Accounting, Business Studies and Economics Dictionary

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Sacrifice ratio - The number of percentage points of annual output lost in the process of reducing inflation by 1 percentage point.

Safe harbour rule A legal concept whereby a person who has meet the required listed rules and requirements is protected from any adverse legal proceedings. Frequently, safe harbours tend to be applied where any legal restrictions and/or requirement are ambiguous and therefore carry a risk of being punished for a violation which was unintended.

Safety margin Refers to the excess of actual sales over break-even sales. If the break-even point is 4000 units and actual sales volume is 4400 units, a safety margin of 400 units exists.

Safety stock Refers to the extra units of inventory carried as protection against possible stock outs.

Salary - The  scheduled remuneration an employer pays to an employee.  It is normally paid on a monthly or year basis as different from wages which are paid on a hourly basis.

Sale and repurchase agreement (repos) - An agreement between two financial institutions whereby one in effect borrows from another by selling it assets, agreeing to buy them back (repurchase them) at a fixed price and on a fixed date.

Sales - Income received from selling goods or a service.

Sales allowance - The reduction in the selling price of goods because of a particular problem (e.g., breakage, quality deficiency, incorrect quantity).

Sales budget -  Is a budget of the expected sales in both dollars and units.

Sales discount - A cash given by the seller to the purchaser for early payment of the account due.

Sales forecast - The projection or prediction of future sales.  This is the starting point of the budgeting process.

Sales invoice – The source document which records the sale of an item on credit from a firm to the customer.

Sales journal  (sales day-book) – The book of first entry in which credit sales are recorded.

Sales ledger - A subsidiary ledger which holds the accounts of a business's customers. A control account is held in the general ledger (usually called a debtors' control account) which shows the total balance of all the accounts in the sales ledger.

Sales / receivables  (Receivables Turnover) - The ratio that is a measure of the number of times accounts receivables (debtors) turn over during any given year. The higher the ratio of receivables turnover, the shorter the period of time between sale and the collection of cash. It is indication of the speed that a firm is getting paid for its sales.

Sales mix Refers to relative proportions of the product sold i.e. the combination and percentage of each different item sold as a percentage of the whole.

Sales mix variance – Refers to the effect on profit of selling a different proportionate mix of products than had been budgeted.

Sales price variance Refers to the difference between actual selling price per unit and the budgeted selling price per unit, multiplied by the actual number of units sold.

Sales order (contract) - The contract by which buyer and seller agree to the terms and conditions of a sale.

Sales return (return inwards) - The merchandise given back to the seller because of defects.

Sales revenue - The income during a period of time from the sale of goods and services.

Sales revenue maximisation - Producing a level of output where sales revenue is greatest, where average revenue is equal to average cost or unit cost.

Sales tax A tax based on a percentage of the selling price of the goods or service that the buyer must pay.

Salvage (scrap) value – 1. the scrap value or the amount of money a dealer of junk will pay. Or 2. the amount the asset is expected to sell for after all the  depreciation has been removed/deducted from the historical cost of a fixed asset. Or 3. the realisable value of a fixed asset after deducting costs associated with its sale.

Sales volume variance - The difference between the actual number of units sold and the budgeted number, multiplied by the budgeted selling price per unit

Sample - A group of consumers selected from the population.

Sampling – Refers to the process of selecting items from a population to reach a conclusion about the population.

S&P 500 -  Standard and Poors (S&P) 500.

Satisficing - A hypothesised objective of firms to achieve levels of performance deemed satisfactory rather than to maximise some objective. 2) To decide on and pursue a course of action that will satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to achieve a particular goal.

SavingIncome minus consumption. Saving is measured in the national income accounts as disposable income minus consumers' expenditure.

Saving function - The relationship between saving and disposable income.

Savings accountsOn demand accounts maintained by banks, savings & loan associations, credit unions, and mutual savings banks that pay interest but can not be used directly as money.

Scan – Is  to read through a document rather hastily.

Scarce good - A commodity for which the quantity demanded exceeds the quantity supplied at a price of zero; therefore, a good that commands a positive price in a market economy.

Scarcity - The state in which wants exceed the amount that available resources can produce.  Scarcity is the excess of human wants over what can actually be produced. "Because of scarcity, various choices have to be made between alternatives.

