Accounting, Business Studies and Economics Dictionary

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IB – International Bccalaureate

Ideal capacity - The largest volume of output possible if a facility maintained continuous operation at optimum efficiency, allowing for no losses of any kind, even those deemed normal or unavoidable; also called maximum capacity, theoretical capacity, or engineered capacity.

Idiosyncratic risk - Risk that affects only a single economic actor.

Idle balances - Money held for speculative purposes: money held in anticipation of a fall in asset prices.

Idle capacity - 1. presence of unused capacity together with insufficient raw materials or skilled labour. When idle capacity exists, a firm can take on an incremental order without increasing the fixed costs. Or 2. economic situation in which the market will not absorb all of the maximum possible output at a price exceeding the variable cost of production. Or  3. capacity that is potentially available but not currently being used, perhaps due to market pressures from competition, distribution con­straints, or management policy (such as union contract laws, holidays, overtime rules); also called excess capacity. On the other hand, increased idle capacity may represent the rewards and evidence of improved productivity and efficiencies by operations.

Idle time – The  cost of direct labour for employees unable to perform their assigned tasks because of machine breakdowns, shortage of materials, power failure, sloppy production scheduling, and the like. The cost of idle time is treated as part of factory overhead that is, as part of indirect manufacturing costs that should be spread over all the production of a period.

Illegal act – (Accounting) violation of law or governmental regulations by an audited entity or its management or employees acting on behalf of the entity.

Illiquid – 1.when the cash flow in received by the business is no insufficient to cover the debt servicing requirements of the business.  Or 2. an asset that can not be easily turned into cash.

ILO - International Labour Organisation.

Immateriality Not relevant to the decision, not requiring any further consideration consideration.

Immovable - 1. unable to be changed or moved. Or 2. assets consisting of buildings, land, or other permanent immovable items.

Impact statement - A document that analyses the projected effects of a contemplated project. A primary reference point within this statement concerns probable externalities (e.g., negative implications to the environment). An example would be the proposal of a large industrial corporation located on an upriver site to dump some level of pollutants into the air and streams. The proposal would lead to an environmental impact statement about the effects upon health.

Imperfect competition (market) - The collective name for monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly.

Impersonal accounts - Divided between real accounts and nominal accounts.

Implicit costs - Costs which do not involve a direct payment of money to a third party, but which nevertheless involve a sacrifice of some alternative.

Implicit GDP deflator - An index number derived by dividing GDP, measured in current dollars, by GDP, measured in constant dollars, and multiplying by 100 .In effect, a price index, with current-year quantity weights, measuring the average change in price of all the items in the GDP. Also called GDP deflator.

Import– Goods and services which enter the country are brought from foreigners.

Imported inflation - A rise in prices, as a result of exchange rate changes, which raise the price of materials or components brought into a country.

Import quota - A limit set by the government on the quantity of a foreign product that may be shipped into that country in a given time period.

Import-substituting industrialisation (ISI) - A strategy of restricting imports of manufactured goods and using the foreign exchange saved to build up domestic substitute industries.

Import substitution - The process by which many LDCs have attempted to industrialise, i.e. manufacturing consumer goods themselves rather importing them.

Impound -  To take custody of and seize property or money by some legal action (e.g., court mandate).

Imprest System- A reimbursement system whereby the total petty cash payment is reimbursed to the original sum in hand.

Imputed cost - 1. the cost of an service, asset, or business that is implied but not physically reflected in the accounts of the firm. Or 2. the costs of using factors of production already owned by the firm, measured by the earnings they could have received in their best alternative use.

Imputed value - The implicit or underlying value that is not recorded in the accounts of the firm.

Inadequacy - The loss or expense that is incurred by virtue of lost or reduced capacity, technological obsolescence, and/or abnormal wear and tear and that requires premature replacement or abandonment.

Incentive - A reward given to employees to encourage them to work harder.  People respond to incentives. It is important, therefore, that incentives are appropriate and have the desired effect.

Income - Money received by a business from its commercial activities. See 'revenue'.

