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We have all been in that situation when chatting to colleagues or some or other social environment where the financial/economic lingo gets the better of us. A good way of knowing if you understand something is if you can explain it. I thought it may be a fun idea to demystify some financial/economic lingo to increase your ‘water cooler cred’.

This is the first in a series to make sure that you are always up to date!

When talking investments:

Bullish- The price is going up - the market is showing confidence.

Bearish- The price is going down - the market is lacking confidence. World markets are currently bearish due to various factors including the poor growth outlook in China.

Blue chips- Companies that sell high-quality, widely accepted products and services and have a solid reputation with a proven track record. Blue chip companies generally provide reliable growth and operate profitably in adverse trading conditions.

Words I came across recently while reading financial news:

Referendum: A general vote in order to come to a decision on a specific proposal

Austerity: a set of policies with the aim of reducing government budget deficits which may include spending cuts, tax increases, or a mixture of both

Structural reform: changes to the way the government works

Buzz words

Do you know what the BBBEE status levels mean?



**Procurement spend recognition


100 points



95 but <100 points



90 but <95 points



80 but <90 points



75 but <80 points



70 but <75 points



55 but <70 points



40 but <55 points



<40 points


*This is based on the amended codes which became effective from 1 May 2015.

** This shows the amount of expenditure that can be recognised for making purchases from each level of supplier.


Example: Calculating BBBEE spend

If you spend R10 000 with a level 1 supplier, you can claim R13 500 expenditure as BBBEE spend whereas if you spend R10 000 with a level 5 supplier, you can only claim R8 000 expenditure as BBBEE spend.


Dashboard – relevant information about a business/company presented in a series of charts or graphically. It is a tool aimed at summarising the financial well-being of the business/company.

Catalyst- this refers to a change agent. You may often hear people say “this application may be the catalyst to the success of the business.”

Deep dive – perform extensive analysis on a problem or subject.

Low-hanging fruit – the most easily achievable target given a set.

Paradigm shift – This is actually a scientific term that has made its way into the business environment. The business interpretation means a significant change in thinking/business practice.

Synergy- The concept that the value created from combining ideas/companies is better than the sum of its individual parts. This is most commonly used in a merger and acquisition context. In an office environment, you may have heard the phrase “let’s create synergy amongst the divisions/departments…”


Clichéd phrases to avoid using

I read the following clichés in ‘Business insider’ and it made me laugh because it has almost become second nature for many of us to use these phrases without giving any thought to how over-used it is and sometimes, how ridiculous it sounds. Here goes…


“Break down the silos” – why not say “share information” or “work together”?

“It is what it is”- It’s one of those phrases used to bluntly let people know to get on with it.

“Take it off-line”- Need I say more.

“Think outside the box” – This is by far my favourite because just by saying it, you are being ordinary and the entire meaning is lost.


If you need a break and want to smile, check out this video that puts it all together:



Hope you enjoyed this!

Natasha Bhowani Seeth CA (SA)



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