, selling directly to Company B in Territory A after signing a contract with Company A, which states that the supplier will only sell directly to Company A in Territory A.
Backed Currency – a currency that is supported by a commodity, such as silver or gold. The value of that currency is directly linked to how much of a commodity the government or central bank has stored in its vaults. The gold standard, which the US left in the 1970s and the UK in the 1930s, is an example of a backed currency. It is the opposite of a fiat currency.
Back End – the parts of a company with which customers, other players in the marketplace, the press, and members of the public rarely come into contact. It contrasts with the front end, which communicates with customers and other external people and organizations. Back end sales are repeat sales – additional sales after the first one, by the same customer. In information technology, a back end application or program is one that services indirectly in support of front end services.
Back Office – the part of a company whose employees rarely meet customers or other outsiders. The term ‘back office’ is more commonly used in investment banking and many other types of financial firms than ‘back end’. Investment banking is said to have three offices: 1. Front Office. 2. Middle Office. 3. Back Office.
Back to Back – in business, the term refers to any transaction, document, agreement, or contract in which all the features of one appear identically or mirrored in another. A back-to-back letter of credit, for example, is one opened in favor of another beneficiary which has the same stipulations and features as a previous one.
Back-End Ratio – one of the income qualification ratios that banks and other lenders use when determining whether to approve or turn down a mortgage application. Also known as the total obligations ratio, it is calculated by adding up all monthly loan and mortgage payments, home insurance premiums, plus property taxes, and dividing the total by gross income. If the total represents more than 36% to 43% of gross income, the mortgage applicant is unlikely to get his or her loan approved.
Bad Credit – if you have bad credit it means that you have a history of not paying bills on time. It means that your credit score is low. People with an extremely low credit score did not pay back some debts at all. The higher your credit score the easier it is to get a bank loan or buy something on credit.
Bad Debt – a loan or account receivable that will not be paid. Companies write off bad debts usually as expenses. Also known as a bad loan or delinquent loan.
Bailout – the act of providing financial resources to a business or economy that is failing (to save it from going bust or defaulting). Following the 2008 financial crisis, several companies, especially major banks, were bailed out by the taxpayer in North America and Europe.
Balance Sheet – shows the financial status of a person, company or organization at a particular moment in time; usually at the end of a reporting period such as a financial year, quarter or half-year. Essentially, it is a snapshot of the entity at a given date and provides important pieces of financial information for lenders, creditors, investors, management, suppliers and other interested parties.
Balloon Loan – see Bullet Loan.
Balloon Mortgage – this is a home loan where regular, small payments are made every month over several years, and then either one giant payment or a few large ones are made at the end of the term. Also known as a balloon loan or a balloon payment mortgage.
Bank – a financial institution that is licensed to receive people’s deposits and offer loans. A bank makes money by charging more interest on its loans than it pays on customers’ deposits. There are two types of banks – commercial banks and investment banks.
Bank Capital – the storage of cash and safe assets that financial institutions hold as a cushion to protect their creditors in case assets are liquidated. The more capital a bank has, the better it can withstand financial crises.
Bank Draft – this is a type of check (UK: cheque) where the funds are taken directly from the bank. Also known as a banker’s draft, bank check or teller’s check. The payee’s name is written on the document. Bank drafts are generally used for larger payments, or when the payee will not accept a personal check.
Bankers’ Bank – a financial institution that provides services to community banks in the United States. It belongs to a group of community banks and aims to help them compete more effectively with the larger institutions.
Bankmail – an agreement between a bank and a company that the bank will not fund a rival’s acquisition plan. The agreement may be between the bank and a company wishing to acquire, or the prey, i.e. the target-firm in a hostile takeover attempt.
Banknote – a piece of paper money used by consumers, retailers and other businesses. It is issued by a central bank, which promises to pay the bearer the sum stated on demand. Physical currency in circulation consists of banknotes and coins. Also called a bill in North America or a note in the UK/Ireland.
Bank Rate – the rate at which a country’s central bank lends money to its domestic financial institutions. Commercial banks base their own interest rates (what they charge their customers) on the bank rate. Also known as the base rate, or federal discount rate in the United States.
Bank Reference – a confidential statement from a bank about one of its customers, telling the inquirer whether this person or company is a good risk for a specific financial commitment. Also known as a banker’s reference, and within financial institutions as a status inquiry.
Bank Run – when huge numbers of depositors (bank customers) start withdrawing their money because they have lost faith either in the bank, the banking system, or the overall economy. Also known as a run on the bank.
Bankruptcy – a term used to define an entity or person that is unable to pay back debts that it owes to creditors. This is a legal status which is initiated by a court order (typically by the debtor).
Banksters – bankers who work recklessly, dishonestly or fraudulently. The word is a portmanteau (blend) of bankers and gangsters. The term appeared in the early 1930s in the United States.
Bank Statement – a document listing all transactions in a customer’s bank account over a specified period (usually one month). Also called an account statement.
Bank Stress Test – this is an analysis or a simulation of events to determine how well a financial institution would cope with a financial crisis. Since 2008, most banking authorities globally have required their banks to undergo stress tests.
