firm

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Firm

Refers to an order to buy or sell that can be executed without confirmation for some fixed period. Also, a synonym for company.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.

Firm

1. A company or any other for-profit business.

2. Describing an order to buy or sell a security that may be executed without confirming the order with the person or company making it. Most firm orders have a time limit.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

firm

see BUSINESS.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson

firm

or

company

or

supplier

or

enterprise

A transformation unit concerned with converting FACTOR INPUTS into higher-valued intermediate and final GOODS or SERVICES. The firm or BUSINESS is the basic producing/supplying unit and is a vital building block in constructing a theory of the market to explain how firms interact and how their pricing and output decisions influence market supply and price (see THEORY OF THE FIRM, THEORY OF MARKETS). The legal form of a firm consists of:
  1. a sole proprietorship: a firm owned and controlled (managed) by a single person, i.e. the type of firm that most closely approximates to that of the ‘firm’ in economic theory.
  2. a partnership: a firm owned and controlled by two or more persons who are parties to a partnership agreement.
  3. a JOINT-STOCK COMPANY: a firm that is owned by a group of ordinary shareholders and the capital of which is divided up into a number of SHARES. See COOPERATIVE.

The economic form of a firm consists of:

  1. a horizontal firm: a firm that is engaged in a single productive activity, e.g. motor-car assembly.
  2. a vertical firm: a firm that undertakes two or more vertically linked productive activities, e.g. the production of car components (clutches, steel body shells) and car assembly.
  3. a diversified or conglomerate firm: a firm that is engaged in a number of unrelated productive activities, e.g. car assembly and the production of bread.

For purposes of COMPANY LAW and the application of many company taxes and allowances (e.g. CORPORATION TAX and CAPITAL ALLOWANCES), a distinction is made between ‘small and medium-sized’ companies and ‘large’ companies. Small and medium-sized companies are defined as follows (Companies Act, 1995):

  1. annual turnover of less than £11.2 million;
  2. gross assets of under £5.6 million;
  3. not more than 250 employees.

In 2004 there were some 3,800,000 firms in the UK, of which 70% were run by the self-employed. Most businesses were small, with around 3,766,000 firms employing fewer than 50 people, 27,200 firms employing between 50 and 249 people, while only 6,900 firms employed more than 250 people. In terms of their contribution to GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP), however, firms employing more than 50 people contributed in excess of 75% of total output.

The total stock of firms fluctuates from year to year, depending on the net balance of new start-up businesses and those businesses ceasing trading (see INSOLVENCY). Generally, the total stock of firms increases when the economy is expanding (or as a result of some ‘special’ factor, e.g. the surge in newly established INTERNET businesses) and falls in a recession.

A final point to note is that with the increasing globalization of the world economy, MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES are becoming more prevalent in economies such as the UK's (see FOREIGN INVESTMENT for further details). See HORIZONTAL INTEGRATION, VERTICAL INTEGRATION, DIVERSIFICATION, BUSINESS CYCLE.

Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
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Buyers concerned with the affordability of the payment often will require that the annual payment be capped at a percentage of the firm's annual revenue for each year of payment, usually 5 percent of gross revenue.
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This category also includes claims (42) on, or guaranteed by, a qualifying securities firm (43) incorporated in the United States or other member of the OECD-based group of countries provided that: the qualifying securities firm has a long-term issuer credit rating, or a rating on at least one issue of long-term debt, in one of the three highest investment grade rating categories from a nationally recognized statistical rating organization; or the claim is guaranteed by the firm's parent company and the parent company has such a rating.
Every member of the firm, from the partner in-charge down to the staff accountant, runs the risk of committing accounting malpractice.
More recently, the firm has signed up even bigger-name ex-politicos--Ireland peace broker and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, and former senator and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen.
"We're taking a holistic approach," says Kathryn Jandeska, the firm's director of communication.
The types of clients served by firms consistently proved to be far more powerful predictors of the firm's overall performance than other organizational characteristics or the firm's service specialization.