Income-consumption line - 1. a curve showing the relationship for a product between quantity demanded and income, ceteris paribus. Or 2. a curve drawn on an indifference curve diagram and connecting the points of tangency between a set of indifference curves and a set of parallel budget lines, showing how the consumption bundle changes as income changes, with relative prices being held constant.

Income deduction – Non operating expenses of an organisation that are listed in the final section of the income statement before arriving at net income.

Income effect (of a price change) - The effect of a change in price on quantity demanded arising from the consumer becoming better or worse off as a result of the price change.

Income effect of a rise in wage rates - Workers get a higher income for a given number of hours worked and may thus feel they need to work fewer hours as wage rates rise.

Income effect of a tax rise - Tax increases reduce people's incomes and thus encourage people to work more.

Income elasticity of demand - The percentage change in the quantity demanded divided by the percentage change in money income; the responsiveness of the quantity demanded to changes in income.

Income smoothing - the measures taken to reduce the probability or likelihood of sudden income shocks prior to them occurring,  strategies used include diversification of income sources;  building up or stockpiling human, physical, and social assets; trying to make low-risk employment and production choices; and ensuring good financial control and management procedures are used.

Incomes policy - Any direct intervention by the government to influence wage and price formation.

Income statement - The statement  showing the elements used in arriving at a company's net income for the accounting period; also called profit and loss statement.

For example:

Sales

Less: Cost of sales

Gross profit

Less: Operating expenses (including selling expenses and

general & administrative expenses)

Net profit

Income summary accountA temporary  account recorded in the general ledger which is used to summarise the revenue & expenses for the financial period.

Income tax - Government levy on the net earnings of an individual, corporation, or other taxable unit.

Income tax payableIs a liability showing the income taxes now due this includes the current portion (due) of any deferred taxes.

Incompetence The inability to use or lack of the physical ability or intellectual capacity or qualifications.

Incorporated – The legal state of existence signifying that a corporate entity has been recognised under the appropriate law.

Incorporation - The legal process by which a business becomes incorporated i.e. a limited company.

Increasing opportunity costs of production - When additional production of one good involves ever increasing sacrifices of another.

Increasing returns - A situation in which output increases more than in proportion to inputs as the scale of a firm's production increases. A firm in this situation, with fixed factor prices, is a decreasing cost firm.

Incremental The process of increasing gradually or by small steps through the regular increase in degrees or additions.

Incremental cost - The increase or decrease in costs as a result of one more or one less unit of output.

Incur - This is used to describe the situation where a business has acquired or got itself into a situation which is not desirable or has made itself subject to a form of liability e.g. to incurring the cost or to incur a debt.

IndentureThe legal document that specifically states the conditions under which a bond has been issued, the rights of the bondholders, and the duties of the issuing corporation; also called bond indenture or deed of trust.

Independence (Accounting) The condition of accountant having no bias and being neutral regarding the client or another party in performing the audit function.

Independence (of firms in a market) - Where the decisions of one firm in a market will not have any significant effect on the demand curves of its rivals.

Independent risks - Where two risky events are unconnected. The occurrence of one will not affect the likelihood of the occurrence of the other.

Independent variable - A variable that may take on any value in a relationship.

Indexation - Automatic change in any money payment in proportion to the change in the price level.

Index linked bond - A secure investment measured in  real terms, as the bond payments and any redemption payments or proceeds are linked to movements in the CPI (Consumer Prices Index).

Index number - An average that measures change over time of such variables as the price level and industrial 'production; conventionally expressed as a percentage relative to a base period, which is assigned the value 100.

Indicative planning - A system which involves the government setting up general targets for the major sectors of the economy in order to guide the private sector in their decision taking.

Indifference curve An economic concept, an indifference curve is a graph or diagram which shows the combinations of two different goods at which point an individual or firm is indifferent, that is to say has equal utility, or has no difference in their preference for one combination as compared to the other.

Indifference point - The point which is on an indifference curve where the different compared values cross or intersect.