Scatter graph - A graph showing the performance of or variable against another independent variable on a variety of occasions. It is used to show whether a correlation exists between the variables.

Schedule -   1. to prioritise, arrange, or position with respect to a finite time period. Or 2. supporting set of calculations, data, information, or analysis that shows or amplifies how figures in primary statements are derived. An example is a schedule for an aging of accounts. Or 3. assignment of work to a facility and the specification of the sequence and timing of the work. Or 4. auditor's set of working papers for an audit.

Scientific management - A theory that suggests that there is a 'best' way to perform work tasks.

Scope –  Refers to the aspects of an audit concerning the procedures employed , the extent of what was done, and the financial items examined.

Scrap Refers to the sales value of scrap. Scrap is residue from manufacturing operations that has relatively minor recovery value.

Scrap value  – Salvage value.

Screening - An action taken by an uninformed party to induce an informed party to reveal information.

Search theory - This examines people's behaviour under conditions of ignorance where it takes time to search for information.

Search unemployment - Unemployment caused by people continuing to search for a good job rather than accepting the first job that they come across after they become unemployed (also called frictional (search) unemployment).

Seasonality Refers to seasonal variation in business or economic activity that takes place on a recurring basis. Seasonality may be caused by various factors, such as weather, vacation, and holidays.

Seasonal unemployment - Unemployment due to seasonality in demand or supply of a particular good or service.

SEC - Securities and Exchange Commission.

Secondary action - Industrial action taken against a company not directly involved in a dispute (e.g. a supplier of raw materials to a firm whose employees are on strike).

Secondary data - Data which is already in existence. It is normally used for a purpose other than that for which it was collected.

Secondary labour market - The market for peripheral workers, usually employed on a temporary or part-time basis, or a less secure 'permanent' basis.

Secondary picketing - Where union members from one  place of work picket an unrelated place of work.

Secondary production - Activities such as manufacturing which transform raw materials into finished goods.

Secondary research - The use of information that has already been collected and is available for use by others. Also called desk research.

Secondary school enrolment rate - The number of children of secondary school age, usually 12 to 17 years, who are enrolled at school as a percentage of the age group.

Secondary sector - Industry which manufactures goods using the raw materials provided by the primary sector.

Secured -  An obligation that is backed by a commitment of collateral. This is the opposite of being unsecured.

Secured liabilityIs a liability or obligation secured by a pledge of assets that can be sold, if necessary, to ensure payment

Security -  1. collateral in support of debt. An example is real estate that serves as security for a bank loan. Or 2. financial instrument that shows ownership, such as an equity item (e.g., stock), debt instrument (e.g., bond, note), or right (e.g., option).

Seed money – Usually refers to funds put up by venture capitalists to finance a newbusiness.

Segment - A functional or responsibility area within a business that can be reported upon separately.

Segmented reporting - The process of reporting activities of various segments of an organisation such as divisions, product lines, or sales territories.

Segment revenue - The revenue, which is reasonably allocable or directly attributable  to a  specific segment.

Selective credit controls - Controls on credit imposed through such means as margin requirements, restrictions on instalment buying, and minimum down payments on mortgages.

Sellers' preferences - Allocation of commodities in excess demand by decisions of the sellers.

Self-actualisation - A level on Maslow's hierarchy where an employee realises his or her full potential.

Self constructed assetRefers to the process whereby an entity makes it own assets.

Self-employed - A worker who makes his or her own decisions about accepting work and conditions of work, and pays his or her own tax and National insurance contributions

Self-fulfilling speculation - The actions of speculators tend to cause the very effect that they had anticipated.

Self-sufficiency - A state that occurs when each individual consumes only what he or she produces.

Selling, general & administrative expense (SG & A) - The expenses involved in running a business..

Selling short – Refers to the  selling of securities (or commodities futures contracts) not owned by the seller. The investor (seller) earns a profit when the market price of the security declines, and loses money when the purchase price is higher than the original selling price.

Semi-variable cost - A cost which consists of both fixed and variable elements. It does vary with volume changes, but, different to a variable cost, it does not vary in any direct or proportional way. This cost contains both variable and fixed elements, e.g., a rented car may have a fixed fee for rent rental, but contains a variable fee for kilometres travelled.

