Portal:Business

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Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services).[need quotation to verify] Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors."

Having a business name does not separate the business entity from the owner, which means that the owner of the business is responsible and liable for debts incurred by the business. If the business acquires debts, the creditors can go after the owner's personal possessions. A business structure does not allow for corporate tax rates. The proprietor is personally taxed on all income from the business.

The term is also often used colloquially (but not by lawyers or by public officials) to refer to a company. A company, on the other hand, is a separate legal entity and provides for limited liability, as well as corporate tax rates. A company structure is more complicated and expensive to set up, but offers more protection and benefits for the owner.

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Damage from Hurricane Katrina

Actuaries are business professionals who deal with the financial impact of risk and uncertainty. Actuaries are highly trained experts with a deep understanding of financial security systems, their reasons for being, their complexity, their mathematics, and the way they work. They evaluate the likelihood of future events and design creative ways to quantify the contingent outcomes in order to minimize losses associated with uncertain undesirable events. These risks can impact both sides of the balance sheet and require asset management, liability management, and valuation skills. It takes a combination of strong analytical skills, business knowledge and understanding of both human behavior and the vagaries of information systems to design and manage programs that control risk. Actuaries work in a number of insurance disciplines, which may be classified as life, health, pensions, annuities, and asset management, social welfare programs, property, casualty, liability, general insurance and reinsurance.

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Say no to bribes in Zambia.
Photo credit: Lars Plougmann

Bribery around the world is estimated at about $1 trillion (£494bn). The burden of corruption falls disproportionately on the bottom billion people living in extreme poverty who cannot afford to pay and who thus receive sub-standard treatment from officials.

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"The money influence—the pressing to make a profit on an "investment"—and its consequent neglect of skimping of work and hence of service showed itself to me in many ways. It seemed to be at the bottom of most troubles. It was the cause of low wages—for without well-directed work high wages cannot be paid. And if the whole attention is not given to the work it cannot be well directed. Most men want to be free to work; under the system in use they could not be free to work. During my first experience I was not free—I could not give full play to my ideas. Everything had to be planned to make money; the last consideration was the work. And the most curious part of it all was the insistence that it was the money and not the work that counted. It did not seem to strike any one as illogical that money should be put ahead of work—even though everyone had to admit that the profit had to come from the work. The desire seemed to be to find a short cut to money and to pass over the obvious short cut—which is through the work."

Henry Ford, My Life and Work Chapter II, 1922

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