Business Dictionary – U


    Buildings and construction industry term referring to insulation effectiveness of materials.

Ultra Vires

    Latin for ‘Beyond The Powers’. Legal term which refers to actions or deeds, especially performed by a corporation, that exceed official powers.

Umbrella Organization

    A large organization that includes a number of member organizations and works to protect their shared interests.


    A complete agreement on a decision or opinion by everyone in a group.


    Without official endorsement or permission.


    Dividing a company into separate companies, usually after a takeover, in order to sell some or all of the subsidiaries. Supplying a product, service or equipment in separate components.

Unconditional Bid

    In a takeover battle, a situation in which a bidder will pay the offered price irrespective of how many shares are acquired, typically after the acquisition of a majority of the shares.


    Describes subsidiary companies whose financial statements, shares, etc., are not included in the parent company’s finances.


    Without opposition or competition. A lawsuit which is not disputed by the person against whom it has been filed.

Uncontested Bid

    The offering of a contract by a government or other organization to one bidder only, without competition.


    A part of the United Nations system dealing with the integrated treatment of development and interrelated issues in trade, finance, technology, and investment.


    To sell a product, service, etc., cheaper than the competition.


    Describes a company, business, etc., which does not have enough workers to function properly. Understaffed.


    To fall short of reaching a goal or target.


    When a product, service, etc., is not being bought by enough people.


    1. A commercial business or company.

    2. A promise, especially a legally binding one.


    A person who assesses the risk and eligibility of an insurance company’s potential client. On the Stock Market, an organisation, such as a bank, that agrees to purchase any unsold shares which are offered for sale by a company.

Undischarged Bankrupt

    A person who has officially been declared bankrupt but has not yet been given permission to start another business, and must not stop paying debts which are still owed.

Unearned Income

    Personal income which has not come from employment but from investments, dividends, interest, etc.


    An economic situation in which jobless people, often those who have been made redundant from their jobs, are actively seeking employment.

Unfair Dismissal

    Term used when a person’s employment is terminated by their employer without a good reason.

Unfavourable Trade Balance

    Describes when a country’s value of its imports exceeds the value of its exports.


    The process of breaking up traditional supply chains or groups of cooperating organizations after taking control of the element of mutual interest that holds them together.

Uniform Costing

    The use by several businesses of the same costing methods, principles, and techniques.

Unhappy Camper

    Someone who has complaints about their employers. An unsatisfied customer.


    Performed by one person, group, side, party, etc – basically ‘going alone’. For example a unilateral decision is one made without dependence or condition upon others who might have interests in the matter in question.

Unilateral Contract

    A one-sided agreement in which one party promises to do something (or refrain from doing something) in return for an action, not a promise, from a second party.


    Used to describe a business that is operating as a partnership or sole trader and has not been made into a company.

Unique Visitor

    Describes a person who visits a website, as one unit, even if they have made several visits to the same site in a particular period of time, usually 24 hours.

Unit Cost

    The cost of one item, calculated on the basis of production and overhead costs for a number of such items produced together.

Unit Price

    The price of one item, calculated on the basis of the cost of production and overhead costs for a number of such items produced together.

Unit Trust

    A fund which raises money from a number of investors, usually investing only a small amount each, which is then invested on their behalf by a fund manager in a range of shares, securities, bonds, etc.

Unlimited Liability

    The obligation of a company’s owners or partners to pay all the company’s debts, even if personal assets have to be used.


    Refers to company whose shares are not traded on the Stock Exchange.

Unofficial Strike

    Also known as a Wildcat Strike. A form of industrial action which does not have the approval or permission of a trade union.


    The process of thinking the unlikely and doing the unreasonable that can be a means by which an organization or individual achieves success.


    Not governed or controlled by laws or rules.


    Not requested or invited, for example junk mail.

Unsystematic Risk

    Also called Residual Risk. The risk that can affect a company’s share prices, production, etc., such as a sudden strike by employees.


    On a computer, to return files to their original size after they have been compressed.


    Universal Product Code. A bar code, using thick and thin vertical lines, which is printed on labels, packets, etc., to identify a specific product, and is used for stock control.


    To transfer data or programs from a smaller computer, camera, etc., or a computer at a remote location, to a larger computer system.


    A sales technique in which the salesperson tries to persuade the customer to purchase more expensive and/or more goods than they originally intended.


    Expansion and restructuring of business activities, including an increase in the number of staff employed.


    At a point earlier in the production process.

Upstream Progress

    Advancement against opposition or in difficult conditions. A company or project can make upstream progress if it moves toward achieving its objectives despite impediments.


    1. A public service company, for example, one that supplies water, gas, or electricity or that runs public transportation.

    2. The usefulness or satisfaction that a consumer gets from a product.


    The period of time which a computer, piece of machinery, etc., is operational and available for use.

Upwardly Mobile

    Describes someone who is moving towards a higher social and/or economic position.

Urban Regeneration

    Also called Urban Renewal, the redevelopment of run-down parts of a towns or cities, to include business and housing projects, typically funding by governments or agencies.


    Uniform/Universal Resource Locator – The address of a web page on the Internet.


    In international trade, the period of time allowed, which varies between countries, for the payment of a bill of exchange.


    Universal Serial Bus – A device on a computer which is used for connecting other devices, such as telephones, scanners, printers, etc. Bus is derived from busbar, a metal conductor strip within a switchboard.

User Friendly

    Easy to learn or use by people who are not experts.


    In computing, refers to the name that uniquely identifies the person using a computer system or program and is usually used with a password.


    An imaginery society or world or situation which is ideal and everyone has everything they want, from the highly revered English statesman, scholar, lawyer and writer, Sir Thomas More’s 1516 century book Utopia, whose full Latin title loosely translates to mean ‘On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia’. The opposite term Dystopia, was devised two centuries later.