Here's a rather comprehensive list of idioms or idiomatic expressions used in the business world.
balance the books
- to check that all the money in a business is accounted for
The accountant spent several days trying to balance the books of his company.
- an accountant
We asked the bean counters to look at the figures in the new budget.
- the total, the final figure on a balance sheet, the results (of a business)
After we examined the bottom line of the company we decided not to invest in it.
- to have expenses equal to profits
After three months the company was able to break even and begin to make a profit.
- a situation where there is not enough money in the budget
There is a severe budget squeeze at our company.
carry over figures/numbers/costs
- to transfer a figure or number or cost from one column or time to another
Our company will carry over last year's losses to this year.
close the books
- to stop taking orders, to end a bookkeeping period
The company will close the books at the end of December.
- to do mathematical calculations
The accountant loves to crunch numbers and he is one of the top managers in our company.
figure out (something) or figure (something) out
- to find an answer by thinking about something
Everybody is trying to figure out what our boss is going to do with the new equipment.
go over the books
- to check and analyze the accounting records of a company
We hired an outside accountant to go over our books.
in the black
- to be successful, to be making money, to be profitable
The new company has been in the black for many years.
in the red
- to be losing money, to be unprofitable
The company has been in the red since the price of oil began to rise rapidly.
- to keep records of money that is gained or spent
The new sales manager does not know how to keep books and he makes many mistakes.
a number cruncher
- an accountant, someone who works with numbers
Our company president is a good number cruncher and he understands the finances of our company.
- debt (the red ink on a financial statement)
The automobile company has much red ink because of the bad economic conditions.
saddled with debt
- to be burdened with debt
Our company is saddled with debt and must do something about it quickly.
write off (a debt/loan)
- to remove a debt/loan from a business record, to cancel a debt
It was impossible for the bank to collect the money so they were forced to write off the loan.
bang for the buck
- value for the money spent
We were able to get much bang for the buck when we advertised on the Internet.
plug a product
- to promote a product
The soccer star makes a lot of money when he agrees to plug a product.
run an ad
- to place or put an advertisement in a publication
The government will run an ad to tell the public about the new gas tax.
- orally from one person to another, a form of advertising where a satisfied customer tells friends about a particular product
The new shampoo is doing very well because of word-of-mouth advertising.
bail a company out or bail out a company
- to rescue a company with financial problems
The government bailed out the bank to maintain stability in the economy.
- short work hours (similar to a bank)
My friend owns his own company and works banker's hours most days.
- to supply someone with money, to finance someone
The movie actor bankrolled his son while the son was producing his first movie.
bounce a check
- to write a check in which you do not have enough money in your bank account
The young man bounced a check when he tried to pay his rent.
buy a stake in (something)
- to buy part ownership of a company or other enterprise
The large bank is planning to buy a stake in the small stock trading company.
a calculated risk
- an action that may fail but has a good chance to succeed
The company took a calculated risk when they put the new computer screen on the market.
call a loan
- to demand the immediate and complete payment of a debt/loan
The bank recently called the loan of the small business.
float (someone) a loan
- to loan someone money
I asked the bank to float me a loan so that I could buy a new car.
have a stake in (something)
- to have part ownership of a company or other business
The large oil company has a stake in the new undersea oil exploration company.
adjourn a meeting
- to end a meeting
We adjourned the meeting until the next day.
call a meeting to order
- to start a meeting
Our supervisor called the meeting to order after everyone arrived.
call on (someone) to speak
- to ask someone to speak, to give someone permission to speak at a meeting
The chairman called on me to speak at the meeting.
carry a motion
- to support or win acceptance for a motion or proposal or idea in a meeting
I was able to carry a motion at last night's meeting.
circulate the agenda
- to distribute a list or other information about what will be discussed in a meeting
We circulated the agenda for the meeting last week.
defeat a motion
- to defeat an idea or proposal in a meeting
We easily defeated the motion to change the dates for next week's convention.
- a meeting where you discuss previous business
We will have a follow-up meeting to discuss the new product.
have the floor
- to have permission to speak in a meeting
The president had the floor for almost an hour during the meeting.
hold a meeting
- to conduct a meeting
We plan to hold a meeting next week to discuss the problems with our new product.
lay (something) on the table
- to present a matter for discussion
I went to the meeting and laid my concerns about the new product on the table.
make a motion
- to make a suggestion or proposal at a meeting
The manager made a motion to finish the meeting early and continue the next morning.
move to (do something)
- to propose to do something (usually at a meeting)
I will move to have another meeting next week so we can discuss the problem.
open a meeting
- to begin a meeting
They opened the meeting by welcoming the new guests.
out of order
- against the rules - used in a meeting when someone does not obey the rules of speaking
The question was out of order at the meeting and the man was not able to ask it.
put (something) on the table
- to make something the topic of discussion
We put the issue of the new schedule on the table for discussion.
Robert's Rules of Order
- the official book of guidelines and rules about how to conduct a meeting.
We always use Robert's Rules of Order when we have a meeting.
rule (someone) out of order
- to rule that someone is not following the rules of a meeting
The chairwoman ruled the salesman out of order when he began to speak at the meeting.
run a meeting
- to conduct a meeting
My boss is not able to run a meeting very well.
second a motion
- to formally agree with a proposal in a meeting
I seconded the motion to start one hour early every morning during the summer.
set up a meeting
- to make arrangements for a meeting
I am trying to set up a meeting with the manager of our department.
- to be dismissed or to end (used for a meeting)
"This meeting now stands adjourned."
table a discussion
- to postpone a discussion until a later time
We tabled the discussion about the salary issue until the next meeting.
- to write down the details of a meeting
I usually take minutes at the monthly club meetings.
- a situation where there are more sellers than buyers of a product or service and the buyers have an advantage
It was a buyer's market and the price of fruit was very cheap.
come down in price
- to lower the price of one's product, to become cheaper
We were forced to come down in price in order to sell our target number of cars for the month.
come in high
- to charge too much for your services, to ask for a price that is too high
The salesman came in high during the negotiations and could not sell his product.
come in low
- to offer a low amount of money for a product or service
The company came in low with an offer for our product.
corner the market
- to dominate a particular market with your product
The large company has cornered the market for cell phones in our city.
a hard sell
- a way of selling something that is very aggressive and uses much pressure
The car salesman gave us a hard sell so we went to another car dealer.
have good contacts
- to know people who can help you get a job or do some kind of business
The salesman has good contacts and always sells many products.
knock down the price of (something) or knock the price of (something) down
- to lower the price of something
I bargained hard so that I could knock down the price of the DVD player.
land an account
- to acquire an account
The salesman landed a large account on his first day of work.
line of products
- a group or category of products that are similar to each other
Our company will introduce a new line of products in the autumn.
make a cold call
- to visit or telephone a potential but unknown customer from a list of people
When he first started to work at his company the salesman was asked to make cold calls from the telephone book.
make an offer
- to make a financial proposal for a product or service
We plan to make an offer to buy the house on Saturday.
move a product
- to sell a product
We should have no trouble to move the new product.
- a customer who does much business with you and who you give special discounts to
The man is a preferred customer and we always give him a good price.
sell like hotcakes
- to sell very quickly
The children's toys were selling like hotcakes at the end of the year.
- a situation where there are more buyers of a product/service than sellers so the sellers have an advantage
It was a seller's market for houses and the houses were increasing in value.
Besides these idiomatic expressions, if you are a regular reader of or a listener to the financial/stock market news and broadcasts, you may need to check out the following glossary of investment terms given at these two websites:
http://www.nasdaq.com/investing/glossary/ => More than 8,000 terms relating to the stock/financial markets are defined