Factory Floor - The area of a factory where the goods are made. Also the collective name of the ordinary workers in a factory, rather than management.
Factory Price - The price charged for goods direct from the factory, not including transport costs, etc. Factory Price is often quoted by retailers or in advertisements to show that products are for sale at a very low price.
Fairy Dust - A term often used in the entertainment business. The final enhancement or touch on a project. The unknown factor which turns something great into something fantastic.
Fallen Angel - Term used in finance to describe bonds which once had a good investment value, but have now dropped in value to a much lower rating.
False Accounting - A criminal offence. Giving false information in, or destroying, a company's accounts, usually for personal gain. Fraud.
False Bottom - On the stock market, selling prices which seem to have already hit their lowest level because of a subsequent price rise then fall through a false bottom because the price falls even lower.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) - Products (and the related industry) which are sold in big volumes by big retailers at low profit margins, at keen prices, to domestic consumers - traditionally foods and groceries, household consumables, etc., and nowadays extending to any products of short life and disposable/consumable nature. See FMCG in the acronyms section.)
Fast Track - Quick route in a career to success and promotion, associated with high ambition.
Fat Cat - A wealthy person living off investments or dividends, or a chief executive of a large company or organisation who is on a very large salary, huge pension, etc.
Fault Tolerance - Enables a system, especially in computing, to continue to operate properly even though a component in the system has failed.
Feasibility Study - A preliminary assessment of a new project, including costs, risks, etc., to determine whether the project will be successful and practical.
Feather-Bedding - A term often used in industry describing the practice of hiring more workers than is necessary to carry out a job, often because of a contract with a union.
Federation - An organisation which has been formed by the joining together of a group of companies, clubs, etc.
Fiat Currency/Fiat Money - A very bold term for monetary currency which is established and traded as a national currency, such as US Dollar, Sterling, Euro, etc. From Latin 'fiat', 'it shall be'.
Fidelity Bond - Also known as Fidelity Insurance. Protects an employer against any losses incurred because of dishonesty, or damage caused, by an employee.
Fiduciary - Describes an organisation or individual who manages money or property for a beneficiary.
Figurehead - In business, organizations, politics, etc., a person who holds an important position or office but lacks real power or authority; a 'front man'. Derived from the carved painted figurehead models which traditionally were fixed to the front of sailing ships.
Filibuster - To delay or obstruct legislation by giving long speeches in a parliamentary debating process, so as to 'talk out a bill', i.e., ensure that the debate is prolonged beyond the deadline for passing a bill which would otherwise have been approved. The noun filibuster refers to a person who does this, or to the act of filibustering, which is commonly done by more than one person acting together. There are occasional cases of lone filibusters standing and talking for several hours without a break. Filibustering may be used for purposes that have lots of popular support, or virtually no popular support. The term entered US politics from American-Spanish but ultimately is from Dutch vrijbuiter, pirate.
Fill or kill - Also FOK, on the stock exchange, an instruction received by a broker from a client to buy or sell specified shares immediately or not at all.
Filofax - A personal organiser (and the name of the company which makes it), which was very popular in the 1980s, with pages which can be easily removed or added. This product was associated with 'Yuppies'.
Finance - To provide or obtain funds for a business, commercial project, an individual, etc. The management of money. To sell or provide goods on credit.
Financial Engineering - The practice of solving financial problems or creating financial opportunities in a company, by changing the way money is borrowed, debts paid, etc.
Financial Equity - The ownership of interest in a company, usually in the form of shares.
Finite Capacity Scheduling - A process in which a computer program organises tasks, matching the resources available to the most efficient way of production.
Firepower - The amount of power, money and/or influence that is available to a business or organisation.
Firewall - A system in a computer which prevents unwanted or unauthorised access, but allows the authorised user to receive information.
Firmware - Describes the fixed programs, which cannot be lost or changed, in electronic devices such as digital cameras, calculators, remote controls, etc.
First Mover - A business that gains an advantage by being the first to establish itself in a specific market by producing a new product or offering a new service, or by being the first to use new technology.
First Order Of Business - The most important task to be dealt with.
Fiscal Drag - A situation in which wages rise because of inflation but income tax thresholds are not increased, which can push people into higher tax brackets and therefore makes them pay an increased proportion of their wages in tax.
Fiscal Policy - A government policy to regulate a nation's annual economic activity by setting tax levels and determining government expenditure.
Five Nines - Refers to the 99.999% of the time that some companies claim their computer systems work properly.
Fixed Assets - Assets, such as property, equipment, furniture, vehicles, etc., which are owned by a company and which are needed to operate the business.
Fixed Costs - Costs, or overheads , which are incurred by a business whether or not it is operating or generating income, such as wages, rent, insurance, utilities (for example electricity, gas, water), etc.
Fixed Parity - In foreign exchange, when the currency of one country is equal in value to the currency of another country.
Fixed Term Contract - Also known as Temporary Contract. A contract of employment which ends on a specific date, or on completion of a task or project. Fixed term employees have the rights to the same pay, conditions and benefits as full-time employees.
Fixer - A person who makes arrangements for someone else, usually for a fee, by using their influence and often underhand, illegal methods.