Separable costsRefers to all costs incurred after or beyond the split-off point that are the assigned to the individual products.

Sequentially – The recognition that activity costs are governed by a logical order that mirrors how work is performed.

Service - This is normally used to describe the sale of an activity that someone does for you rather than the sale of a good i.e. a haircut.

Service business - Is a type of business entity which provides services of labour in a wide variety of different sectors, e.g., education, health care and hair care.

Service contractRefers to a contract offered by a firm for the maintenance and/or repair of a particular a product after its manufacturer's warranty expires.

Services - Things purchased by consumers that do not have physical characteristics. Examples of services are those obtained from doctors, teachers, actresses and shop assistants. 

Set-aside - A system in the EU (European Union) of paying farmers not to use a certain proportion of their land.

Set of accounts – Refers to a group of ledger accounts that a particular firm adopts.

Set-off -  Refers to the discharging of a debt by the off-setting against it a specific claim that is in the favour of that specified debtor.

Settlement date Is the date at which a security transaction must be paid by the buyer and the securities delivered by the seller.

Setup costs – Refers to expenses incurred each time a batch is produced. It consists of engineering cost of setting up the production runs or machines, paperwork cost of processing the work order, and ordering cost to provide raw materials for the batch.

Severance pay - An amount payable to an employee on termination of contract.

Share Refers to one individual unit or share of ownership in a  mutual fund, company, limited partnership, etc.

Share buy back - When a company makes an offer to buy back some of its own shares.

Share capital - Money introduced into the business through the sale of shares.

Shareholders - The the owners of a limited company; they have bought shares which represent part ownership of a company.

Share premium - The value paid for a share of a new share issue above the par value.  i.e. if the par value is $1.00 and $1.50 is paid the share premium is $.50.

Shares (stock) - These are  a document that is issued by the company to its shareholders (owners) that states the number of shares in that company the  shareholder owns.

Shares issued (aka Shares outstanding) - This refers to the number of shares that a company has in total issued to its shareholders.

Shelf life – The  specified time period of time which a product can be stored, under specified conditions, and remain in optimum condition and suitable for use or consumption.

Shoe leather costs - The resources wasted when inflation encourages people to reduce their money holdings.

Shop steward - An elected union official who represents workers' interests in the place in which the shop steward works.

Short run - A period of time in which the quantities of some inputs are fixed while others can be varied.

Short-run aggregate supply - The relationship between the aggregate quantity of final goods and services (real GNP) supplied and the price level (the GNP deflator), holding everything else constant.

Short-run aggregate supply curve - A curve showing the relation between the price level of final output and the quantity of output supplied on the assumption that all factor prices are held constant.

Short-run equilibrium - Generally, equilibrium subject to fixed factors or other things that cannot change over the time period being considered. For a competitive firm, the output at which market price equals marginal cost; for a competitive industry, the price and output at which industry demand equals short-run industry supply and all firms are in short-run equilibrium. Either profits or losses are possible.

Short-run Phillips curve - Shows the relationship between inflation and unemployment, holding the expected inflation rate and the natural rate of unemployment constant.

Short-run shut-down point - This is where the AR curve is tangential to the AVC curve. The firmcan only just cover its variable costs. Any fall in revenue below this level will cause a profit maximising firm to shut down immediately.

Short-run supply curve - A curve showing the relationship between quantity supplied and market price, with one or more fixed factors; it is the horizontal sum of marginal cost curves (above the level of average variable costs) of all firms in a perfectly competitive industry.

Short termIn accounting is used encompasses a period of twelve months or less.

Short term asset - An asset expected to be converted into cash within the normal operating cycle (usually one year), e.g. accounts receivable and Inventory.

Short term debt - Is money payable by the debtor to the creditor within one year.

Short term liability - A liability that will come due within one year or less.

ShrinkageRefers to the excess of inventory shown on the books over actual quantities on hand. It can result from theft, evaporation, or general wear and tear.

Shutdown point - The level of output and price at which the firm is just covering its total variable cost .

Sight deposits - Deposits that can be withdrawn on demand without penalty.

Sight draft Refers to a draft which is payable on demand.

Signalling - An action taken by an informed party to reveal private information to an uninformed party.

SignificanceIs often used to mean something that is not expressly stated but can be inferred, e.g. the significance of an increase in product demand can only be known after the financial effects are calculated.