Indirect cost or overhead – A cost which cannot be identified with a particular unit of output. 2) Is that part or percentage of a cost which indirectly is expensed in providing or producing a product / service for sale (the firm is unable to directly this to a single product). e.g. rent, maintenance, utilities, etc

Indirect tax - A tax imposed on expenditure.

Indirect taxes - Taxes on expenditure ( e.g. value added tax (VAT)) Paid to the tax authorities, not by the consumer but indirectly by the suppliers of the goods or services.

Indivisibilities - The impossibility of dividing factor into smaller units.

Induced investment - Investment that firms make to enable them to meet extra consumer demand

Induced spending - A variable which depends on the level of income is said to be induced.

Inducement - A reward for a specific behaviour, designed to encourage that behaviour; also called incentive.

Induction - The introduction of a new employee to the business.

Induction training - Introduction given to a new employee, explaining the firm's organisational structure, activities and procedures.

Industrial action - Steps taken by the trade unions to decrease or halt production.

Industrial countries - Developed countries or the North. Countries in which most people have a high standard of living with many goods and services. There are 19 such countries representing less than 20% of the world's population.

Industrial inertia - The tendency for firms in the same industry to locate in the same region even when the original locational advantages have disappeared.

Industrial policies - Policies to encourage industrial investment and greater industrial efficiency.

Industrial tribunal - A legal meeting which considers workers complaints of unfair dismissal or discrimination at work.

Industrial union - A trade union which represents all types of workers in a particular industry.

Industry - The people or companies engaged in a particular kind of commercial enterprise. For example the mining industry.

Industry analysis - Is an analysis of various key factors relating to the industry.  It may include an analysis of the industry life cycle, the history of the industry, an in-depth ratio analysis of the industries financial performance, a review of how differing trends such as seasonal fluctuations affect the industry, external influences on the industry such as government laws and a review of levels of competition both present and future for the specific industry.

Inelastic demand - The situation in which, for a given percentage change in price, there is a smaller percentage change in quantity demanded; elasticity less than unity.

Infant industry - An industry that has a potential comparative advantage, but which is as yet too underdeveloped to be able to realise this potential.

Infant industry argument - The argument that new domestic industries with potential for economies of scale or learning by doing need to be protected from competition from established, low-cost foreign producers so that they can grow large enough to achieve costs as low as those of foreign producers.

Infant mortality rate - The number of live-born infants who die before one year of age per 1000 of the population. This statistic is highly correlated with health care and nutrition standards.

Inferior good - A good for which income elasticity is negative.

Inflation - A rise in the average level of all prices.

Inflation accounting - A method of reporting that allows for the financial effects of changes in the price level.

Inflation adjustment - Whenever any figure has an adjustment made for inflation or deflation.

Inflationary gap - A situation in which actual national income exceeds potential income.

Inflation tax - The revenue the government raises by creating money.

Informal groups - Groups made up of individual business with similar interests. They are not part formal business organisation.

Informal organisation – The relationship between employees that are based on common interests of employees.

Information asymmetries - Sources of market failure that arise when one party to a transaction has more information relevant to the transaction than the other party.

Information and communication technology – The use of technology to deliver messages and data from groups, individuals or businesses to others.

Informationally efficient - Reflecting all available information in a rational way.

Information system – A system of transforming raw data into useful information for a decision maker.

Information technology - The recording and use of information by electronic means.

Informative advertising - Advertising where the emphasis of advertising or sales promotion is to give full information about the product.

Initiate To get going or start by taking or implementing first step, e.g., initiate wage negotiations.

Injections (J) - Income earned by domestic firms that does not arise out of the spending of domestic households and income earned by domestic households that does not arise out of the spending of domestic firms.  Injections equal investment (I) plus government expenditure (G) plus expenditure on exports (X).

In kind - The value or worth of goods and/or services that have been provided instead of money would being paid.

Inland revenue - The government department usually responsible for collecting your tax.

Innovation - The introduction of an invention into methods of production.

Innovators - Individuals who tend to solve problems by finding new, exciting and unexpected solutions to problems in a business.