Flame - To send a rude or unacceptable message by e-mail, or to post a message on an Internet forum which is offensive or inciteful.
Flash Drive - A small portable device such as a 'pen drive' which connects to a USB port on a computer and is used to store data which can then be transferred to another computer. The term flash drive derives from 'flash' memory, invented by Dr Fujio Masuoka of Toshiba around 1980. The name flash (apparently, according to Wikipedia, 2010) was suggested by Masuoka's colleague, Shoji Ariizumi, who likened the memory erasure function to a camera flash.
Flash Mob - A secretly-planned (usually via modern computerised social networking technology), quickly-formed, organized group of people, assembled to engage in a quirky activity, typically for the amusement and entertainment of the participants. Potentially the term may be applied to similar gatherings organized for more conventional promotional, protest or other publicity/pressure purposes, although this strays somewhat from the usual concept, in which the flash mob event is an aim in itself, rather than part of a wider campaign with a specific purpose. The expression is not new. It originated in the 1940s US underworld when it referred to a gang of thieves or confidence tricksters. The word flash has been used in various criminal contexts since the 1600s and in the original 1940s phrase flash mob, flash literally meant criminal. The modern use of the flash mob expression naturally fits the notion of flash photography, a fast or fleeting appearance, a 'flash of inspiration', and especially the recent understanding of flash in relation to quick technology such as flash memory and flash drives. See also mob.
Flats - In the entertainment industry, these are painted canvas sheets fixed onto wooden frames used on film sets, etc. for scenery.
Flexecutive - A manager who works flexible hours, often from home using the Internet. A multi-skilled executive who can change tasks or jobs with ease.
Flexitime - A work system in which employees work a set number of hours each week or month, but they decide when they are going to start and finish each day, usually between a range of given working hours.
Flight Capital - The movement of large sums of money from one of investment to another, or from one country to another, to avoid high taxes or financial instability due to political unrest.
Flighting - A cost effective method of advertising. A commercial is scheduled to appear on TV, usually when viewing figures are high (flight). There are periods in between the flights when the commercial does not appear on TV (hiatus). During the TV hiatus the product being advertised
will often appear in newspapers or magazines, so the public is continually aware of it.
Floatation - See definition for Flotation.
Floor Limit - In retailing, the highest amount of money for a sale for which a debit or credit card can be used by a customer without authorisation from the customer's bank.
Floor Trader - Also known as a Local. An investor who is allowed on the trading floor of a stock exchange, to buy and sell shares, etc., for their own account.
Flotation - The process of financing a company by selling shares on the stock exchange for the first time.
Flyback - Also known as a Callback. A series of screening interviews for a job during which a person, usually a student, is interviewed several times, often on the same same day, by the prospective employer.
Flynn Effect - Research showing that the results of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests in various countries (i.e. internationally) have risen consistently over several decades, (after political scientist James R Flynn).
FMCG - Fast Moving Consumer Goods (see Fast Moving Consumer Goods above and/or
FMCG in the acronyms section)
Focus List - A list of companies, recommended by an investment firm, whose shares are worth buying or selling.
Footer - In a report or document, a line or block of text that appears at the bottom of every page which is printed from a computer.
Footfall - The extent or measure of numbers of people who visit a business or shop or other retail/leisure/entertainment venue during a given period of time. Footfall is a crucial factor in retailing methods, and also in promotion and advertising which focuses on the physical presence - on foot - of consumers at a particular location.
Force Field Analysis - A technique developed by Kurt Lewin to support positive factors and decrease negative factors, as the result of a change in an organisation.
Force Majeure - A clause in a contract which exempts the contracting party (e.g., insurer) from liability in the event of an unforeseen intervention or catastrophe which prevents fulfilment of contractual obligations, such as war, act of God, etc. The term force majeure is French, meaning loosely 'superior strength'.
Forex - Also called FX, refers to Foreign Exchange, in which foreign currencies are bought and sold.
Fortune 500 - Published by Fortune magazine, an annual list of the 500 US corporations with the largest revenue.
Forwarding company - Also called a 'freight forwarder', a company specialising in transfer of freight from businesses or individuals by finding an appropriate transporter of the goods.
Forward Integration - A business strategy whereby a company takes control of its distributors, therefore guaranteeing the distribution of the controlling company's products.
Four-Colour Process - In printing, the use of four ink colours - yellow, magenta, cyan and black - which are combined together to produce the whole spectrum of colours.
Fractional Ownership - An arrangement where a number of people or companies each buy a percentage of an expensive asset, such as a property. The individual owners then share the asset, and when it is sold the profits are distributed back to the owners.
