(1) A multicolumn sheet of paper used for performing numeric work, especially accounting and business related weekly or monthly summaries. (2) A computer application program that supports a user in numeric manipulation, especially in column / row format. The first spreadsheet, Visicalc, revolutionized and legitimized the use of microcomputers for "real work" in the late 1970s.


A characteristic of some systems (in the broadest sense) in which the productivity of the whole system is more than the sum of the parts. For example: the value of a pair of gloves may be $50, but the value of a single glove may only be $5.


A collection of components working together to achieve a common goal.

Sales order

A document produced by a supplier based on a purchase order (by telephone or mail) from a purchaser (often called the customer) describing goods or services required. It usually acts as the initiating document in the process of shipping or supplying the product or service to the purchaser and invoicing (see sales invoice) them.

Sales invoice

A document which records the sale of goods or services from a vendor to a customer. Information contained on a sales invoice usually includes: Vendor name, address, phone, customer name, address and phone, date; Multiple lines for: line number, item ID no., product description, quantity, price, extension; subtotal, GST, and grand total

Shipping Docket

A form used to record details of goods being shipped to a customer. A copy of the form is usually included with the goods when sent to the customer (called the packing slip), another copy is kept on file and a third copy sent to the billing department as notification that the goods have been sent, and the customer can now be billed for them. The form usually includes customer name, address, phone, date sent, mode of shipment, suppliers name, address and phone and multiple lines with: stock ID, description, and quantity.


A summary of a customer or vendor’s account activity during the previous period (usually monthly). For example a customer’s monthly statement (sent by the vendor to the customer) would show: purchases, payments and current balance owing.

Subsidiary ledger

A systematic collection of subsidiary accounts which, when summed, yield the total of a general account in the general ledger. A subsidiary ledger provides needed operating details for certain general accounts. For example: the creditors subsidiary ledger would contain a separate account for each organisation or individual whom the organisation buys goods or services from on credit.


As applied to economics, the production for sale of a given product or service in the economy. When the supply exceeds the demand, prices of the given product will tend to fall because of the oversupply, encouraging further purchases of the product and discouraging further production until a point of equilibrium (balance) is established. See also demand.


Goods that an organisation has in its possession. Stock may fall into a variety of categories: retail, wholesale or finished stock (all of which are "finished goods"); work in progress (goods that are partly complete in the manufacturing process) and raw materials. Also called inventory.

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