Inputs - Intermediate products and factor services that are used in the process of production.

Input-output analysis - This involves dividing the economy into sectors where each sector is a user of inputs from and a supplier of outputs to other sectors. The technique examines how these inputs and outputs can be matched to the total resources available in the economy.

Inquiry - A request for information or, an investigation.

Insertion order - Marketing, refers to an agreement that specifies or instructs a media outlet about aspects related to a specific advertising campaign.

Inside information - Privileged information obtained regarding material business results and pending security transactions that will not be made public until a certain date. Taking advantage of inside information for the purpose of making a profit is illegal (called insider trading).

Insiders - Those in employment who can use their privileged position (either as members of unions or because of specific skills) to secure pay rises despite an excess supply of labour (unemployment) or 2) Insiders are all people who get possession or learn of  of material (inside information) prior to its public release.

Insider tradingRefers to the buying and selling of the company'ssecurities based on material information relating to the company that has not been made public. Insider trading according to this definition is against the law in most countries

Insolvent - A company is insolvent if it has insufficient funds (all of its assets) to pay its debts (all of its liabilities).

Instalment sale The  selling property/items and receiving the sales price via a series of different payments, instead of receiving all the cash at once or at the time the sale was closed.

Insurance- An agreement through an insurance contract, termed a policy, that one party, for an agreed premium, will provide insurance or pay the insured a specified sum of money, contingent upon the specified conditions within the insurance contract, such as loss of life or property of the insured.

Insurance claim - A written letter or form notifying the insurance company of a  request for payment of an amount specified and due under the terms of the insurance policy.

Intangible assets - Assets of a non-physical or financial nature. An asset such as a loan or an endowment policy are good examples.  Also called intangiblesand include trademarks, goodwill, patents, copyrights  catalogs, brands, franchises, formulas, and mailing lists, net of  the accumulated amortisation.

Integrated software – A software package that combines many applications in one program.  For example MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) software package integrates the accounting software with database software.

Intellectual capital - Intellectual capital is a term which bundles a variety of knowledge resources such as copyright and patent together. Intellectual capital enables a firm to charge users of its knowledge resources.

Intellectual property - An intangible asset assets of property that is said to be the result of the creativity of an individual or firm, e.g. trademarks, patents or copyrights.

Itemised deductions - Are amounts paid by the individual taxpayer relating to his/her personal and/or quasi-business expenses that under tax law can be  legally deducted in the calculation of their tax liability , e.g. medical expenses, charitable contributions, casualty and theft losses, and other certain and other sundry expenses.

Inter-company - Means an event that is occurring between different  companies.

Interdependence (under oligopoly) - One of the two key features of oligopoly. Each firm will be affected by its rivals" decisions.' Likewise its decisions will affect its rivals. Firms recognise this interdependence. This recognition will affect their decisions.

Interest - 1. the payment for current rather than future command over resources; the cost of obtaining credit. Or 2. the payment for the use of borrowed money. Or 3. the return paid to owners of capital.

Interest bearing - Means that these items pay interest.

Interest cover (coverage) - Asses a firm’s ability to meet interest  payments by comparing profit and interest payable.It is calculated: income before interest and taxes divided by interest.

Interest expense - The cost of borrowing funds or the price paid for money in the current fiscal period. It is classified as a financial expense in the income statement.

Interest rate- The rate, often expressed as a percentage per annum charged on money borrowed or lent. The interest rate may be variable or fixed.  The various types of interest rates are: 1) prime (interest) rate: rate charged on business loans to the most credit-worthy customers by the nation's leading banks. The prime rate fluctuates with changing supply and demand relationships for short ­term funds. (2) Nominal or stated interest rate: predetermined loan rate. The stated interest rate often differs from the effective interest rate.

Interim audit 1. an audit which is conducted during the fiscal year for the purpose of minimising the work and or time that would be taken otherwise to conclude the audit after the end of the fiscal year. Or 2. An audit for an interim period e.g. quarterly statements.

Interim dividend - The declaration of a dividend and subsequent payment prior to annual earnings being finalised.

