English Vocabulary for Finance, Accounting, Tax & Banking

Finance & Accounting

income = money coming in
revenue, turnover = income of a company
expenses, expenditure = money going out
make a profit = revenue exceeds expenses
make a loss = expenses exceed revenue
gross profit = before paying tax
net profit = after paying tax

finance department = raising funds, dealing with assets and liabilities
to raise funds = obtain money through banks, investors, donors, membership fees
accounts department = keeping/recording all the transactions
bookkeeper, accountant = work in accounting/accounts
to 'cook the books' = to falsify the accounts

assets = what the company owns (landed property, intellectual property, machinery, cash in the bank ...)
liabilities = what the company owes (debt from loans, unpaid salaries or providers, ...)
be liable FOR = be economically responsible for, to owe
creditor = lender, who lent a credit/loan
debtor = borrower, who must pay back a credit/loan

financial statements = declarations, documents
a balance sheet = shows assets and liabilities at the end of the financial year
a profit & loss statement = revenue and expenses over a year
a P&L account = division within a company with separate accounting books
to state = to declare, to assert
to break it down INTO concepts = explain the smaller parts

cash flow = liquidity management, cash in hand
equity, patrimony = assets
a monthly/quarterly/annual report
a quarter = three months
to do/run an audit = to verify a company's accounts (or safety conditions, quality standards, ...)
auditors = professionals doing audits


income tax = personal income tax, for individuals, also PIT
corporate tax = tax on companies' profit, also CIT
VAT = value-added tax, tax on purchased good and services
tax exemption = be exempt, don't have to pay (in some sectors or up to a certain income threshold)
threshold = certain figure above which conditions change

PAYE in UK = pay as you earn, income tax paid by a company on behalf of their employees
National Insurance contributions = to fund pensions, medical leaves and similar, also NIC payments
dividend tax = on dividends paid OUT to shareholders
carbon tax = on carbon emissions

the treasury = tax authorities & budget management
HMRC in UK, stands for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, formerly Inland Revenue
IRS in USA, stands for Internal Revenue Service
the taxman = informal for tax authorities
"The taxman will knock on your door."
Companies House = the registrar of companies in UK

tax returns, tax forms = tax reports
to fill OUT a form = to complete a form
as of = on a certain date
the payment is due/outstanding = it has not been paid
be in credit = when you have overpaid
to declare a company dormant = not in business, inactive


to raise funds (=to finance, to fund) for a startup company
a startup = newly created company, a small budget, often in the tech sector
to raise funds THROUGH tax, donations, membership fees
fundraisers = specialised in raising funds, often for charities

the 3 F's of investing = family, friends and fools
a fool = someone who is easily cheated (=deceived, fooled)
seed capital = initial investment to start a company
angel investors, seed/venture capitalists = who invest in startups
the Dragons' Den = British TV show about entrepreneurs and angel investors. Check it out!

to play it safe = do not make risky investments
to do/run some financial checks = request financial information
to have a sound economy = have cash, be likely to pay back
high returns = good profit for your investment
ROI, stands for return of investment
"I invested $100 and made $200. That makes a ROI of 200%."

to break even = to manage to cover costs
break-even point = when you get your initial investment back
to run at a loss = not making a profit, losing money
to run INTO debt = be in the red, in red numbers, indebted. Also slide into, fall into.
to make a killing = make a fortune, a lot of money
to make a quick buck = make money fast and easily

to go bust = to go into bankruptcy
to sell OFF = sell all product at a high discount
to go INTO liquidation = all assets sold to creditors
to hold an auction = public sale to the highest bidder
to bid = to offer a price


current account, checking account = a basic bank account
to deposit = to put in money
to withdraw = to take out money, make a money withdrawal
an ATM = cash machine, stands for Auto Telling Machine
a bank clerk = attendant, teller, officer
a bank slip = a small bank statement, document

retail banking = for regular clients/depositors
finance banking = for companies and investors
High Street banks = popular retail banks
a paycheck = salary paid as a cheque (in UK, check in US)
cheque payable to the bearer/holder = the person carrying it

to pay bills through a standing order = automated payment, usually monthly, for loans, mortgages, utilities
a loan = credit, borrowed money
a mortgage = a loan to buy a house
utilities = water, gas, electricity, phone and internet
to have an overdraft = the account is in red numbers


to purchase on credit = to pay in small monthly payments
installments = monthly payments
a down payment = a partial payment made at the beginning
to pay upfront = to pay everything at the beginning
"I made a 30% down payment to purchase the house."
Notice the stress: a 30% [perc'Ent]
But: a p'ERcentage

to pay OFF your loan/debt = finish paying back
to write OFF their debt = to cancel, to condone
to liable FOR = to have pending debt, formal
to default on your payments = to fail to pay, be a defaulter
a default risk assessment = evaluate chances of default
collectors' services = specialised in recovering defaults
to run after a defaulter = to chase, go after
to urge (= insist on, pressurize) someone to pay


sole trader, independent contractor = one-person company, formal
freelancer = independent contractor, often working remotely
a one -man band = informal (literally, a man playing many instruments at once)

Ltd in UK, Llc in US = Limited Liability Company, privately owned
liability = economic responsibility
Plc = Public Limited Company, or simply public company owned by shareholders
national company, state company = owned by government
federal company = national company in US

stock market = where shares are traded (=bought and sold)
shareholders = own the company through shares
to own shares = a small percentage of ownership of a company
to go public = enter the stock market
to retain earnings = reserve the profits, not pay out dividends
to pay OUT dividends = profit paid to shareholders

have a stake in the company = have decision power, have many shares
stakeholders = those with a great interest
have a say = have decision power, have an opinion
"They don't have a say in this matter" = their opinion is not taken into account