Business & IT Glossary - C

Cache An area of memory reserved by a computer to store frequently used software commands or data so that these can be accessed faster than from a disk drive or other storage medium. The benefit is that it effectively increases the computer's speed by saving time.
CAD/CAM Computer Aided Design is the process of creating industrial product designs using computer software, while Computer Aided Manufacturing uses computers to programme these designs into the equipment that will actually manufacture the products.
CAP The Committee of Advertising Practice creates, revises and enforces the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion - these are administered by the ASA. Visit the CAP web site at for further details.
CAP code The British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion - created by the CAP - apply to non-broadcast advertising in the UK.
Certificate As the development of electronic commerce continues and more sophisticated transactions become possible over the internet, suppliers and customers need to be able to prove their identity in a manner that is recognised in law. An certificate is a file that can be generated to authenticate the identity of an individual, like an electronic identity card.
Certification authority A body appointed to certify digital signatures and provide proof that a digital signature is valid.
CD The Compact Disk is one of the main methods of distributing software programs and multimedia information, although its importance could be threatened by the development of the internet and digital technology as a storage and distribution medium.
CD-R The Recordable CD (CD-R) format enables users to "write" data on to a CD for permanent storage. Once the data has been written on the disk, it cannot be erased or amended.
CD-RW The Rewriteable CD (CD-RW) format enables users to "write" data to a CD and, if required, delete it, so that the CD can be used again. Some manufacturers claim CD-RW disks can be used up to 1,000 times.
CGI A Common Gateway Interface (CGI) script can add interactivity to a web site. CGI scripts are often used to process forms and send the contents as an email, to enable users to search web sites for a specific word or item and for other useful applications. CGI scripts tend to be written in computer languages such as Perl or C.
Character set The characters needed for a computer to display a specific language. For example, a user requiring to read and write English and a language based on a different form of script would require their computer to handle the character sets used by both languages.
Circular An unaddressed promotional leaflet or letter sent sent to a large number of people simultaneously.
Circulation The number of copies of a publication sold or distributed each issue. Circulation and readership of many publications is monitored by ABC.
Classified advertising Advertisements which usually appear on the back pages of a publication and are arranged by category or class. Often the size, colours and designs of classified adverts can be limited by the publisher.
CMYK CMYK refers to the four-colour printing process used to produce magazines and other printed material. Adverts or digital photographs for publications must usually be saved in this format. CMYK stands for the four colours: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black).
Coaching A process providing an individual with feedback, insight and guidance on achieving their full potential in their business or personal life.
Cold calling The process of approaching a potential customer without any previous introduction or contact with a view to selling to them. Cold calling is usually conducted by telephone or in person.
Colour separation charge Some publications make a charge to print a photograph accompanying a press release that has been sent to them and refer to this as a colour separation charge. Colour separation refers to the four-colour printing process in which separate printing plates are required for each colour.
Companies House Companies House registers and provides information on all UK companies. Visit the Companies House web site at for further details.
Compatibility This is a major issue in computing and telecommunications. An individual using one brand of computer will not necessarily be able to share data with another individual using a different brand of computer, because that computer may not be able to recognise or access data in that specific format. Such incompatibility can be eradicated by manufacturers and software producers adopting common standards, enabling users with any brand of computer or software to access and use the same data. Yet the complexity of computing plus commercial pressures often act as a barrier to the wide adoption of standards.
Competition Where two businesses offer similar products or services, they are in competition with each other. There are regulations governing competition to ensure that businesses do not employ unfair tactics or exploit monopolies at the expense of competitors and consumers. These include the Competition Act 1998 which established the Competition Commission - visit its web site at for further details.
Consumer In the most widely used sense, a private individual who purchases a product or service - although businesses are sometimes consumers too.
Contract A written or spoken agreement, which in business often specifies the terms and conditions regarding the provision and receipt of products or services. Contracts can cover purchases, employment, maintenance and many other specific activities.
Cookie A text file generated when accessing specific internet pages to store the user's internet viewing preferences. The cookie is stored on the user's computer and enables a web site to recognise the user every time they visit a the site so that it does not repeatedly ask the user for password, preferred options or other details. Some opinion suggests cookies can be a security risk by enabling third parties to access a computer's contents via the internet. Cookies can be "turned off", although some sites require cookies to be on for all their interactive features to work.
Copyright Copyright is used to demonstrate that an individual or organisation owns the right to use specific text, images or other artworks and has the sole authority to grant anyone else the use of these. Unauthorised copying of copyright material can be illegal.
Copywriter A copywriter specialises in writing professional text for adverts and corporate communications.
Corporate identity A corporate identity ensures that an organisation is instantly recognised from its vehicles, offices, letters and literature, staff uniforms or advertising. The creation of a corporate identity involves selecting uniform colours, logo, typefaces and straplines and applying these in a consistent manner in every medium.
Corporation tax Corporation tax is levied by the UK Government on the annual profits of a business.
CPU The Central Processing Unit refers to the main piece of equipment at the heart of a computer system that executes software programs and co-ordinates other peripheral devices connected to it.
Credit Money advanced to an individual or business in the form of an overdraft, loan, mortgage or hire purchase agreement. Some businesses provide credit to customers by supplying goods or services on account and requiring payment for them by a specified date in the future.
Credit check It is possible to check the creditworthiness of a customer to ensure that they have the means to pay for goods or services that a business has been requested to supply. There are specialist agencies which carry out credit checks for a fee.
CRM Customer Relationship Management refers to the process - usually depending on sophisticated computer systems - to record and analyse the buying habits of customers, so that a company can offer them goods or services in which they are likely to be interested.
Cross selling Identifying customers who have purchased a specific product in order to sell them similar or related products.
CRT The Cathode Ray Tube is the apparatus that has been the main component of television and computer screens for decades. It works by firing electrons at the rear of the screen. This visual workhorse is now being displaced by newer technologies, such as plasma and LCD.
Customer profile A record of a customer's details - eg age, gender, address - which when compared with those of other customers can enable a company to monitor the qualities of the people buying its products. It can help the company to develop other products for the same sector or to develop different strategies for selling the same products to other target markets.
Cybercrime Cybercrime is the use of computers and the internet by criminals to perpetrate fraud and other crimes against companies and consumers. To avoid harm from these activities, all users should check that web sites they use or people to whom they email sensitive information are genuine.