Business Administration Vocabulary: 20 Essential Words for English Learners

Do your responsibilities include organizing, managing or operating a business or company?

Or are you hoping to work in the business world? 

Then you’re going to need some essential vocabulary to do your job!

In this post, you’ll learn 20 key vocabulary terms related to business administration.

Even if you’re not a business administrator, these words will still help you understand and talk about business in general.


Business Administration Vocabulary

1. Facilitate

To facilitate means to make things easier and help them run more smoothly. A facilitator is the person whose job is to facilitate.

The course facilitator is there to provide guidance and encouragement for the group to find out the answers for themselves.

2. Coordinate

The verb to coordinate means to arrange for two or more parties (people or groups) to work together. The person who coordinates tasks or activities is known as a coordinator .

We need someone to coordinate the conference call with our business partners in Europe and Asia.

3. Prioritize

To prioritize means to deal with things in their order of importance or urgency. Things that are more important are given a higher priority  so they get done before the less important things.

I have eight emails waiting in my inbox. Let me prioritize which ones I should answer first.

4. Schedule

The verb to schedule means to plan for an event (such as meetings, conference calls and deliveries) to take place at a certain time and place.

Peter’s stuck in a traffic jam. We may run into scheduling problems if we can’t confirm what time he’ll be at the office for the meeting.

5. Process

The verb to process means to put something through a series of actions to achieve a certain result. The noun processing describes the series of actions and steps needed to produce a certain result.

You may submit your business loan application today. Processing usually takes up to two to three weeks.

6. Motivate

The verb to motivate means to provide a good reason for doing something, or to encourage someone to work harder.

George doesn’t seem to be putting in much effort lately. It’s time his sales manager steps in and motivates him to meet his quota.

7. Collaborate

The verb to collaborate means to work together with another person or group to achieve a common goal.

Higher management wants us to collaborate with our partners in Britain to develop a better product.

8. Supervise

The verb to supervise means to direct and be in charge of someone or something. The adjective supervisory  is used to describe the quality of someone who’s in charge.

The contractor will be in later to supervise the office remodeling.

9. Document

You might already know that the noun document refers to a paper or computer file. The noun documentation  refers to the creation of records or files.

I think you should read the document carefully before signing it.

10. Budget

The verb to budget means to make a plan for the amount of money to spend on something. The word budget can also be used as a noun to mean the amount of money that’s made available for spending.

If you’re organizing a year-end office party, you’ll have to work out a budget for it.

11. Negotiate

The verb to negotiate means to formally discuss something and come to an agreement. The noun negotiation refers to the formal discussion to arrive at a decision that all parties agree to.

After a week of negotiation, we still can’t agree on the terms of the contract.

12. Implement

The verb to implement means to effectively start using or enforcing an action or plan. You might implement a set of measures or rules, for instance.

We’re now ready to implement security measures that we hope will make this office building a safer place for our employees.

13. Communicate

You’ve probably heard of the verb to communicate, which means to pass on information to someone. The noun communication refers to the act of expressing or exchanging information.

Due to the lack of communication, we don’t have all the facts we need.

14. Recruit

The verb to recruit means to find suitable people to work for your company.

After securing this deal, we had to recruit more managers to head the projects.

15. Authorize

The verb to authorize means to give approval or permission to someone to do something. Authorization , or the act of giving approval, is commonly given in the form of a signature.

I’ll have to get my supervisor to authorize this check before I send it to you.

16. Merchandise

The noun merchandise simply refers to the products or goods that are bought and sold by your company.

There has been a recent increase in our imports of foreign merchandise.

17. Inventory

The noun inventory refers to the items or products you have in stock.

At the end of the year we check our stock and update our inventory lists.

18. Turnover

The noun turnover may refer to the amount of money your company receives in sales, or the rate at which your company’s merchandise is sold and replaced by new stock. It could also mean the rate at which staff leave your company and are then replaced by new people.

Our total sales turnover this year is higher than the past two years combined. You can all expect a bonus at the end of the year.

19. Distribution

The noun distribution refers to the delivery of products or merchandise to your store or business.

The new manager takes care of the distribution of our sports and fitness products to other countries.

20. Profitability

The noun profitability refers to the profit or amount of money gained from your sales or business.

Management would like you to conduct a study of the profitability of expanding our market overseas.

English for Business Administration Resources 

If you’re considering a career in business administration, you can start by checking out these resources:

  • “Speak Business English Like an American” by Amy Gillett is an excellent book for anyone seeking to improve their English language skills specifically in an American work setting. It can help you navigate the nuances of language to foster better comprehension and effective communication.
  • Business English Pod offers an extensive collection of more than 600 audio lessons covering a wide range of topics related to the business world. Each lesson focuses on a specific aspect of workplace communication and comes with interactive quizzes and downloadable PDF transcripts.
  • “English for Career Development” is a course taught by the University of Pennsylvania and offered on the website Coursera. It will equip you with the necessary skills to navigate the job market with confidence, such as creating an impressive resume and succeeding in job interviews.

Check out our post on business English resources for more.

If you want an immersive experience, you can use a language learning program like FluentU. On this platform, you can find plenty of authentic English videos that include business vocabulary and workplace scenarios that can teach you much more than just the correct words and phrases to use.

With interactive subtitles, you can get familiar with any new word that comes up and see how it’s used in different contexts. Then, you can add the words to a flashcard deck and take quizzes to test your knowledge


Review these business administration words a few times and then start putting them to use in your daily work.

With some consistent practice and effort, you’ll soon be ready to add even more new words to your business vocabulary!

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