Significant - Is important, essential, distinctive, or of sufficient nature to warrant special notice relative to a standard or norm.

Silent partnershipMeans a partner  who furnishes capital only, i.e., the partner is not involved in the day-to-day operations or decisions of the entity.

Simple interest - Refers to the interest applied only to the original sum that was invested (different from compound interest ).

Simple multiplier - The ratio of the change in equilibrium national income to the change in autonomous expenditure that brought it about, calculated for a constant price level.

Simulation - A technique which imitates what might happen in reality by using random numbers.

Single entry bookkeeping Refers to a simple bookkeeping system in which all transactions are recorded in a single record (e.g., a cheque book that indicates expenditures only).

Single European market - An agreement by EU countries remove all barriers to trade.

Single-union agreement - A firm will only deal with one particular trade union and no others.

Sign off Refers to the approval or agreement by an authorised person e.g. to sign-off on a purchase contract.

Sinking fund - Refers to an account that was set up in order to reduce another account over time to zero (using the principles of straight-line depreciation or amortisation). When the fund reaches the value of the account, both are removed from the business's balance sheet.

Sit-in/Work-in - The illegal occupation of premises by workers, which allows workers to gain control of the factory.

Size distribution of income - The distribution of income among households, without regard to source of income or social class of households.

Skills shortages - Where potential employees do not have the skills demanded by employers.

Skimming pricing – Is a pricing strategy used when a new product is introduced. It involves setting a high initial price primarily to recoup research and development investments; the price is progressively lowered as time passes and competition sets in.

Slippage Refers to the difference between estimated transactions costs and actual transactions costs.

Slope - The ratio of the vertical change to the horizontal change between two points on a curve.

Smart targets – Targets that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based.

SME - Small and Medium Enterprises (ie. small and medium size businesses). The is no clear distinctions between what is a small or medium sized business.

Smoothing Method used in forecasting trends, seasonality and level change, e.g. averaging month-to-month fluctuations. Works well with data that has a lot of randomness.

Social audit - A process for evaluating, reporting on, and improving an organisation's performance and behavior, and for measuring its effects on society. The social audit can be used to produce a measure of the social responsibility of an organisation. It takes into account any internal code of conduct as well as the views of all stakeholders and draws on best practice factors of total quality management and human resource development. Like internal auditing, social auditing requires an organisation to identify what it is seeking to achieve, who the stakeholders are, and how it wants to measure performance.

Social auditing - The process by which a business evaluates the effect of its activities on all of its stakeholders.

Social benefit - Private benefit plus externalities in consumption.

Social capital/cohesionRefers to networks, together with shared norms, values and understandings which facilitate cooperation within or among those groups for mutual benefit.

Social cost - Private cost plus externalities in production

Social efficiency - Production and consumption at the point where marginal social benefit equals marginal social cost (MSB = MSC). An equitable and desirable outcome for society. Markets generally fail to achieve social efficiency. There are various types of market failure. Market failures provide one of the major justifications for government intervention in the economy.

Social impact statement Is used to evaluative and detailed report to assess the effect and consequences of the public-interest, non-profit activities of an entity.

Socialism - An economic system based on state ownership of land and on a centrally planned allocation of resources.

Social regulation - The regulation of economic behavior to advance social goals when competition and economic regulation will fail to achieve those goals.

Social responsibility - The responsibility that a business  has towards those directly or indirectly affected by its activities.

Soft landing - This term is used to describe the economy slowing enough to eliminate the need for the government to further raise interest rates to dampen activity but not enough to threaten a recession, which is what results when the economy contracts instead of expands. Hard landing, on the hand, could mean a recession. 

Soft loan - A loan with an element of concession or aid in it i.e. the conditions are more favourable than market conditions.

Sole-proprietor - The self-employed owner of a business (see self-employed ).

Sole trader  - A business organisation which has a single owner.

Solow residual - Growth in GDP that cannot be accounted for by increased use of capital and labour.

Solvent - The condition of a company able to satisfy its debt obligations when due.

Sound - When used in a financial context, means financially secure and safe.

Source document - An original invoice, bill or receipt to which journal(s) entries refer.

Span of control - The number of subordinates working directly under a manager.

