8 Business Documents that Everyone Should Know About

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Once you enter the professional world, you might be surprised by all of the paperwork you encounter. Receipts, licenses, minutes—these all may sound technical, but these are standard business documents in any field with transactions. As employees (and even customers!), it is essential to know what these are precisely so that we can perform our jobs more efficiently. Here are eight business documents everyone should know about.

Business Plan

A business plan is a written document that details the objectives, plans, and goals. It covers everything that a potential investor or partner needs to know about the business. It should include a clear explanation of what your business is and how it plans to earn money. It can be as simple as a one-page explanation or an in-depth roadmap.

A business plan is an important document, especially for people who are starting their own businesses.

Business License or Business Permit

Once you have a legitimate business running, one of the first documents you must acquire is a business license, also known as a business permit. This is a location-specific document that states that your business is recognized in the place you are situated in and that you are allowed to conduct business in this location. It is also proof that your business follows laws and regulations set by the locality.

Another related business permit is a seller’s permit, similar to a business license, except it applies to resellers and suppliers.


A contract is a legally binding (i.e., enforceable by law) document between at least two parties that defines each party’s mutual responsibilities or obligations to the other. Contracts can be oral or written. But as much as possible, written contracts are encouraged.

We deal with contracts in various situations. The most common are employee contracts which are signed in an agreement between an employer and an employee. There are many other types of contracts, each differing in purpose; use each one depending on the situation, the agreement, and the people involved.

Job Order

A job order (or a work order, but this is mainly used for maintenance services) is a document that describes a task requested by a customer. It gives a company, service, or person permission to perform the job at hand. It is then scheduled or assigned to a person in charge to accomplish.

Job orders are essential to keep track of the work that a company must accomplish. It also holds a record of deliverables, and it is often used as a reference for following documents that signify that the task is done.


An invoice, also called a bill or a tab is a written document issued by a person or service who finished a task for a customer. It relates to a sale or transaction and lists the products, quantities, and agreed prices for the things or services provided. Invoices include the total amount owed to the person who accomplished the given task and terms of payments (e.g., payment channels accepted, payment due date, and accepted currencies). 

Invoices are particularly important for freelancers and independent business owners because they can keep track of their deliverables and payments.


A receipt is a document that acknowledges that a person has received money or property as payment for a sale, service, or transfer of goods. Receipts all include the date of payment. It also typically lists or describes the products bought or the services given.

Even in everyday situations, we encounter receipts (e.g., when buying from a store). They show that there was an exchange; it also signifies that the buyer accepts the goods or services that were paid for. Some receipts allow you to return or exchange products as long as you have the document.

Financial Statement

A financial statement is a formal document that reports the details of a company’s business and financial information, including assets, liabilities, cash flow, incomes, expenses, and other related information.

There are many types of financial statements, but the three main types (and what you are most likely to encounter) are balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Balance sheets provide information about a company’s assets, liabilities, and equities; income statements report a company’s revenue in a given period; cash flow statements record the inflow and outflow of cash in a company.

Financial statements are essential because these account for every cent of the money that a company spends and receives.

Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes (or minutes of the meeting, or MOM for short) are instantly written records of meetings or hearings. These are detailed recounts of everything that happens in a meeting, including attendance, key issues discussed, motions proposed, things that are voted on, and activities to be done. 

Minutes are very important in large meetings such as those that involve the Board of Trustees in a company. But it is also commonly done for regular team or company meetings. Minutes are usually assigned to be done by a designated member of the group or a secretary.

The professional world involves a lot of things that need to be learned outside of the classroom. And as ESL learners, it can be more difficult because you need to know new terms about these. LingualBox, a one-on-one English tutoring platform, can help you master the English language while learning vocabulary about specific fields such as business. Book a class with one of our professional English tutors today.

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Jica Simpas is a writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She has over two years of writing experience in producing travel and food-related content. She is currently exploring new writing ventures to expand her practice.