Barriers to entry – obstacles or hurdles that new businesses have to overcome when trying to break into a new market. Some barriers to entry are very high and make it nearly impossible for startups to get a look in. When barriers are high monopolies are more common. The opposite of ‘barriers to exit’.
Basel Accords – a list of banking regulation recommendations that were created to make sure that banks globally operate responsibly.
Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) – the international regulatory body of banking. The committee is in charge of creating banking regulation recommendations (the Basel Accords).
Bear Market / Bearish Trend – a downward-moving trend of in market prices (it is the opposite of a bull market).
Behavioral Economics – a branch of economics that applies elements of psychology to explain why humans, who tend to be irrational animals, make certain spending decisions.
Beta – more commonly known as The Beta, is a measure of an asset’s volatility; how much more or less it fluctuates compared to the market average. If something has a Beta of less than 1, it is likely to fluctuate less than the market average. Conversely, a Beta greater than one means its fluctuations in price will probably exceed the market average. Gold usually has a Beta greater than one, while Treasury Bills have a Beta of less than 1. Also known as the Beta Coefficient or β.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) – an organization containing 112 local BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It aims to foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and customers, instill consumer confidence, and contribute towards a trustworthy marketplace for all.
Big Society Capital – an entity that was set up by the British Government in April 2012. It is an independent financial institution set to help grow the social investment market.
Bitcoin -the world’s first completely decentralized digital-payment system, it is a digital currency that can be exchanged without any sort of central authority.
Black Economy – a part of the economy that is not registered. All work and business dealings are done on a cash-only basis. There are no receipts, the income is never declared, and no taxes are paid. It is also known as the shadow economy, hidden economy, underground economy, or informal sector. A significant proportion of the GDP of developing countries comes from the black economy.
Black Market – the part of the economy where goods and services are traded illegally. The Black Market does not necessarily mean the products are illegal, but the activity definitely is. Also known as the underground market or underground economy.
Block Explorer – an online tool that cryptocurrency users utilize. It allows you to search through the blockchain. With the block explorer, you can view balances, track transfers, check confirmations, and view network statistics. Each explorer works only for a specific blockchain. A Bitcoin block explorer, for example, won’t work on a Litecoin blockchain.
Blocks – part of a blockchain. Blocks are records or individual ledgers while the blockchain is the equivalent of the whole ledger book. Blocks hold batches of valid transactions; they are hashed and encoded into a hash tree. Cryptocurrencies, for example, use the blockchain network system.
Blockchain – a list of records that is growing all the time. We refer to the records as ‘blocks.’ The blocks are linked and secured using special codes, i.e., cryptography. Each block has a hash point with a timestamp and transaction data. Blockchains are the backbone of cryptocurrencies.
Blue Chip Companies – these are companies that are considered to be reliable, they have a history of performing well financially.
Blue Chip Stocks – stocks that are from blue chip companies (well known and financially strong companies that operated for many years). These stocks normally show resilience in important market indexes.
Blue Ocean Strategy – a marketing strategy in which a company tries to leave its currently-saturated market (red ocean) and enters a ‘blue ocean.’ A blue ocean is a market with no rivals, i.e., virgin territory. Two INSEAD professors, Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim, introduced the strategy in a 2005 book.
Board of Directors – a group of people who are elected as representatives of the shareholders to establish much of company policy as well as making decisions on key issues.
Bond– a bond is issued by large organizations (such as companies or governments) to borrow money. The issuer of the bond is obliged to to pay the holder interest and/or to pay back the principal in the future.
Book-to-Bill Ratio – a measurement that tells us whether customer demand is slackening or growing. Any book-to-bill ratio that is greater than one suggests demand is outstripping supply. This measurement is followed widely in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Also known as the BB ratio or BO/BI ratio.
Boss – an individual who is in charge of at least one person. A boss may be a junior supervisor, a departmental manager, a regional manager, a director, or the CEO of a giant corporation. The person you report to at work is your boss. The verb ‘to boss’ means to tell people what to do. A ‘bossy’ person is always giving orders.
Bottom Line – in the world of finance, the term refers to net profit, net income, net earnings, or earnings per share (EPS), because they appear at the bottom of a company’s financial statement. In other situations it can mean the final outcome, money owed, or the minimum amount accepted.
Bounce Rate – a measure of the proportion/percentage of web page visitors who leave the website instead of going to other pages within the same site. Webmasters aim for the lowest bounce rate possible. Some pages, such as contacts, checkout and customer support, always have high bounce rates.
Brand – one of the most important aspects of a company is a brand. A brand is “the image and personality of a product” that a company portrays – in the form of slogans, logos, etc.
Brand Management – involves using methods to improve the reputation of a certain brand or product.
Brand Loyalty – when consumers have a specific preference for a certain brand or product.
Brent Crude – a trading classification of sweet light crude oil. It is one of the main benchmark prices for oil in the world.
Brexin – the opposite of Brexit. Brexin means BRitain staying IN the European Union. Linguists say that Brexin as a term makes no sense – it should not include the word ‘exit’ within it.