Special deposits - A. system used up to 1980. Deposits that the banks could be required to make in the Bank of England. They remained frozen there until the Bank of England chose to release them.

Special drawing rights (SDRs) - Financial liabilities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), held in a special account generated by contributions of member countries. Members can use SDRs to maintain supplies of convertible currencies when these are needed to support foreign exchange trades.

Specialisation and division of labour - Where production is broken down into a number of simpler, more specialised tasks, thus allowing workers to acquire a high degree of efficiency.

Special journals – Refers to a journal which records of original entry other than the general journal that are designed for recording specific types of transactions of similar nature, e.g. sales journal, Purchase Journal, cash receipts journal, cash payments/disbursements journal, and Payroll Journal.

Special purpose vehicle/entity  (SPV /SPE) – Refers to a type of corporate entity or limited partnership created for a specific transaction or business, especially one unrelated to a company's main business.

Specific research – Refers to  a method used when gathering primary information for a market survey where targeted customers / consumers are asked very specific and in-depth questions geared toward resolving problems found through prior exploratory research.

Specific tax - A tax on a good or service which is set as a fixed amount per unit of the good or service sold.

Speculation - Where people make buying or selling decisions based on their anticipations of future prices.

Speculative balances - Money balances held as a hedge against the uncertainty of the prices of other financial assets.

Speculators - People who buy (or sell) commodities or financial assets with the intention of profiting by selling them (or buying them back) at a later date at a higher (lower) price.

Spending levelRefers to the true expenditure or cash outlay of any entity in a given category or budgetary area.

Spin-off – Refers to a type of corporate reorganisation in which the original corporation transfers some of its assets to a newly formed corporation.

Split-off point Refers to the stage in the production process at which joint products become identified as distinct products which can be sold or processed further.

Spoilage / wastageRefers to materials wasted or spoiled in the production process.

Spot rate -  Refers to the price at which a currency can be purchased or sold and then delivered within two business days, e.g., spot dollar.

Spot price - The current market price.

Spreadsheet - A method of storing data in cells in such a way that a change in one of the entries will automatically change any appropriate totals.

Stabilising speculation - Where the actions of speculators tend to reduce price fluctuations.

Stable dollar assumption Is the assumption when using money as a measuring unit and preparing financial statements expressed in dollars, that the dollar is a stable unit of measurement.

Stable monetary unit conceptThis concept allows accountants to ignore the effect of inflation in the accounting records.

Stabilisation policy - Any policy designed to reduce the economy's cyclical fluctuations and thereby to stabilise national income at or near a desired level.

Staff authorityRefers to the power to give advice, support, and service to line departments. Staff managers do not command others. Examples of staff authority are found in personnel, purchasing, engineering, and finance.

Staff managers - Specialist advisers who provide support to line managers and to the board of directors.

Stagflation - The coexistence of high rates of unemployment with high, and sometimes rising, rates of inflation.

StakeRefers to a share or an interest in an enterprise, especially a financial share.

Stakeholder objectives - The goals of people with interests in the business. What stakeholders want to achieve.

Stakeholders (in a company) - People who. are affected by a company's activities and/or perform­ance (customers, employees,. owners, creditors, people living in the neighbourhood, etc.). They may or may not be in a position to take decisions, or influence decision taking, in the firm.

Stale chequeIs when a cheque is six months or older than the date affixed to the cheque by the maker. If a customer’s check is presented more than six months after the date appearing on the cheque, the paying bank has the option of paying or dishonoring the cheque because the cheque is deemed "stale".

Standard - A quantitative expression of a performance objective, such as standard hours of labor allowed for actual production or a standard purchase price of materials per unit.

Standard & Poors (S&P) 500 - An index of the 500 largest, most actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. It provides a guide to the overall health of the US stock market.

Standard cost - The usual cost of a specific activity.  It is a production or operating cost that is carefully predetermined. A standard cost is a target cost that should be attained. The standard cost is compared with the actual cost in order to measure the performance of a given costing department or operation.

Standard cost system A process in cost accounting by which production activities are recorded at standard costs and variances from actual costs are isolated. Standard costs are carefully predetermined target costs that should be attained under efficient operating conditions.

Standard deduction – Refers to the amount allowed to an individual taxpayer who does not elect to itemise deductions.

