Glossary of Business Terms – “D”



Data – The measurements and observations collected during a statistical investigation.

Database – A structured collection of related information held in any form, especially on a computer. The creation of a database assists organizations in keeping records and facilitates the retrieval of specific facts or different categories of information as and when required.

Debt – That which is owed. Debt refers to borrowed funds and is generally secured by collateral or a co-signer.

Debt Capital – The part of the investment capital that must be borrowed. Default: The failure to pay a debt or meet an obligation.

Debt/Equity Ratio – The ratio of what a company owes to the value of all of its outstanding shares.

Debt Instrument – An asset requiring fixed dollar payments, such as a government or corporate bond.

Debit Card – A card that resembles a credit card but which debits a transaction account (checking account) with the transfers occurring with the customer’s purchases. A debit card can be machine readable.

Deed of Trust – A security instrument whereby real property is given as security for a debt. However, in a deed of trust there are three parties to the instrument: the borrower, the trustee, and the lender, (or beneficiary). In such a transaction, the borrower transfers the legal title for the property to the trustee who holds the property in trust as security for the payment of the debt to the lender or beneficiary.

Deficit – The excess of liabilities over assets; a negative net worth.

Deficit Financing – The borrowing of money because expenditures will exceed receipts.

Deficit Spending – Government spending financed by borrowing rather than taxation.

Deflation – A reduction in the general level of prices sustained over several months, usually accompanied by declining employment and output.

Depreciation – A decrease in value through age, wear or deterioration. Depreciation is a normal expense of doing business that must be taken into account. There are laws and regulations governing the manner and time periods that may be used for depreciation.

Desktop Publishing: Commonly used term for computer-generated printed materials such as newsletters and brochures.

Devaluation – a reduction in the official fixed rate at which one currency exchanges for another under a fixed-rate regime, usually to correct a balance of payments deficit.

Related Article: Starting a Desktop Publishing Business

Development Capital – Finance for the expansion of an established company.

Differentiated Marketing – Selecting and developing a number of offer­ings to meet the needs of a number of specific market segments.

Direct Cost –  (Marketing)  Variable cost directly attributable to production. Items that are classed as direct cost include materials used, labor deployed, and marketing budget, and amounts spent will vary with output.

Direct Mail – Marketing goods or services directly to the consumer through the mall. Direct mail is one tool that can be used as part of a marketing strategy. The use of direct mail is often administered by third-party companies that own databases containing not only names and addresses, but also social, economic, and lifestyle information. It is sometimes seen as an invasion of personal privacy, and there is some public resentment of this form of advertising. This is particularly true of e-mailed direct mail, known derogatively as SPAM.

Direct Selling – The process whereby the producer sells to the user, ultimate consumer or retailer without intervening middlemen such as wholesalers, retailers, or brokers. Direct selling offers many advantages to the customer, including lower prices and shopping from home. Potential disadvantages include the lack of after-sales service, an inability to inspect products prior to purchase, lack of specialist advice, and difficulties in returning or exchanging goods.

Dirty Price – The price of a debt instrument that includes the amount of accrued interest that has not yet been paid.

Discount –  A deduction from the stated or list price of a product or service in relation to the standard price. A discount is a selling technique to encourage customers to buy and is offered for a variety of reasons: for buying in quantity or for repeat buying; as a special offer to move a slow-moving line or for paying by cash, etc.

Distribution Channel – All of the individuals and organizations involved in the process of moving products from producer to consumer. The route a product follows as it moves from the original grower, producer or importer to the ultimate consumer.

Distributor – Middleman, wholesaler, agent or company distributing goods to dealers or companies.

Domain Name: The officially registered Web site address of a Web site.

Dot-com or – An e-commerce enterprise that markets its products through the Internet, rather than through traditional channels.

Downsize – Term currently used to indicate employee reassignment, layoffs and restructuring in order to make a business more competitive, efficient, and/or cost-effective.

Downtime – A period of time during which a machine is not available for use because of maintenance or a breakdown.