Brexit – stands for Britain exiting the European Union. The term uses the first two letters of ‘Britain’, plus the whole word ‘Exit‘. A supporter of Brexit is called a Brexiteer. The opposite of Brexit is Brexin. Somebody who regrets voting for Brexit is said to Bregret his or her action.
BRIC – an acronym for “Brazil, Russia, India, and China”. A report by Goldman Sachs predicted that the four BRIC economies would be wealthier than the current world powers by 2050.
Bridge Loan – a short-term loan used by a person or company in order to secure a transaction or get short-term working capital, until an asset is sold or expected funds come in. Known as a bridging loan in the UK.
Broad Money – a measure of the money supply that usually (but now always) refers to M3. It includes currency and coins, as well as demand deposits at commercial banks, and other assets that can easily be converted into cash.
Broker – an intermediary who helps broker (effect) a transaction between a buyer and a seller. He or she usually specializes in a particular business, such as real estate or insurance. The broker charges a commission – usually a percentage of the total – for his or her services.
Budget – used as a noun, verb or adjective, the word has several meanings. 1. An estimate of the overall costs of a project. 2. A forecast of expenses and income over a specific period. 3. How much money a person, business or any entity has for a project, product or department. 4. Cheap, as in ‘a budget flight’.
Bullet Loan – a loan with a large ‘balloon’ payment at the end. The principal is not paid until the end of the term (maturity). In some cases, interest is paid in all the installments, but the principal is never paid until maturity. Also called a balloon loan.
Bull Market / Bullish Trend – an upward moving trend of market prices that are increasing in value (it is the opposite of a bear market). An investor who is bullish expects share prices to go up.
Bureaucracy – a system in which important decisions are carried out by state officials instead of elected representatives. It also refers to red tape.
Business – the word has many meanings, such as the act of buying and selling goods and services, a company, market sector, to be occupied and unavailable, to be deadly serious, issues to be dealt with, and to do a bowel movement when talking about one’s pet.
Business Acumen – a skill that experts say can be learned. People with business acumen are able to see the ‘big picture’, make good judgments and take quick decisions that usually lead to positive outcomes.
Business Administration – the term may refer either to a university course or the management of a business. At university, there are graduate and post-graduate business administration courses. Business administration in a company includes managing its finance, marketing, human resources, and business operations. It also includes accounting.
Business Agent – a person who manages the business affairs of an individual, company, union or organization. Virtually all successful professional athletes, musicians, actors, authors and artists have a business agent. They may also handle their client’s public relations, travel arrangements and personal investments.
Business Angel – a wealthy, entrepreneurial individual who invests money in early-stage start-up companies in return for a percentage ownership in the business. Some are just sleeping partners while others are actively involved in the firm they have invested in. Also known as an angel investor.
Business Case – a persuasive explanation on how a business decision will improve a product or business. It is either a written document or verbal presentation which describes a problem, possible options to address it, and reasons why one of them is the best choice. It should also include a warning of what might happen if no action is taken.
Business Cycle – also known as a boom-bust cycle, refers to the alternating periods of recession and recovery caused by fluctuations in production and trade in a market economy.
Business Driver – a process, component, resource, or rationale that influences a company’s performance. Some business drivers are under our control, while others, such as political unrest or the national economy, are not.
Business Finance – the money required to start, run, or expand a business.
Business Hours – the hours during which office people work, which is generally from 9am to 5pm in English-speaking countries, Japan and most advanced economies. The term could also refer to the times shops and/or banks are open.
Business Intelligence (BI) – a set of techniques and tools used to transform unintelligible raw data into meaningful and useful information which company managers and directors can use to give their business an edge in the marketplace.
Business Liability Insurance – a type of insurance companies have to protect them against claims for damages or injury due to negligence. There are three types: Professional Liability Insurance, Product Liability Insurance, and General Liability Insurance.
Business Manager – a person who oversees and supervises a company’s (or department’s) activities and employees. In smaller companies the business manager may be in charge of all operations.
Business Model – a business’ plan for making money. It shows how a firm creates value for itself while selling products or services to customers. For example, the business model of a restaurant is to cook meals and sell them to hungry people who will pay money for them.
Business Objective – explains in detail how a company plans to reach its goal. A business’ goal is a less specific term for where it plans to be one day, while its objective describes how it plans to get there. ‘We want to be the largest bicycle maker in the world one day,’ is an example of a goal. ‘We will increase sales by 3% per quarter over the next 12 months and open two factories in Canada and Mexico by March next year,’ is an example of an objective.
Business Park – an area of land where several companies have their offices. They are usually located in suburban areas or just outside a city. Also known as an office park.
Business Plan – a document that summarizes business goals, strategies, and financial forecasts.
Business School – a university faculty/department or independent institution that teaches degree and postgraduate level courses on business administration, business management, and other specialized business-related topics. Also called a school of business, school of business administration or school of management.
Buyer’s Market – when supply exceeds demand and goods or services take longer to sell and generally fetch a lower price. In a buyer’s market, the purchaser has the upper hand. Also known as a soft market.