Standard deviation - The average deviation from the arithmetic mean of a set of data (accounting for plus and minus signs in the calculation) found by the square root of the variance.

Standardisation - The use of uniform resources and activities.

Standardised unemployment rate - The measure of the unemployment rate used by the ILO and OECD. The unemployed are defined as persons of working age who are without work, available to start work within two weeks and either have actively looked for work in the last four weeks or are waiting to take up an appointment.

Start-up capital - The finance needed by a new business to pay for essential fixed and current assets before it can begin trading.

Start-up costs Refer to pre-opening one-time expenditures incurred to open a new facility, introduce a new product or service, conduct business in a new territory.

Stated capital - 1. the amount of capital contributed by stockholders of a corporation. It may also refer to the method of valuating no-par-value stock where the portion of the amount contributed is credited to the capital stock account and the balance is credited to paid in capital. Or 2. the legal capital of a company.

Stated value Is used to refer to per share value sometimes assigned to no-par stock by the corporation.

Statement - 1. the summary statement documenting terms, conditions, or status of an account. An example is a statement of retail credit account status. Or 2. the formal document presenting the financial condition and operating performance of an enterprise. These include the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of changes in financial position. Also included may be documents for internal use such as performance appraisals, budgets, and so on. Or 3. verbal utterance or proposition.

Statement of account – Is the report indicating the account status of an agreement between creditor and debtor.

Statement of accounting policies -  Refers to a combination of the definition of the reporting organisation, statement of general accounting policies, statement of particular accounting policies, and a statement of changes in accounting policies.

Statement of affairs Is a financial report showing assets and liabilities at expected liquidation values and stockholders' equity.

Statement of cash flowIs a report that measures the flow of money in and out of a business, as they apply to operating, investing, and financing activities.

Statements of Standard Accounting Practice - A list of rules to provide uniformity in specific accounting practices. 

States of nature – Refers to those conditions that are likely to occur and over which the decision maker has no control.

Statistical process control - The collection of data about the performance of a particular process in a business.

Statistical quality control Refers to the method of quality control that uses statistical sampling of units produced by a production process.

Statistical sampling – Is the method based on the assumption that, within a given confidence level and allowance for sampling risk, a randomly selected sample of items from a population will reflect the same characteristics that occur in the population.

Statistics – The  field of study concerning information calculated from sample data.

Statuary audit – Is an audit conducted to meet the particular requirements of a governmental agency.

Statuary law Refers to law enacted by the legislative branch of government, as distinguished.

Step costs Refer to those costs that are approximately fixed over a small volume range, but are variable over a large volume range. For example, supervision costs are fixed for a given range of production volume, but increased production often requires additional work shifts leading to added supervisory costs in a lump sum fashion.

Stewardship - The responsibility for taking good care of resources entrusted to one, e.g., boards of directors must show good stewardship towards the company for which they are a board member.

Stock - This can refer to the shares of a limited company (see shares ) or goods manufactured or bought for re-sale by a business.

Stock certificateIs a document showing stockholder's ownership in the company.

Stock control account - An account held in the general ledger which holds the value of all the stock held in the inventory subsidiary ledger.

Stockholders - The owners of a corporation who have supplied money to the firm by purchasing its shares. Also called shareholders.

Stock indexIs a formalised screened listing of traded securities, e.g. the Dow Jones Industrial Average that tracks a portfolio of stocks.

Stock market - A special share market, usually where second hand shares can be traded.

Stock option – Is when the right is given the holder to buy a specified number of shares of stock at a certain price by a particular date. Stock option plans are often used to compensate corporate officers and other employees for specific services.

Stock rotation - The flow of inventory into and out of stores.

Stock splitRefers to when there is the issuance of a large amount of additional shares, thereby reducing the par value of the stock on a proportionate basis.

Stock taking - Physically checking a business's stock for total quantities and value.

Stock turnover - The number of times in a trading year a firm sells the value of its inventory .

Stock turns A ratio that is used to show the number of times per year that the inventory ( raw materials, work in progress & finished goods) is turned over in relation to the sales revenue of a given product. Calculation - Stock turns = Sales turnover of products / Value of raw material, work in progress & finished goods.

Stock valuation - Valuing a inventory of goods bought for manufacturing or re-sale.