Franchise/Franchising - An authorization or licence - effectively a business methodology, which can be bought - enabling someone (franchisee) to use the franchisor's company name and trademarks to sell their products services, etc., and usually to receive certain support, in a particular town, area of a country, or international region. A franchise for a whole country is typically called a master franchise, and typically may include rights to operate as a sub-franchisor responsible for developing and managing a franchise network. The term derives from the term franc, Old French for free, which was adopted into English corporate law in the late middle-ages to signify a grant of legal immunity, which in turn grew in legal application and technical meaning to become franchising, whereby a franchisor grants licence to a franchisee to make use of its business methods, products, brands, technologies, innovation, purchasing power, marketing, etc. Some extremely well-known large corporations have grown using the franchise model, for example, Mcdonald's, Subway, Avis, and Hilton Hotels. While franchising can theoretically be applied to any market sector, it typically entails reliable replication of high quality products/services, supported by clever/protected technology, patents, branding, together with proven training, marketing and business support. Most franchises emerge at the beginning of their respective product life-cycle, when innovation and novelty is significant, and barriers to market entry are challenging. As such, many entrepreneurs decide that franchising offers an appealing option compared to starting up a business completely independently from nothing. When innovation and novelty has declined in major established franchise organizations, market appeal and position is subsequently maintained by exploiting strengths of brand(s), marketing, and financial strength.
Free Collective Bargaining - A situation in which workers and union members meet with employers to discuss working conditions, pay, etc., in talks that are not limited by law or government.
Freeconomics - A situation in which companies provide certain goods and services for free, and those businesses who don't follow suit are likely to fail.
Freedom Of Association - The right of individuals to join together to form, or join an existing, group or organisation, including a union.
Free Enterprise - An economic system in which private businesses have the freedom to compete with each other for profit, with minimal interference from the government.
Free Market - A market in which prices of goods and services are affected by supply and demand, rather than government regulation.
Free On Board - Maritime trade term. The supplier delivers the goods to a ship at a specified port. The supplier then pays the shipping costs after obtaining official clearance. Once they have been put on board, the buyer is then responsible for the goods.
Free Port - A port where goods can be brought and stored temporarily, without custom duties having to be paid, before being shipped to another country.
Freepost - A UK postal system, usually used in business, in which the recipient business pays the postage on mail, rather than the sender or customer.
Free Rider - A person or organisation that enjoys benefits and services provided by others, and doesn't pay their fair share of the costs.
Freeware - Computer software that is copyrighted by the author and offered, usually on the Internet, free of charge.
Free Zone - An area in a country where importers can store foreign goods, prior to further transportation, without having to pay customs duties or taxes on them.
Frictional Unemployment - Unemployment of people who are temporarily between jobs, changing careers, changing location, etc.
Fringe Benefit - A benefit given to employees in addition to their salary, such as a company car, pension scheme, paid holidays, etc.
Front-End Load - A fee charged for an investment, for example an insurance policy, limited partnership, mutual fund, etc. The fee is made with the initial payment, and subsequent payments are therefore lower.
FTSE - An abbreviation of the Financial Times Stock Exchange (Index), commonly referred to verbally as 'footsie'. There are various FTSE indices (indexes), including most notably the
FTSE 100, which is the index of the top 100 shares on the London Stock Exchange, whose movement is regarded as an important indicator of national (and wider) economic health and buoyancy. The FTSE 100 represents about 80% of the market capitalization of all shares listed on the London Stock Exchange, which is interesting considering over 3,000 companies are listed in total. For Pareto enthusiasts (the '80-20 Rule') that's 3.3% of listed companies, accounting for 80% of total market value of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, which is even by Pareto standards an extreme ratio of concentration. When economic commentators say the "...the footsie is up/down (a number of points)..." this is a reference to the relative movement of share prices among the companies listed in (usually) the FTSE 100. The 'footsie' is owned and operated by FTSE Group, which is basically a provider of economic information and data services, especially about stock and commodity exchanges. FTSE Group was until 2012 50% owned by Pearson Group (owners of the Financial Times newspaper group) and 50% by the London Stock Exchange, the latter buying full ownership from Pearson in 2012. It is not likely that the 'Financial Times' origins of the FTSE abbreviation will be strongly acknowledged in future, given its change of ownership.
Fulfillment/fulfilment - In the context of business and retailing, fulfilment refers to the processing of a (consumer or commercial) customer's purchase/order - i.e., a 'sale'. Fulfilment is generally considered to happen after the order is placed and usually payment is made, completing on confirmation of safe and correct delivery to the customer. Payment/invoicing is generally separate from the fulfilment process/provider. In most cases fulfilment entails the warehousing, stock management, product 'picking', order assembly/compiling, packaging and delivery, then confirmation of safe delivery, of products/orders for which payment has already been made. Fulfilment may be an internal activity of the selling organization, or may instead be contracted to an external provider of fulfilment services. Fulfilment has an entirely different meaning in the context of human emotional wellbeing, in which it refers to feelings/situations of personal happiness and life-balance, achievement and wellbeing itself, without stress, pressure or other negative effects.
Fulfilment House - A provider of order-processing fulfilment services to a 'selling' company, typically processing sales/orders of the selling company, through to the delivery of products to the purchaser. Specific activities of a fulfilment house generally include warehousing, stock control, order picking, packaging, distribution/delivery to the customer (and confirmation thereof), and typically a degree of direct customer communications, and potentially handling returns.
Full-Time Contract - FT. A permanent or ongoing contract of employment in which the employee works at least the standard number of hours in a working week, usually 35.
Fungible - Describes goods or commodities which can be exchanged for something of the same kind, of equal value and quality.
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