Interim statement - Is a statement issued for an accounting period of less than one year, such as quarterly or monthly.

Internalising an externality - Altering incentives so that people take account of the external effects of their actions.

Intermediate products - All outputs that are used as inputs by other producers in a further stage of production.

Intermediate targets - Variables that the government cannot control directly and does not seek to control ultimately, yet that have an important influence on policy variables.

Internal communication - Messages between people working in the same organisation.

Internal economies of scale - Scale economies that result from the firm's own actions and hence are available to it by raising its own output.

Internal value of the dollar - The purchasing power of the dollar measured in terms of domestic goods and services; changes in the internal value of the dollar are measured by changes in an index of U.S. prices.

Internal growth - Occurs when a business expands its existing operations.

Internal recruitment - The vacancy is filled by someone who is an existing employee of the business.

Internal sources - Sources of information within the company, used to compile market research as a basis for marketing decisions.

Internalisation - A process that results in a producer or consumer taking account of a previously external effect.

Intermediate areas - Similar to development areas, but not as 'economically deprived'.

Intermediaries - Firms which act as a link between producers and consumers in a channel of distribution. 2) Are the person or institution empowered to be the intermediary in making investment decisions for others. Examples: banks, insurance companies,  savings and loan institutions, brokerage firms, credit unions and mutual funds.

Internal audit - Is an independent appraisal process established and conducted within a firm or other organisation aimed at examining and subsequently evaluating its the activates under audit. The main objective of internal auditing is normally  to provide assistance to the members of the firm or organisation in order to help the effective discharge of their duties and responsibilities.

Internal auditor - An auditor who is employed directly buy a company to audit its activities over the year. They internal auditor normally will report directly to the board of corporation.

Internal controls -  These include the policies and various procedures that (a) relate maintaining accurate and reasonably specifically detailed records, (b) aimed at providing a reasonable level of assurance that the transactions the firm has had are properly recorded and properly authorised, and (c) help to ensure that assets are safeguarded.

Internal rate of return (IRR) - The rate of return (x) at which net present value is zero.

International accounting standards (IAS) – A set of international accounting and reporting standards that will help to har­monize company financial information, improve the transparency of accounting, and ensure that investors receive more accurate and con­sistent reports. Statements of International Accounting Standards issued by the Board of the International accounting standards committee (IASC) between 1973 and 2001 are designated International Accounting Standards.

International accounting standards board (IASB) (www.iasb.org) - An independent regulatory body, based in the United Kingdom, that aims to develop a single set of global accounting standards.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (I.B.R.D.) - More commonly known as the World Bank. An international financial institution owned by it's member countries responsible for channeling interest bearing loans and technical assistance to poor countries. The World Bank borrows in turn from world markets.

International harmonisation of economic policies - Where countries attempt to co-ordinate their macroeconomic policies so as to achieve common goals.

International liquidity - The supply of currencies in the world acceptable for financing international trade and investment.    

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - An international organisation that monitors members' balance of payments and exchange rate activities.

International trade multiplier - The effect on national income in country B of a change in exports (or imports) of country A.

Internet - System of linked smaller computer networks, international in scope, that facilitates data communication such as file transfer, elec­tronic mail, and newsgroups between different entities.

Interperiod tax allocation - Refers to the process of apportioning the  correct levels of income taxes to the correct accounting periods.

Interquartile range - The range between the central 50 percent of a set of data.

Intervention price (in the CAP) - The price at which the EU is prepared to buy a foodstuff if the market price were to be below it.         .

Interventionist supply-side policies - Policies to increase aggregate supply by government intervention to counteract the. deficiencies of the market.

In the black - Making money, opposite  "in the red."

In the red - Losing money,  opposite  "in the black."

Intracompany - When the action takes place between the different branches or employees of a firm or organisation.

Intranet The private network used within the company. An intranet serves the internal needs of the business entity. Intranet users are able to access the Internet, but firewalls keep outsiders from accessing confidential data.

Intrinsic value - This is used to mean value of a resource as considered unto itself, regardless of what value it has to people or on the market.

