“Walking the walk” is usually considered the important part of living.

But in the business world, “talking the talk” is important, too. Knowing your industry’s lingo, and being able to use it correctly, demonstrates your solid business acumen. We asked Capella business faculty leaders for their recommendations. Here are just a few of the common business terms you should be familiar with—and one to skip. Always.


Foundational Terms

These are the words and phrases that constitute the basics of business-speak.

  • Assets and liabilities: Assets are a company’s financial holdings. Liabilities are your company’s financial obligations. These are either current/short-term (cash or inventory) or fixed/long-term (equipment or land).
  • Revenue and expenses: Revenue is money brought into the business. Expenses are monies the business pays out for things like equipment, inventory, services, and employees.
  • Net profit and loss: This is the bottom line of a business. When revenues are greater than expenses, the business has a net profit. But if expenses are greater than revenue, the business has a net loss.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Essentially, this describes how much a business either earned or lost in comparison to how much was spent on a venture. It’s calculated by dividing net profit by the investment cost.
  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable: Accounts receivable are funds that are owed to a business. Accounts payable are funds the business owes elsewhere, such as to its vendors or consultants.


The One Word That Should Never Be Used

Irregardless. It just means “regardless.” Regardless is considered the proper use. It may seem like a small detail, but there are people out there—not just in the business world—who will develop an opinion of someone who uses irregardless, and it’s not likely to be a positive opinion.

Regardless of the business environment, slang will always be a part of it, and language will always evolve and adapt with the times. “Impact” used to be a noun only, but today it’s used as a verb, adjective, and adverb. Pay attention to the language used around you at work, and stay current with the terminology.


Learn more about Capella University’s online business degrees.


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