Sectoral Benchmarking

The benchmarking methodology applied to a set of companies that make up a sector or an industry, and to specific factors that affect the competitiveness of a particular sector.


The name of the person responsible for maintaining company records and minutes of board meetings. Every company must have a named company secretary who can be a person or another company. The secretary may be a director but not the sole director.


Small Business Service. Launched in April 2000, its key role is to support start-up and small businesses. It runs national schemes, but most support is channelled through Business Link local providers.

SIC Code

A US Standard Industrial Classification code. An aid to marketing applications by identifying the subject business activities as a code.

Share Capital

The part of the capital of a company held by a member (shareholder). Shares may be numbered and are issued as units of definite face value; shareholders are not always called on to pay the full face value of their shares, though they bind themselves to do so.


These are the owners of the company. Shareholders can be people or other companies or businesses. Companies House uses the more official term 'member'.

Shareholders Funds

Take Current Liabilities and Long Term, Liabilities FROM Total Assets to establish what is left, and this residue belongs to the owners.


Small and Medium-sized Enterprise. The technical definition covers companies that have less than 250 employees, (50 for a small business) and are less than 25% foreign owned.

Social Enterprise

An enterprise whose primary aim is to meet some social rather than business need. Examples include charities, co-operatives and community businesses. Although generally run as not-for-profit enterprises, their success usually depends on application of the sound business practices described on this website.

Sole Trader

An individual running a business. All revenues and payments from the business are incorporated within the individual's personal financial and tax affairs.


The Shell Technology Enterprise Programme. A programme that facilitates undergraduate summer placements to help businesses work on technology-based projects.

Striking Off

The process of removing a company from the Companies Register as held at Companies House.

This can either be requested by the company itself, or initiated by Companies House themselves. The most common cause is non-filing of accounts and lack of response from mail sent by Companies House.


Goods owned by the company, usually raw material for the manufacturing process. Stock is a current asset.

Supply Chain

The name given to the overall system that covers the flow of material and information from a business's sources of supply to its customer. It includes intermediaries such as wholesalers and distribution logistics.

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