Invention - The creation of something new, such as a production technique or a product.

Inventories - Stocks of raw materials, goods in process, and finished goods held by firms to mitigate the effect of short term fluctuations in production or sales.

Inventory - A subsidiary ledger which is usually used to record the details of individual items of stock. Inventories can also be used to hold the details of other assets of a business. See perpetual inventory , periodic inventory .

Inventory accumulation - The build-up of Inventory caused often by unplanned or unexpected events, e.g., sales falling due to new competitor.

Inventory control – The monitoring the supplies, raw materials, work in process, and finished goods by various accounting and reporting methods. Some controls are the maintenance of detailed stock records showing receipts and issuances; Inventory ledger showing quantities and dollars; and written policies regarding purchasing, receiving, inspection, and handling.

Inventory obsolescence - When Inventory is considered to be no longer saleable at normal rates. Possibly due to changes fashion or new technology.

Inventory shrinkage/spoilage/wastage - The reduction of the physical quantity of a firms Inventory that is not easy to explain. A common cause of shrinkage may be theft.

Inventory turnover - The ratio that shows the number of times Inventory is sold and subsequently replaced over a specific time period.

Inventory valuation - determination of the cost assigned to raw materials Inventory, work in process, finished goods, and any other inventory item. Various methods are allowed in valuing Inventory including last in ,first out (LIFO), first in, first out (FIFO), an weighted average. Inventory is valued at the lower of cost or market value applied on either an item-by-item basis, a category basis, or a total basis.

Inverse relationship -A relationship that is negative;" such that an increase in one variable is associatedwith a decrease in the other, and a decrease in one variable is associated with an increase in the other.

Investment (Accounting) - Refers to the purchase of  stocks,  real property, collectible annuities, bonds, etc, with the reason being the firm expects to make a capital gain, income return or both, over the future.

Investment (Economics) - Expenditure on the production of goods not for present consumption.

Investment appraisal - The evaluation of an investment project to determine whether or not it is likely to be worthwhile.

Investment banker - An underwriter who acts as the middleman between a company that is issuing new securities and the general public.

Investment centre - The responsibility centre within an organisation that has control over the revenue, cost, and the investment funds. It is normally a profit centre that performance is bases on and evaluated via the return earned on the amount of invested capital.

Investment goods - Goods that are produced not for present consumption, such as capital goods, inventories, and residential housing.

Investment manager - The responsible person or entity that makes the day-to-day decisions about investments.

Investment turnover - A measure of profitability which is used in the calculate of the number of times per period an individual or collective set of investments and/or assets turnover.

Invisible account - A form of balance of payments account that records payments and receipts arising out of trade in services and payments for the use of capital. Also called services account.

Invisible balance - The balance of all items on the current account of the balance of payments except for exports and imports of goods.

Invisibles - All items of foreign trade that are intangible services as opposed to goods.

Invoice - A term describing an original document either issued by a business for the sale of goods on credit (a sales invoice) or received by the business for goods bought (a purchase invoice).

Involuntary unemployment - Unemployment due to the inability of qualified persons who are seeking work to find jobs at the going wage rate.

Inward investment - The setting up of business, or investment in business, by a company from another country.

IOU – Used to refer to an informal debt agreement or instrument in the form of a written or unwritten promise to pay back the monies owed; e.g., a personal loan and/or the payment for services rendered.

IPO (Initial public offering) - The first / primary offering of stock/shares to the public via listing on a public stock exchange.

Irrelevant cost - Management accounting – Means it has no impact on the decision needing to be considered.

IRS - Internal Revenue Service.

ISO 9000 - Certification standards developed by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) that serve as a basis for qual­ity standards for global manufacturers.

Isoquant - A curve showing all technologically efficient factor combinations for producing a specified amount of output.

Isoquant map - A series of isoquants from the same pro­duction function, each isoquant relating to a specific level of output.

Issued share capital ­– Amount of current share capital arising from the sale of shares.

Issuing house – Any institution that deals with the sale of new shares

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