(redirected from companies)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


An organization of individuals conducting a commercial or industrial enterprise. A corporation, partnership, association, or joint stock company.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. any formal business entity for profit which may be a corporation, a partnership, association or individual proprietorship. Often people think the term "company" means the business is incorporated, but that is not true. In fact, a corporation usually must use some term in its name such as "corporation," "incorporated," "corp." or "inc." to show it is a corporation. (See: business)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


an association of persons formed for the purpose of some business or undertaking, which has a legal personality separate from that of its members. A company may be formed by charter, by special Act of Parliament or by registration under the Companies Acts. The liability of members is usually (but not always) limited by the charter, Act of Parliament or memorandum of association. A company may be a public limited company (PLC or plc), in which event its shares may be transferred freely among, and owned by, members of the public. All limited liability companies that are not public limited companies are private companies, denoted by the term Ltd. While companies are owned by their members (i.e. shareholders), they are managed by a board of directors. Historically, the duties owed by the board are fiduciary in nature and owed to the company rather than the shareholders. Companies are the major instrument for economic and financial growth and development in the Western world. A limited company encourages trade to the extent that in the event of insolvency the owners are liable only to the extent of their unpaid share capital. The limited company is a legal person in its own right and is sued in place of the owners or directors.

A company may be limited by shares or, in the case of a private company, by guarantee. Since the Companies Act 1980, it is no longer possible to create a company limited by guarantee and having a share capital in the UK. A company limited by guarantee is a company that has the liability of its members limited by the memorandum of association to such an amount as the members may undertake to contribute to the assets of the company upon its being wound up. A company limited by shares is a company having the liability of its members limited by the memorandum of association to the amount, if any, unpaid on the shares respectively held by them.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

COMPANY. An association of a number of individuals for the purpose of carrying on some legitimate business.
     2. This term is not synonymous with partnership, though every such unincorporated compass is a partnership.
     3. Usage has reserved this term to associations whose members are in greater number, their capital more considerable, and their enterprises greater, either on account of their risk or importance.
     4. When these companies are authorized by the government, they are known by the name of corporations. (q.v.)
     5. Sometimes the word is used to represent those members of a partnership whose names do not appear in the name of the firm; as, A.B & Company. Vide, 12 Toull. n, 97; Mortimer on Commerce, 128. Vide Club; Corporation; Firm; Parties to actions; Partnership.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
* To head off trouble, companies should consider limiting how much 401(k) money employees can invest in company stock.
New York's comptroller entered those companies' statements in a book open to public inspection.
While the concept of maximizing value is similar for public and private companies, determining the value is different.
"As long as the company keeps its shareholders (Ameron International, Mitsui and Tokyo Steel, the three companies that jointly own Tamco) happy, we do okay."
A 2004 survey in Corporate Insight, Spring 2004, "The Costs of Complying with Governance Rules," estimated that small companies with annual revenues between $25 million to $99 million suffered Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs of $740,000 and 3,080 company hours expended on compliance efforts; companies with annual revenues between $500 million to $999 million (a minimum 10-fold increase) incurred compliance costs of only $1 million and 6,900 company hours.
The Japanese commercial code treats large companies (which are always KK's) more strictly than small ones and requires a higher level of governance.
* Because account reconciliations are so important under Sarbanes-Oxley, companies should adopt a continuous improvement process with the goal of reconciling all accounts before the post-closing adjustment review process.
"For some very small mutual companies, a full-time staff isn't required.
CAOs of public companies have a special responsibility that requires additional knowledge and experience beyond what is required to become a CPA in most states.
In 2005 a record 92% of the country's Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies, according to a new study.
Enforcement of these laws, as well as the urban unrest of the 1960s and '70s, led to a grudging lowering of the barriers to corporate America, as major companies were pushed to balance the scales after decades of institutional racism and Jim Crow.
To take advantage of this flexibility, some companies prefer to outsource one area--often a compliance function, such as sales and use tax or property tax.

Full browser ?