Stop loss order Is the direction given to a broker to buy or sell a stock when it rises to or drops below a certain price.

Storage - 1. the process of storing information in a computer memory or on a magnetic tape or disk. Or 2. an electronic memory device. Or 3. a depository for goods, e.g. a stockroom or warehouse;

Stores  1. the  control account for all purchases of materials and supplies. All purchases of materials, parts, and supplies are charged to Stores as purchased because the storekeeper is accountable for them. The Stores Control account is supported by an underlying subsidiary ledger, called store cards. Or 2. the raw materials, supplies, and parts. 3. retail outlets.

Straight-line depreciation - Depreciating something by the same (ie. fixed) amount every year rather than as a percentage of its previous value. Example: a vehicle initially costs $10,000. If you depreciate it at a rate of $2000 a year, it will depreciate to zero in exactly 5 years. See Depreciation

Straight line method - A method used to calculate the annual depreciation allowance by subtracting the estimated scrap value from the cost and dividing the result by the expected life of the asset

Strategic alliance –  Used to refer to an agreement between two or more organisations/entities with complementary core competencies.  This may result in synergy.

Strategic assetsAre any asset or group of assets that the entity needs to retain if the entity is to maintain the entity's capacity to achieve or promote any outcome that the entity determines to be important to the current or future well-being of the entity.

Strategic behaviour – Behaviour based on strategy. People often think and behave strategically. How you think others will respond to your actions is likely to influence your own behaviour. Firms, for example, when considering a price or product change will often take intQ account the likely reactions of their rivals

Strategic decisions - Decisions concerning policy that have a long term impact on a business. Can be risky.

Strategic planning – Is the planning process defining what you want to accomplish in your business and then identifying the path that will allow you to reach your goal in the most efficient and sensible manner.

Strategy – The pattern of decisions and actions that are taken by a business to achieve its goals and objectives.

Stratified sampling – Is a sampling method where the population is divided into homogenous sub groups.  Each sub-group is sampled individually.

Strike - A form of industrial action where employees refuse to work.

Structural unemployment - Unemployment due to a mismatch between characteristics required by available jobs and characteristics possessed by the unemployed labour.

Structure of a business - The way in which a business is organised.

Subordinated debt - If a company is liquidated (i.e. becomes insolvent ), the secured creditors are paid first. If any money is left, the unsecured creditors are then paid. The amount of money owed to the unsecured creditors is termed the 'subordinated debt' of the company.

Substantive Refers to something which is real rather than apparent, as seen by an unbiased observer and not just the official view of management.

Sublet – Is used in real estate, refers to the leasing of space within a leased facility by the original lessee.

Subsidiary company - A firm in which a controlling interest is owned by another company, called the parent company.

Subsidiary ledgers - Ledgers opened in addition to a business's general ledger. They are used to keep sections of a business separate from each other (e.g.. a Sales ledger for the customers, and a purchase ledger for the suppliers). (See Contra accounts ) .

Subsidy - A payment made by the government to producers of goods and services.

Subsistence farming - The production of farm output mainly for own consumption.

Substance over formRefers to an accounting concept where the entity is accounting for items according to their substance and economic reality and not merely their legal form.

Substitute goods - A pair of goods that are considered by consumers to be alternatives to each other. As the price of one goes up, the demand for the other rises.

Substitutes - Any good that can stand in for another good to satisfy similar needs or desires. The degree of substitutability is measured by the magnitude of the positive cross elasticity between the two.

Substitutes in supply - These are two goods where an increased production of one means diverting resources away from producing the other.

Substitution effect - The tendency of people to substitute in favour of cheaper commodities and away from more expensive commodities:

Substitution effect of a price change - The effect of a change in price on quantity demanded arising from the consumer switching to or from alternative (substitute) products.

Substitution effect of a rise in wage rates  - Workers will tend to substitute income for leisure as leisure now has a higher opportunity cost. This effect leads to more hours being worked as wage rates rise. 

Substitution effect of a tax rise - Tax increases reduce the opportunity cost of leisure and thus encourage people to work less.

Sum of years digits (SYD) method - The accelerated depreciation method in which a constant balance (cost minus salvage value) is multiplied by a declining depreciation rate.

Sundry account Refers to an account where miscellaneous items are recorded, e.g., sundry receivables represent miscellaneous receivables.

Sunk costs - Costs that cannot be recouped (e.g. by transferring assets to other uses).

Superannuation Is a monthly payment made to someone who is retired from work.

Supernormal profit (also known as pure profit, economic profit, abnormal profit, or simply profit) - The excess of total profit above normal profit.

Supporting documentsThese documents  assist in making a case (prove a point or forward an argument) by providing additional depth and analysis for much of the case in question.

Suppressed inflation Refers to a situation exists in which prices would rise if government regulations did not establish artificial limits on prices, wages, etc.

Supply - The entire relationship between the quantity supplied of a good or service and its price.

Supply curve - The graphical representation of the relationship between the quantity of some product that producers wish to make and sell per period of time and the price of that product, other things being equal.

Supply of labour - The total number of hours of work that the population is willing to supply.

Supply schedule - A table showing for selected values the relationship between the quantity of some product that producers wish to make and sell per period of time and the price of that product, other things being equal.

Supply shock - An event that directly alters firms' costs and prices, shifting the economy's aggregate supply curve and thus the Phillips curve.

Supply side measure - A government policy designed to increase output.

Supply-side policy -  Government policy that attempts to alter the level of aggregate supply directly (rather than through changes in aggregate demand).ie policies aimed at increasing either the amount and/or productivity of resources in an economy.

SurchargeRefers to a charge added on top of another charge for a specific service, product or purpose.

Surety bond Refers to a contract by which one party agrees to make payment on any default or the debt of another party.

Surplus - 1. Capital surplus, the stockholders' equity in a corporation in excess of par or stated value of capital stock. Or 2. earned surplus or retained earnings/profit reflecting the accumulated net income less dividend distributions. Or 3. sometime used as a short form of government budget surplus.

Surveillance - This is to close watch kept over someone or something.

Suspense account- A temporary account used to force a trial balance to balance if there is only a small discrepancy (or if an account's balance is simply wrong, and you don't know why). A typical example would be a small error in petty cash. In this case a transfer would be made to a suspense account to balance the cash account. Once the person knows what happened to the money, a transfer entry will be made in the journal to credit or debit the suspense account back to zero and debit or credit the correct account.

Sustainable development - Is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable growth rate (SGR) – (Accounting) Is used to show how fast a company can grow using internally generated assets without issuing additional debt or equity.

Sustainability (environmental) - The ability of the environment to survive its use for economic activity.

Sustainable output - The level of national output corresponding to no excess or deficiency of aggregate demand.

SWOT Analysis -  An analysis of internal strengths and weaknesses and the external threats and opportunities facing a business.  IT is one of the most used forms of business analysis.

1. Strengths: Strengths are those factors that make an organization more competitive than its marketplace peers. Strengths are what the company has a distinctive advantage at doing or what resources it has that is strategic to the competition. Strengths are, in effect, resources, capabilities and core competencies that the organisation holds that can be used effectively to achieve its performance objectives.

2. Weaknesses: A weakness is a limitation, fault, or defect within the organisation that will keep it from achieving its objectives; it is what an organization does poorly or where it has inferior capabilities or resources as compared to the competition.

3. Opportunities: Opportunities include any favourable current prospective situation in the organization's environment, such as a trend, market, change or overlooked need that supports the demand for a product or service and permits the organisation to enhance its competitive position.

4. Threats: A threat includes any unfavourable situation, trend or impending change in an organisation's environment that is currently or potentially damaging or threatening to its ability to compete. It may be a barrier, constraint, or anything that might inflict problems, damages, harm or injury to the organisation.

Swift code - Within the context of international payment transactions, is a code issued by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) that enables banks worldwide to be identified without the need to specify an address or bank number. SWIFT codes are used mainly for automatic payment transactions.

SyndicateRefers to a group of investment bankers/individual firms that acts jointly, on a temporary basis, to achieve a goal.

Synergy Refers to when the working together of two or more things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. For example, in the context of mergers, cost synergy is the savings in operating costs expected after two companies, who compliment each other's strengths, join.

System - Parts that work together to achieve an objective; a system can be a communications system, a business, an economic or a political system.

Systematic sampling – A sampling method that develops a system of selecting criteria and then uses this system to conduct its sample. i.e. every 10th person that enters the door.

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Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.
Winston Churchill

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